My caching buddy and elder statesman of the caching world (and fellow COMCAR driver) Warren was keen for the attempt and we both were free of driving commitments on the Friday. And of course Friday dawns, and it is the first rainy day in eons (the cache listing warns of how treacherous these could be if wet). A bit of dampness wasn't going to put us off so we left Canberra at 9:00 am. It wasn't consistent rain but the wipers did get a good workout as we drove. One brave Emu blocking the road near the Cotter but we soon got by that.
The first 3.65 km of the walk is on a established fire trail, first half being reasonably flat with a slight incline before the serious climb starts. Jackets were on and off as the rain came and went. Visibility was pretty poor but luckily that meant we couldn't actually see the Mountain we were about to climb. We got to the end of the fire trail, found a trailer left by the workers who are establishing the new footpad/track to our destination.
That must be hard work building a trail in such a remote area. I would hazard a guess that they are only 20% complete. They have focused on the start with a bit of chain saw use and they will probably rearrange some of the rocks to form stairs in some of the tricky spots. After the really steep ascent, the trail is only marked by ribbons hanging from trees and in the fog/low cloud bad visibility, we had troubles spotting the next ribbon in places. Very slow going.
Once we got to the plateau at the top, visibility was down to about 10-20 metres. At least I was wearing fluorescent green, when Warren wasn't wearing his South Sydney jacket, he just merged into the shrubbery. Finally got to the top of Mt Domain, pictures taking at the cairn and then off to find the cache which involved slithering over cliffs. Log books signed and then off to the next , only some 450 metres away !
Ribbons were hard to spot here but we knew where we had to be heading and just tried to follow the easiest way. The weather by now had cleared but the ground was still slippery. We clambered down to make the next find and on the way back, Warren gave a tree branch a severe beating with his forehead so the branch will not forget that in a hurry. For good measure, Warren left alot of his blood there as well. It was round about this time that we realised we were running out of time as the Tidbinbilla gates close at 6:00 pm and we had a long way to go , even though downhill but our legs were tired and the ground was slippery. I had a good fall and hurt my wrist and that was on a flattish part. In the better light, the ribbons were much easier to spot so we did make good time. However the steep descent was treacherous. Many a severe cussing was to be heard but it was great to get back to the fire trail.
As we walked down the trail, we looked to our left and saw this mountain dominating our skyline . We thought that couldn't possible be the one we had scaled but checking maps later, it certainly was. Wow, well done youse blokes. Got to the car and drove out the gates with 20 minutes to spare. A few close calls with skippys kept me on my toes on the drive home. Thanks Warren for the company, wouldn't have done it without you. Thanks Dave for hiding the caches and thanks knees for not giving out on me yesterday.