Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

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Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby Mountcyclo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:57 pm

Earlier this month spent five days riding and bushwalking in the Mt Pilot Wilderness, Kosciusko National Park. After loading up the bike set of from Dead Horse Gap along the Cascades Track to my first campsite, only a few km's on at the Thredbo River. Did'nt get far as had left rather late in the afternoon. Good camp sites near the iron footbridge with abundant clean water. Day after set of over Bob's Ridge and down the steep descent with groaning brakes, lunch at Cascades Hut and pushed onto the Tin Mines where I camped in what is now called "The Barn". Spent the next day exploring the Tin Mines area for old mine sites, there are four horizontal shafts (one may be a water channel) near the toilets and after much trudging found a couple of very old exploratory digs on a ridge west of Tin Mine Creek.
Many wild horses around the Tin Mines. Next day packed a small day pack and rode the 6km's along Cowombat Track to the Snow Gum Track junction where I parked the bike and began the steep rocky ascent of Mt Pilot. Upon reaching the summit was nearly blown over by the strongest winds I've experienced for a long time which made photography rather difficult.
After a taking a few photos and signing the book left this windswept place, the trudge down was a lot quicker than the climb up ! Rode back to the huts and spent my final night there.
Day after was the return run back to Cascades Hut, slow going with my hybrid bike which really does not have the low gears for this mountain country.
Stayed overnight at Cascades Hut, a rather grotty place again many horses in and around the area.
Morning of the last day set of and soon began the long steep slug up Bob's Ridge arriving back at Dead Horse Gap around mid afternoon. Was surprised at the number of walkers and mountain bike rides coming in over Bob's Ridge, must be a popular run.
Despite the slowness of my bike the trip was well worth the effort, the views from Mt Pilot are wilderness at its best. I found good water at places along the way and only carried a litre on the bike.
There would be other good trips, the run to Cowombat Flat and a climb up Cobberas 2 or a run along Ingeegoodberie Track come to mind.

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by BNA » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:27 pm

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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby Tim » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:27 pm

G'day Mountcyclo.
Sounds and looks like a great tour.
We are really lucky having the Alps and other such impressive country for touring in this part of the world. I for one love the mountains but also just as much love the coast, and nearly everything in between.
Myself and a few others toured up near the Cobberas and Cowombat Flat this summer. We approached from the other direction, up from East Gippsland and rode the Black Mountain/Limestone Road. On a rest day some of our more intrepid tourers climbed Mt Cobberas, I went back to bed. :D
The most challenging and memorable trip in my (short) touring career.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby Mountcyclo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:09 pm

Thanks for your comments Tim, it has been 28 years since I have ridden or walked in that area and thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the heat and the flies.
Those years past have been to Cowombat Flat and climbed both Cobb 1 and 2 which I'm very anxious to get to again. The experience of the grand views and rugged terrain is unforgetable.
Think I will come in from the Victorian end like start from Suggan Buggan and roll around the Black Mountain/Limestone Road like your trip took you.
Dead Horse Gap although easier for me to get to can get very crowded even in the off peak season as I saw, what it would be like during the school holidays I can only dare to guess.

Till then however have to start seriously thinking about a more suitable dirt road touring machine.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby alfine8 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:02 pm

Nice pictures of the country Mountcyclo. I haven't toured in Australia for over 20 years, but I once came over Dead Horse Gap on a ride up from Melbourne.
I can still remember having to push the bike up from the Vic side to the pass, as the gravel was a very fine sandstone I think and I couldn't get any traction.

Can any one tell me the best months for riding the mountain area's. I live on the coast so am not experienced in winter survival. I would love to get back up there.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby Mountcyclo » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:45 am

From what I have seen of the Snowy's best time for cycling or bushwalking is late October through to early March. Being such high elevation the weather can vary from stinking hot during the day with rather cool nights.

A jumper and rainjacket as it is not unknown for snowfalls even in the middle of summer.

Broad brimmed hat and uv block out a must, even though I wore a hat all the time was well tanned on my face because of the reflected sun from the grainy tracks.

Flies particulary March flies can be a bother and although I can't remember any mosquitos there could be places where they would be about.

A can of insect repellant would help.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby alfine8 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:44 pm

Thanks for getting back Mountcyclo.
Looking at some rainfall graphs, that area gets mostly summer rain, but not great amounts, and still a bit through winter.
Looking at your photo's for March, air is clean, grass is green, and I assume there is water running in the creeks.
Would October and Nov have the same qualities.
And how about the overall visual scenery with wild flowers and snow gums in their prime.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby alfine8 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:53 pm

I just had a laugh looking at the photo's again.
Saw the Bunyips on the front.
Last year I retired one pair of rear Bunyips after about 25 years, tours for 17 years plus daily commuting to the present.
Nearing the end of their life with the canvas tearing and the stitching giving up, I was still struck by their endurance, and the fact the Chinese could not make something that would hold up that long.

I have a spare set about 22 years old that have taken over the daily commute job.
I've been using Ortleibs for the last 8 years on my O/S tours.
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Re: Ride Dead Horse Gap, The Tin Mines, Mt Pilot

Postby Mountcyclo » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:45 pm

No worries alfine', yes the Bunyips are close to 30 years old as are the rear bags and still in excellent condition. I don't know whether Bunyip are still about, can't find anything about them anywhere.
The rear bags are Wilderness Equipment from W.A whom are still in production although don't think they make cycle bags anymore. They make nice tents and other stuff though, have seen someone else running about town with a pair of WE's as well.

I am pleased that I looked after that gear over the years as they have lasted well, no Chinese gear would have a hope of lasting so long.

Plenty of water in the Thredbo River where I camped for the first night near the iron bridge (such new innovations!), a few streams on the descent of Bob's Ridge, water ok at the Cascades Hut and a couple of streams on the Cascade Track to Tin Mines.
Water at the Tin Mines and even a stream or two on the short run to Snowgum/Cobberas Track junctn.

Some wildflowers about although the flower season has past.

Would say Oct/Nov should be ok for riding and walking, if nothing else the wildflowers should be in their spring bloom.

In years past made my trips in December although it can get rather hot.
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