Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

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Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 10:02 am

Hi all,

After focusing on my overall fitness with some running, swimming, and some shorter hikes (around 8-12km) through the Dandenongs, Bushrangers Bay/Cape Schanck, Werribee Gorge etc... I think I'm ready to do an overnight hike. A mate at work is off hiking in Malaysia and looking to join as well for some more practice. We are both reasonably fit 30 something year olds* and thought Cathedral Range might be a good one. From what I've seen online, it seems a fairly short 2 day / 1 night walk being only 18km, but it seems like there's more elevation which would make it a bit harder. Do you think this is an appropriate first over nighter? to How technical is it? and would it be a decent walk for two fairly noobish hikers? Would a phone with offline maps, along with GPS watch with the trail pre loaded be enough? Is that a stupid question, and always bring a hard copy map and compass? Is there a better direction/trail to take? Am I posting too many questions or asking what's been asked a million times before?** Are trail runners better than boots?*** Thanks heaps in advance, this forum has been awesome to read through.

Cheers,
Dex.

* I'm approaching late 30's if I'm honest.
** I did do a quick search
*** Just kidding :)
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Re: Cathedral Range ridge circuit

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 10:54 am

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. By asking questions it should be possible to find and enjoy a suitable walk.

There's two main points about the Cathedral Range that need to be considered. Walking at the Cathedral end needs a good ability on slightly exposed easy rock scrambling, possibly with a short pack haul. Or you could go around the back, the west side. There is no water at Jawbones, so if camping there - the only decent spot on the walk - then water must be carried in. Another point is that the Jawbones end is very steep at the bottom.

The walk is a best done in a day. Start at Sugarloaf Saddle, Sugarloaf, Jawbones, and walk back south on the road. Or start below Jawbones, up to Jawbones, Sugarloaf, Sugarloaf Saddle, and north down the road. Both routes end with the road, so if you are late then the last leg is easier than descending Sugarloaf or Jawbones in twilight or darkness.

If you advise where you live and how far you would like to drive then it should be possible to suggest a walk. I like paper maps, and have a GPS as a backup. Most experienced walkers have two sets of information.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 11:09 am

Thanks heaps for the reply/advise Lophophaps,

I am located in the SE burbs of Melbourne - Cheltenham, and my mate (his wife likely to join too) is out near Williamstown. Looking to fit the walk into a weekend, so happy to drive wherever so long as that is possible in the time frame. I'd rather not drive out somewhere like Bright/Falls Creek/Hotham/Omeo on a Friday night after work. I've done that before and it wrecked me a bit, and felt it was bordering on dangerous for staying awake. But really want to do a first over night walk with some decent elevation and views. I think my mate was keen on Cathedral, but I'm happy to suggest other options to him if you think it would be better to go elsewhere.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby warnabrother » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 11:53 am

Cathedrals are pretty easy to navigate around with just a map as you have the actual Range as a landmark..
the walk is fine for newbies.. I've seen kids of all ages up there..

have fun
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Re: Cathedral Range ridge circuit

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 1:47 pm

True, most people can manage the circuit, but with overnight packs I'm being cautious. Falls Creek is too far for a starting walk. One option that's closer is the Baw Baw Plateau. It's about two hours of driving, not to the village but to the south-east end (Mount Erica) or the north-east side (St Gwinear). Both are out and back walks, go for a few hours, some climbing, good camping, plenty of water, easy navigation. If the weather becomes bad then it's just a matter of following the track, easy unless it gets really bad. Reach camp about noon then go for a day trip.

There's a recent thread on this at
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=27028
where Rattler had a similar question. It's worth reading the thread in full to see the decision process.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 2:45 pm

Fantastic. You peeps are awesome. I'll have a good look over that one. Good to have options, and if he's determined to stay with Cathedral, it would be awesome for the next adventure!
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Rileyr » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 3:12 pm

Cathedral range is a great spot! It can certainly be done in a day but is great for an overnighter. There is fairly reliable water a short walk from the farmyard (i think is the name). I have also spent a night on the highest peak (is it razorback ridge?). There is only room for 2 bivvys up there though.

It is a short 2 day hike and ive been back at the car by 9am, then enjoyed an awesome burger and coffee from Buxton.

There is some exposed parts with some rock scrambling, but its certainly manageable and makes for a great walk.

I navigated it with the printoff maps from online

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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 3:30 pm

Thanks Rileyr. I think we'll likely stay at the farmyard if we do this walk. Staying on the peak sounds amazing, but I think they are sharing a 2 man tent.

The one thing I worry about is that we'll be at the camp spot super early with half the day to kill. Are there any little side excursions near the Farmyard that we can check out?
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Re: Cathedral Range ridge circuit

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 3:46 pm

Once at The Farmyard there is virtually nothing to do. The top of North and South Jawbones are about 30 minutes return each. You could do a circuit of North Jawbones. Go down the track to where water might be and go north (left) descending traverse on what was a rough track. There may be the remains of markers put in about 30 years ago, tin disks painted orange. I'd be interested to learn if there's a track and if the markers are still there. At the bottom of the cliff traverse northish (right) and go up where you can. At the top bear southish (left) into a saddle behind North Jawbones, and hence to the gully that drains The Farmyard. Camping behind North Jawbones has better views, or you can camp high on the west ridge of The Farmyard. South Jawbones is a tad scrubby.

There's a post 25 January 2018 on a thread Water at the Farmyard, Cathedral Ranges NP
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=27121

"We were up there a few months ago and there was no water.. lots of water down the bottom of the ranges and it's not a huge walk so we just carried all we needed for the weekend."

It is now the end of a mainly dry summer, and there may be no water. A post says that the walk finished at 9am on the Sunday. This is too short for a weekend walk for me. Also, the area is risky. There's been a number of bushwalkers fall on exposed parts, with one rescue taking most of a day to carry him out. He fell about 10 metres. This is why I'm being very conservative with relatively new walkers and rock.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Rileyr » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 3:58 pm

There are easier and safer walks for sure. Though my thought is that you dont need any special skills to walk on rock. Basic fitness, balance and agility will get you through. Its making poor decisions that cause risk. More experience MAY make you more cautious to risk.

Oh and I have seen a couple of brown snakes there as well - I would be more worried about them than falling off a rock.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Sun 25 Feb, 2018 12:00 pm

Hi Dexter, I'd be very interested to hear how you went after you've done the Cathedral Ranges walk if you have a chance to come back and give us an update.

It's on the wrong side of Melbourne but the Beeripmo track near Beaufort is an easy overnighter. You can drive up in the morning and start at lunch with no worries about getting to camp for dinner. It's a circuit and there's a long drop at the camp.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Sun 25 Feb, 2018 10:16 pm

Thanks all. I think both of us being quite level headed, and more cautious in general will be fine with a bit of rock. I’ll keep an eye out for snakes as always.

Lophophaps, I’ll have a closer look at a map and follow some of your directions. If I can find any of the old track markers I’ll let you know.

I’ll report back CraigVIC, possibly with some photos - We are not heading there till around mid March. I’ll put Beeripmo on the to do list. Cheers! Always looking for places to walk which are closer to Melb.



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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Mon 05 Mar, 2018 9:44 am

Hey all,

Another installment of noobish questions from me...

Just wondering where one may look to purchase/acquire a map of the area? I would like to have a hard copy, so I guess either a print out, or perhaps a recommended book? map of Victoria?

There's a bit of a topo map here
https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/asset ... -guide.pdf

Would a printout and laminate do the job you think?

Cheers!
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 05 Mar, 2018 11:35 am

When the earth was young I laminated maps. This is good in theory but did not work. Laminated maps are are quite hard to fold, and the folds leak water. Also, laminated maps are bulky. I have unlaminated shop maps that are decades old, kept in two plastic bags on trips. The outer one takes the punishment and the inner one is waterproof. Spare maps are in the pack, well away from rain but handy if I need them.

I fold the maps to suit the trip, not the original folds. Having different folds for each trip means that the map wears evenly. The cost of laminating is most probably more than the cost of a map life unlaminated.

The PV map is fair. The route is straightforward in most places. However, when walking Sugarloaf Saddle-Sugarloaf-Farmyard you need to look for false leads and the best way to go.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Mon 05 Mar, 2018 11:49 am

Lophophaps wrote:When the earth was young I laminated maps. This is good in theory but did not work. Laminated maps are are quite hard to fold, and the folds leak water. Also, laminated maps are bulky. I have unlaminated shop maps that are decades old, kept in two plastic bags on trips. The outer one takes the punishment and the inner one is waterproof. Spare maps are in the pack, well away from rain but handy if I need them.

I fold the maps to suit the trip, not the original folds. Having different folds for each trip means that the map wears evenly. The cost of laminating is most probably more than the cost of a map life unlaminated.

The PV map is fair. The route is straightforward in most places. However, when walking Sugarloaf Saddle-Sugarloaf-Farmyard you need to look for false leads and the best way to go.


Is there a certain series of maps, or place I should look to get a good map of the area? Or something that would be useful for other areas, that may include this area too? Or do you think it's not really necessary for this walk?
I have a large format professional quality printer here at work, and huge laminator as well. I just did a print/laminate of the parks vic map, and it looks good... but I see your point regarding folding it, and I did wonder if it would be awkward. I guess this being my first overnight adventure, is a practice run for more ambitious walks, and something I can hopefully use to gain some map to ground skills with. So even if I'm being a little excessive, I thought it perhaps worth the trouble. If that makes sense...

Thanks Lophophaps!
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Avatar » Mon 05 Mar, 2018 12:12 pm

Deleted - you found the map above. This should be OK.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Earwig » Wed 07 Mar, 2018 3:54 pm

Hey Dexter, when are you planning on walking the Cathedrals?
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Wed 07 Mar, 2018 6:56 pm

Earwig, depending on the weather... the weekend of the 17 / 18th. If it’s over 30 I’d rather not be walking in it (I’m a bit soft) and my mate is likely to be spear fishing instead.


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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Earwig » Fri 09 Mar, 2018 7:58 am

I'm planning on being in the Grampians that weekend but if that falls through I will probably be hiking in the Cathedrals, Mountaineer Inlet or The Bluff instead. Maybe see ya on the track.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Fri 09 Mar, 2018 9:54 am

No worries. I'll be the guy looking lost with a ridiculously bright orange pack.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Earwig » Tue 13 Mar, 2018 10:24 am

Cathedral Range is currently closed because of a fire. Maybe another time. Keep on eye on ParkWeb to see when it opens again.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Tue 13 Mar, 2018 11:50 am

Earwig wrote:Cathedral Range is currently closed because of a fire. Maybe another time. Keep on eye on ParkWeb to see when it opens again.


Yeah, we'd decided it was going to be too hot... Off spear fishing instead. Will have to re-schedule.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 14 Mar, 2018 7:39 pm

Does anyone know anything about the extent of this fire? I see it is listed as under control now.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Dexter » Wed 14 Mar, 2018 8:38 pm

Yeah seems that way. And the weather is looking like it might be better than expected this weekend. I’ll check again tomorrow. Maybe I’ll go if it opens back up.


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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Earwig » Thu 15 Mar, 2018 12:41 pm

The fire is under control. It burnt about 17ha around the Nature Trail near Cooks Mill. There are still crews working to make sure it is not an issue with the warmer weather forecast for this weekend. The entire park will be closed until Monday at least. When the park does reopen the Nature Trail will remain closed but all other walking tracks should be okay. Keep checking the ParksVic's website for what's happening.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Thu 15 Mar, 2018 8:44 pm

Thanks for the info, earwig.
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Re: Cathedral Range ridgeline circuit

Postby Earwig » Tue 20 Mar, 2018 1:03 pm

Open again today (20 March 2018)
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