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Ascent of Brumlow Top on 2019-09-03

Climber: James Stone

Date:Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Brumlow Top
    Location:Australia-New South Wales
    Elevation:5197 ft / 1584 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove up the gravel road just beyond Moonan Flats, past Polblue campsite (where you can also park) and to the entrance to the Barrington South track where we parked. This road, Barrington Tops Forest Road, is graded, continues on to Gloucester on the east side of the range and is perfectly driveable for a 2WD car even if some of the gradients are steep. It is approximately 25km from Moonan Flats to this point. The Barrington South track can also be reached from the Gloucester direction but I understand that 30 to 40km of gravel/unsealed roads are involved from that direction.

The Barrington South track is a 4WD track which is normally open to vehicles between 1st October and 31st May. Indeed it is possible to drive to within a few hundred metres of the summit of Brumlow Top (though there is nowhere to park nearby without obstructing the track). The track is open all year round to walkers and mountain bikers, though snow or very wet weather can prevent you from reaching the start point in the first place (at least by car).

We followed the track for around 8 kilometres from our parking spot disturbing a few brumbies and ignoring various side tracks until we were near the top. We then experienced Aussie "mountaineering" at its finest as we battled for over 20 minutes through undergrowth, vines and fallen trees. The height gain is only about 40m. We found a much better route on the descent.

Finding the summit could be tricky. As it happens we stumbled upon the cairn, and fading metal notice announcing the top attached to a nearby tree. There are two candidates for the summit but it is all fairly level up there and it is not possible to see clearly more than a couple of tens of metres. One candidate is the cairn. The other is where the top is marked on the Peakbagger app. They are within 40 metres of each other - so it probably does not much matter either way, though my GPS had the latter 2 metres higher than the cairn.

We returned to the Barrington trail and followed our outward route but taking in a diversion to the summit of Mount Polblue and its trig.

It is also worth noting that the summit area is right at the edge of a quarantine area for Phytophthora. Phytophthora is a water mould that thrives in moist soils. It attacks the roots of plants, causing them to rot after which the plants die due to their inability to absorb enough water and nutrients. The quarantine area, clearly, is designed to stop the spread of the mould. If you follow tracks to the east there are gates with "No entry" signs. In the dense bush it is not feasible to put up fences to bar entry to the top of Brumlow Top or the quarantine area. So it is best not to stray too far eastwards from the summit. If you do, not only might you spread the mould but you might also fall into one of the swamps that dot the plateau!

My GPS measured both the Brumlow Top cairn and the Polblue Trig 11m higher than the values given here. At least it was consistent.

This is my blog suggesting that Brumlow Top, and not Mount Kaputar, may be the highest volcano in Australia. Previously this site placed Mount Kaputar as one of the unranked Volcanic Seven Summits - see
here. The webmaster has taken heed of my research but it does need to be validated by a volcanologist/geologist (i.e. someone who actually knows about this!) And since writing this note, further surveys have been undertaken which puts Round Mountain as the same height as Brumlow Top. In my blog I dismiss Round Mountain's claim to be a volcano. But who am I to say! Take your pick or do both.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Brumlow Top - the summit is well hidden - a V7S? (2019-09-03). Photo by James Stone.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:932 ft / 284 m
    Total Elevation Loss:328 ft / 99 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:932 ft / 284 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 604 ft / 185 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Loss on way in:328 ft / 99 m
    Start Trailhead:4593 ft / 1399 m
Descent Statistics



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