As part of my on-going project of keeping track of logbooks which are on or were on peaks in the Flinders Ranges and beyond, I was advised that the logbook on Cleft Peak in the Gammon Ranges was full. So, I decided to organise a trip to put a new logbook and a replacement ABW-designed metal container on Cleft Peak.
Prior to my trip on June 12 – 17, Nino Fioretti led a walk in the area which climbed Cleft Peak on 26 May. Nino duly reported to me some details of his trip, confirmed the state of the old logbook and sent me some photos.
My group of ten assembled at Balconoona shearers’ quarters for the night of 12 June. The next day we drove 3km (past Grindell Hut), walked the next 3km and camped by Italowie Creek. To stretch our legs, that afternoon we climbed the nearby Red Hill.
The next day was Cleft Peak Day. This involved walking 5km up Italowie Creek and its south branch then a long steep climb up slopes and ridges to the summit. Of the ten in the party, five stayed at a point at 610m elevation while the other five completed the ascent, lodged the new logbook and container, and brought down the old one.
It being close to mid-winter and with sore knees and advancing years (mainly the former), five of us did not climb to the summit. As it was, we did not get back to camp until close to sunset on an afternoon of low cloud and light rain. However the mission was successful and that is what mattered.
Rain was coming so after a camp back at Italowie Creek, we spent the next night near Grindell Hut. On Tuesday 16 June we headed for Balcanoona in very heavy rain.
The trip plan was to visit Chambers Gorge, spend the night there and do some walking. However the road south of Balcanoona became impassable, so we went on to Hawker via Copley for a night in the caravan park, thus shortening the trip by a day. Wednesday 17 June was an uneventful drive home.
Between Copley and Hawker, two creeks were in flood across the road and we were delayed for a couple of hours until the creeks dropped to a level safe for our five 4WDs.
Those in the party were John Bartlett, Roger Kempson, Peter Woodlands, David Evans, Helen Davies, Ian and Sheila Dickinson, Mal Kirkham and Arthur and Ann Ward.
The original logbook on Cleft Peak was placed there in March 1990 by a member of the Scientific Expedition Group. It remains to be seen whether we will retain it in our library, but an archive copy is now available for anyone to view at www.adelaidebushwalkers.org/logbooks.