Update on previous post re-Mt Ernest

In case anyone is thinking about doing this walk, I have spent the last 3 days trying to get permission to access the private property, the number mentioned by the last person to tick this hike is not answering, the Rathdowney police station is not answering neither is the fire brigade. I have made numerous calls to different NP offices and also Barney Lodge, all without much success. Today I finally got an answer from a ranger and I will paste it here, unfortunately, the track shown on my GPS isn’t accessible from here.

Thank you for your enquiry regarding access to Mount Ernest.
Mount Ernest can only be accessed legally through national park land by parking at the gravel pit along Mount Lindsay Highway and walking in through the gate. The private landholders around this area do not allow the public to access their land.

Mount Ernest does not have any tracks or trails through the area, you will need a map, GPS and compass if you are going to walk in the area. It also got severally impacted by the wildfires at the end of 2019 and there are multiple land slips in the area.

Yours sincerely,

gps

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Great update @jgmansell It may be worth checking if any of the bushwalking clubs are planning on a hike there. They often have good relationships with the landowners if anybody does.

Thanks Richard. I asked the ranger a few more questions regarding walking from Yellow Pinch and she sent me more info, unfortunately it was a bit late coming and I had made alternative plans, but will do it next month now. I will paste her latest email for reference.

Dear John,

If you want to get to the summit or traverse the mountain, the other way is to go off track from the Burbank campsite (there are two campsites along Cronan Creek – Burbank and Forestry), cross the creek, go along the old snig track and then onto the spur that leads to the summit. You can then go back down the same way or you can continue in a southerly direction along the ridge and then follow the ridge down to the Cronan Creek waterfall and join up with the Cronan Creek track which will take you back onto the same fire break as the one you came along to get to Burbank campsite. This also does not take you onto private land.

Yours sincerely,

Diana

Hey mate, just thought I would comment being that I was the last person to comment on the Mt Ernest walk and also posted the phone number. I spent ages trying to get a phone number to call, all the National Parks had never even heard of Mt Ernest, but I eventually got onto that number. It was a lady who answered the phone and she said that her son owns the land you have to cross to get to the mountain and she said it would be fine. That was early 2019 so not sure why the number is dead now.

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Thanks heaps for your reply, it is great to get first hand info. I tried the number you gave dozens of times over the course of a few days and only got a recorded message, I believe the office may be shut down due to the virus. I also made numerous calls to NP offices but no one had a clue, I eventually found a helpful ranger who sent me the message posted above. I will try the Rathdowney number again over the next few days as this seems to be the best route but plan on making a quick visit next week to check out the alternative route without leaving NP land. I have read an article written by someone who did this route and there are no tracks, the scrub in the lower regions is very thick and overall a very tiring track but it is one of the few hard climbs that I haven’t done and would like to tick it off while I am still able, and at 71, that may not be long :smiley: If all goes well on the recce, I plan to do the walk some time next month.
I will post an update as soon as I have more news.
Just out of interest, how would you rate the difficulty compared to Mt Barney?
cheers
john

Ahh yeah you could be right about the Virus. And from memory I found the getting to the ridgeline part the most tiring. I followed a GPS track I found on Wikiloc and it was a steep walk/loose scramble up a boulder field to get to the ridge line but after that it wasn’t too bad. It was definitely steep in parts with some mildly dodgy scrambling at times. In comparison to Barney I would say it is a lot less physically exhausting, but a somewhat more frustrating. The track is pretty non existent most of the time but unlike Barney you are following a clear ridge line so it was fairly straight forward navigation wise. If I had to liken it to another mountain I would say Spicers Peak is pretty similar. And have you done Mt Lindesay by any chance??

A couple of blogs that I have read say pretty much the same thing, that the initial hike pushing through scrub and loose ground to the ridgeline is the worst, the only marked track I have passes through the private property so I will be winging it for the first section to avoid this, but really looking forward to it now. I haven’t done Mt Lindsay yet, it is about the only other tough mountain hike that I haven’t done, and have put it off mainly because according to info I have read, you can’t get to the actual summit without a rope, so will probably need to do it with my son, who is a bit of a mountain climber. I have done Spicers Peak and really enjoyed it and the loose scramble sounds much like Wilsons Peak, one pace up and slide half a pace back again.
cheers
john

I finally managed to contact the Rathdowney number last week and the lady gave me another number of someone whose family owns the private property. I tried this number a few times without success so called Rathdowney info centre again and this time spoke with the lady I had been trying to contact as she also works at the centre. She said Mt Ernest could be reached from the Mt Lindsay end by crossing the property but wasn’t familiar with any tracks from that end and couldn’t give permission to access the land at the Yellow Pinch end. I have now given up trying, and last week took a drive to try and find a route via the Burbank campground and think I found a fairly straightforward route. I crossed the creek then headed south east towards the end of the snig track and continued until I came to the NP/Private property boundary fence, from there followed the fence south until I reached the ridge that leads to the summit. That is as far as I went but it looks pretty straightforward from there, also the fires seemed to have cleared out a lot of undergrowth as the lower section is fairly easy going. I am now confident and looking forward to doing the walk sometime towards the end of the month.

HI John - I did this walk on the 4th of July from within the park and I can confirm that it’s currently very clear. I cut straight up from Cronans Creek campsite to the ridgeline but that was a mistake. There’s lots of loose earth and rock once the slope steepens, it’s nearly impossible not to dislodge large chunks and once they start rolling they don’t stop untill they get to the creek bed. So I’d stick to the route you scouted along the property boundary.

I didn’t see anyone beyond the campsite (and it was a peak season Saturday with great weather). There’s a small peak not far into the climb that’s not apparent from the topo maps and the perspective from there makes the trail forward look intimidating, but the southern side of the ridge can be ascended by scrambling (not walking). The north side is flat rock and a long fall. The crest of that section gets exposed towards the end - once it turned to bare rock I descended through the bush to get around it. After that the way is broad and forested.

Took me ten hours yellow pinch to yellow pinch in exploring mode. It was good fun.

Thanks Richard and welcome to the forum. It is always good to get first hand info before a new walk.
The route you took sounds like the one I originally planned but after a visit last week, thought it would be better to scout for alternatives and I think we found one, I will update my comments after the walk is completed. I was surprised to hear that the walk took 10 hours, that’s longer than Barney, I will need to make sure that I get the young guys up for an early start to make sure we have plenty of time in case the route isn’t as straight forward as it seems. :grinning: