Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

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Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby JudeLNS » Wed 28 Jun, 2017 6:57 pm

I'm looking for some winter walks to do on the Bogong High Plains, but as I understand it, many of the roads are closed around now.

Can you suggest any walks within the Falls Creek area that are accessible via road? I'm particularly interested to know if the Pretty Valley Rd is open... Also, how far can you get up the Bogong High Plains Rd before it is blocked?
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 28 Jun, 2017 7:53 pm

In winter the High Plains Road is blocked at Falls Creek and Trapyard Hill (I think). The Pretty Valley Road stats within the resort and is used by skiers. If walking then you need to stay off the ski tracks, to the side. Walks are best done with snow shoes. Pretty Valley, Rocky Knobs, and Heathy Spur are perhaps the best places to start. Until you know the region and your limits I'd stick reasonably close to the resort; weather and snow on the ground can be nasty and confusing at times.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Thu 29 Jun, 2017 6:52 am

Factor in resort car parking fees for your trip. The road to Pretty Valley is closed to cars as well. If you are up to so hill climbing before you start there are a number of options starting lower down. You can drive to the locked gate on the Kiewa then walk up to Westons Hut and then you have the entire High Plains. From Bogong Village you can access Mt. Arthur which gives you the northern side. Camp creek gap gives you access to Eskdale spur and Mt. Bogong but that is not the High Plains. You can walk from Trapyard Gap gate on the Bogong High Plains road (via Omeo Hwy) and access the Cope area but it is a boring start with about 10km of road. Sometimes though, after a good low dump, it is even hard to get to the gate. Harder still to get the car moving again on the ice when you get back. Diverting off to McNamarras (Buckety Plains) hut helps but you would want to make sure Mittagundi are not running a camp there when you go. Just for general information, Mittagundi will be at Fitzgeralds Hut for a week from Monday I believe. Unless you like sharing with year 9 school kids I would avoid the area. Looks like the season starter snowfall is about to happen on Monday and some are predicting blizzard conditions. Not to get too excited as there is a bet each way at the moment. Not knowing how much experience you have makes it difficult to suggest walks. I would agree with Lops. If you end up parking at Falls Creek then a hut to hut walk is possible from Heathy Spur to Big River Fire trail, Edmonsons or Johnstons, Ropers, Fitzgerald or Kellys and back to Heathy spur. I take it you will be walking so if you are using snowshoes try to keep off the groomed tracks if they are not iced up. Skiers may get a bit upset with you. Huts can get crowded and are not there for sleeping. A tent is warmer anyway.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 05 Jul, 2017 8:07 pm

Explora Sahib has given some good tips on how to snow shoe the BHP on the cheap.
I snow shoe around the Fall's Creek/ Bogong High Plains/Mt. Bogong/ Mt. Feathertop/ Razorback /Mt.Hotham area every white season.
The weather along the AAWT / Mt. Nelse pole line heading for Edmondsons hut can be treacherous and is not for beginners at all.Just finding the next pole can be ...."interesting" :-0 .
The same can be said for ascending or descending Heathy Spur in white season. There is no pole line and no visible track along Heathy spur in white season. It all looks the same.
You are going by a compass bearing.
You need to understand that overnight pack carry treks on snow shoes mean you can only walk about 10-12 kms per day max. , less if it is steep and up hill .You need to be set up
and established at camp by 4 pm. You need to be able to navigate confidently in a total white out with a map and compass. If you cannot do this then take it easy and stay safe and keep within a sensible distance of a ski resort. Going over the Falls Creek resort summit near the Ruined Castle in bad weather can be disorientating and a bit scary too.
If you come up from Howman's Gap along the seemingly endless "Road 24 " you will avoid paying big bucks $$ for ski resort parking at Windy Corner. Again the summit area where "road 24 " emerges is not a place to guess which way to go in bad weather. You need to get into the tree line ASAP heading for Pretty Valley hut and out of the wind.

Always take a 4 seasons tent and snow pegs. Do not assume that you will be able to find a hut or that there will be any room left in it.
Edmondson's hut is cold in white season,the fire place there is not heat efficient . Roper's Hut is possibly a bit far as a destination from Falls Creek in one day by snow shoes and with a heavy pack. You could make it one day of slogging it up and over from Fall's Creek with an early start . Roper's hut is out of the wind and has a good wood fired heater.It makes a good base camp for snow shoe day trips to Tim's Lookout and Spion Kopje . etc.
However avoid fatigue in the cold and ice above the treeline. Keep some energy in your reserve tank . Fatigue can lead to making errors and the onset of hypothermia( exposure). Johnston's hut only has enough room for two very frost bitten people to squeeze into the public area.
Pretty Valley hut is small but it does have a wood burner.
Try to work with fair weather predictions. A good weather window after a cold front passes is ideal. Bad weather up there is dangerous. It only takes half an hour too long of being out in that killer wind , driving snow/ rain/sleet and wind chill to tip you over into the start of hypothermia. The option to stop and have a snack,recharge and so forth is limited by lack of sheltered areas above the tree line when you are subjected to those kinds of conditions.
Last year we went on snow shoes from Windy corner to Edmondson's hut via Heathy spur without stopping. We were spent by the time we reached the trees at Ed. hut. There was nowhere to stop and recharge along the way that was sheltered from the wind . The BHP in white season can be extreme and should not be underestimated.
However the BHP on a good day in snow shoes in the back country are mag -effing -nifi -cent.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Avatar » Wed 05 Jul, 2017 11:52 pm

There may be a foot track from Howman's Gap just below the main road up to the entrance sign at Falls Creek. I have only done about 1km of this from Falls itself, and a lot of this was duckboarded. So this may be another access route on foot? You would need snowshoes or boot chains and there is a steep climb at Falls back up to the main road. Not sure of the distance - maybe 4km? You can see part of the track near Falls on Google Earth.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Thu 06 Jul, 2017 9:06 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote: The weather along the AAWT / Mt. Nelse pole line heading for Edmondsons hut can be treacherous and is not for beginners at all.Just finding the next pole can be ...."interesting" :-0 .

I find myself in total disagreement with you on this. Bad weather can be treacherous anywhere but the Big River Fire Trail is a groomed track, easy to follow and certainly suitable for beginners who are caught unawares by the weather. Jude is also not a beginner and it is wrong for us to assume so, presumably based on his lack of posts on this site. Sometimes we can all be a bit over zealous with our words of warning, good intentioned as it may be. Better we should ask or check a person's experience before offering too much. I had a quick look at his history and he seems to know what he is doing and has been in snow before. No doubt I am guilty of the same so this is not offered as 'I am better than you rebuke'. We can all do better.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote:The same can be said for ascending or descending Heathy Spur in white season. There is no pole line and no visible track along Heathy spur in white season. It all looks the same.
You are going by a compass bearing.

And what is wrong with that? Personally I like it when the snow is deep as you can track a direction easy and not constrained to the track itself. Generally the track will still be an obvious indentation in most parts.
No white season yet. Still very little snow on the High Plains with even less after the last system passed through. My view to 1700m indicates significant loss in the last 2 days and it is very patchy. Another system is due tomorrow but it will not add a great deal in my view.
Anyway, Jude has not got back after a week so unless he shows a bit more interest in the matter and provides a more detail as to what he is after, I would suggest not putting too much more effort into this thread. The suggestions offered should be sufficient.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby north-north-west » Thu 06 Jul, 2017 9:47 am

Has no-one mentioned the options of going up from Bogong Village to the Fainters, or the 107 track to Kellys Hut and beyond? It's not too far to the snowline via either route and neither gets much use, especially in the winter.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Thu 06 Jul, 2017 12:19 pm

north-north-west wrote:Has no-one mentioned the options of going up from Bogong Village to the Fainters, or the 107 track to Kellys Hut and beyond? It's not too far to the snowline via either route and neither gets much use, especially in the winter.

These not mentioned previously but once we know whether the OP wants to Park at Falls Creek or is happy to drive or walk further then we could be more specific to assist planning. Anything on the eastern side of Falls Creek may be too inconvenient. There would still be quite a few hours of walking before the snowline on 107. Getting to the start of 107 or any start on the eastern side could also be too big a big drive for some, depending on where they live. The OP was for the Falls Creek area so that needs to be clarified. Waiting on Jude.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 06 Jul, 2017 7:08 pm

I didn't mean to presume the OP was a mere beginner in the sphere of outdoor activities.My experiences will not be the same as another poster's experiences on this forum.
The lack of white season is a worry. Show me the snow!!.
Last year in July I had done at least two snow treks/snow camps by this date.
I/we walked up to the Fainters from Bogong Village in March and camped at Bogong Jack Saddle.We said to ourselves that the Fainters in white season would be super.. It is a stiff uphill hike but it is quite sheltered much of the way and the fire trails are easy to follow. Anyway , everyone's an expert now that the interwebby is here ;-P .
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Drew » Mon 06 Aug, 2018 11:20 am

You can drive to the locked gate on the Kiewa then walk up to Westons Hut and then you have the entire High Plains.


Just doing some sniffing around for overnight snow shoe trip ideas. Preferably ones that avoid resort fees. I'd never known that driving in on the West Kiewa Logging Road was possible. What's the road like? Okay for 2WD? Slow going?
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby scroggin » Tue 21 Aug, 2018 5:37 pm

What about walking Road 24 from Howmans Gap? Never done it myself but it is not steep and appears to be quick and access in to Pretty Valley
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby jdeks » Tue 21 Aug, 2018 8:28 pm

Drew wrote:
You can drive to the locked gate on the Kiewa then walk up to Westons Hut and then you have the entire High Plains.


Just doing some sniffing around for overnight snow shoe trip ideas. Preferably ones that avoid resort fees. I'd never known that driving in on the West Kiewa Logging Road was possible. What's the road like? Okay for 2WD? Slow going?


West Keiwa is fine for cars, extreme conditions excepted.

Other option is the Bungalow Spur Carpark at Harrietville if yoiu want to see Feathertop, but that mean Razorback and down Diamantina Spur if you want to go anywhere else. Keiwa is a good option. for the Plains and beyond to Falls/Bogong
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Drew » Wed 22 Aug, 2018 11:44 am

What about walking Road 24 from Howmans Gap? Never done it myself but it is not steep and appears to be quick and access in to Pretty Valley


Yeah could be an option. I think I read on the forum once that Road 24 is a pretty boring slog but everything is pretty once you're in the snow so it would be okay in winter.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Drew » Wed 22 Aug, 2018 11:47 am

West Keiwa is fine for cars, extreme conditions excepted.

Other option is the Bungalow Spur Carpark at Harrietville if yoiu want to see Feathertop, but that mean Razorback and down Diamantina Spur if you want to go anywhere else. Keiwa is a good option. for the Plains and beyond to Falls/Bogong


Thanks jdeks. I'm starting to run out of weekends for snow trips. Hopefully I'll get up there but likely to only be for an overnighter, so up and down Bungalow is looking a likely option. Not sure I'm keen on descending Diamantina in the snow.

Good to know about West Kiewa road for future reference.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 16 Nov, 2018 8:50 pm

Access to the West Kiewa Logging road up to the Diamantina Horse yards gate is closed in white season. It is locked a long way back from that point in white season.The track in green season has some river fords and is not suitable for low clearance 2 WD.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 03 Dec, 2018 11:50 pm

Walking on the BHP in winter is a waste of snow. What about XC skiing? That is the way to go!!
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Tue 04 Dec, 2018 6:54 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Walking on the BHP in winter is a waste of snow. What about XC skiing? That is the way to go!!


Does that mean you will be leaving the snowshoes behind from now on when you venture out in winter?
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 04 Dec, 2018 9:11 am

90 % of the time last season the snow shoes were at home in cellar. I cannot carry an overnight pack on XC skis ,so that is when I strap the skis to the pack and walk in to the snow camp site. After that I XC ski.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Wed 05 Dec, 2018 5:30 am

Have you bought some skins for the skis yet?
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 05 Dec, 2018 1:26 pm

I have not yet purchased skins for my skis. I skied In many locations and in many various conditions and didn't need them. PB XC classic skis work fine. A bit of short hopping and herringboning up steep hills works fine too.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Thu 06 Dec, 2018 5:36 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I have not yet purchased skins for my skis. I skied In many locations and in many various conditions and didn't need them. PB XC classic skis work fine. A bit of short hopping and herringboning up steep hills works fine too.

You may change your mind as you venture further and experience different conditions to what you have done so far. Your Epochs with the pattern base would be enough for the sort of things you have done to date but you have indicated a trip to Cleve Cole up Mulhauser then the Long Spur for next winter (ski forum). I remember just this last winter where you would have been going backwards with a pattern base (I did) and no chance of herringboning. Skins can be painful at times and better to leave them off when conditions suit but when conditions do not suit they will turn a potential 8 hour trip into a 4.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:90 % of the time last season the snow shoes were at home in cellar. I cannot carry an overnight pack on XC skis ,so that is when I strap the skis to the pack and walk in to the snow camp site. After that I XC ski.

This is a bit limiting especially if you want to do Bogong or the Long Spur. It does take some considerable skill to master and I fall over more. Certainly would not say I am a good skier and much worse with a pack on but you have to start somewhere and you do get better at it each time. I am guessing though it would be a bit harder for you given the weight you carry on your back. That puts a fair bit more on your skis ability let alone your own. You could go a wider ski like the Annums to help but you would be best to change your boot and binding set up. This could be the next step for you once you feel confident enough to carry a pack and you can still use the Epochs and NNN BC bindings for the likes of Buffalo, Stirling and BHP.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 06 Dec, 2018 6:55 pm

Time will tell whether I actually make it up to Mt. Bogong to ski camp Creek via Long Spur and Mulhauser spur. I will get some kicker skins and experiment with them. I will talk to Doug at EMC.I am looking at experimenting towing a sled.
Hiking in wearing snow shoes with skis attached to the pack seems to work. I usually put the snow shoes on over my NNN BC boots but they are not a great fit. Skins could be better!.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 6:07 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Time will tell whether I actually make it up to Mt. Bogong to ski camp Creek via Long Spur and Mulhauser spur.

Sorry, I thought you were committed to the idea for next year.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote: I will get some kicker skins and experiment with them. I will talk to Doug at EMC.

Good idea

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I am looking at experimenting towing a sled.

Bad idea for any Bogong approach but works well enough on BHP apparently. A couple made one up and took it to CC last winter. It kept tipping over and made the trip much longer. I think it would just encourage you to take more stuff which could then end up on your back if it doesn't work. You also need to be able to ski pretty well to manage a sled (pulk) and backpack while skiing downhill. They don't work like training wheels.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote: Hiking in wearing snow shoes with skis attached to the pack seems to work. I usually put the snow shoes on over my NNN BC boots but they are not a great fit. Skins could be better!.

Some people do this and I did it myself at first but you have to remember it will mean even more weight on your back. That was enough to make me bite the bullet and just ski in. There are times though when I think snowshoes would still be handy but then you have to think of all the other times they are not required. Kicker skins should work well enough. Mine are full length but I have been thinking about going to kickers to reduce more weight. I have no trouble with my ski boots and snowshoes and I run 75mm.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 3:35 pm

I have never XC skied on 75 mm duck bill bindings. I am curious to see how they handle. I would have to rent the gear and that is not appealing because I already have XC ski gear!
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 5:56 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I have never XC skied on 75 mm duck bill bindings. I am curious to see how they handle. I would have to rent the gear and that is not appealing because I already have XC ski gear!

Many would say I am out of date but I just cannot walk in plastic boots and that includes when I am going up him with skis on. Rent a set of 75mm for one trip and see how you go. I know those in plastics and especially those with tech bindings will tell you that you get more power and ditch the 75mm but there is a lot more you can do with 75mm compared to NNN BC. I am sure that, in time, you would be able to do enough with your current set up so you can persist with that and it will make you a better skier. It is pretty funny at CC hut in winter when all you see is plastic boots and you have leathers. Not that long ago it was the other way round. I have not seen any NNN BC but that does not mean nobody does it. I have seen guys with that set up do some awesome stuff.

What I am saying is that you will struggle to carry a heavy pack and ski with your current set up but in time you will adapt. It is not a setup you should throw away because it serves a good purpose but you can get another setup which will extend your trips. Hope this helps. I know it cost too but I have done it all on a budget.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 07 Dec, 2018 8:02 pm

I can now cover a lot of ground on classic XC skinny skis on the BHP using a NNN BC binding and boot. Next season I am sure I can make it out to Fitzgerald's hut and back to Windy corner in one day on that set up. I would be inclined to use the BC XC skis with metal edges for any day trip to Roper's hut and back because of ice early in the morning/day going up Watch bed Creek and going over Mt. Nelse. I would probably take the Madshus Epochs for a day trip to Tawonga huts too.
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Re: Winter walks on the Bogong High Plains?

Postby Xplora » Sat 08 Dec, 2018 4:45 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I can now cover a lot of ground on classic XC skinny skis on the BHP using a NNN BC binding and boot. Next season I am sure I can make it out to Fitzgerald's hut and back to Windy corner in one day on that set up. I would be inclined to use the BC XC skis with metal edges for any day trip to Roper's hut and back because of ice early in the morning/day going up Watch bed Creek and going over Mt. Nelse. I would probably take the Madshus Epochs for a day trip to Tawonga huts too.

I forgot about your skinny ski set up. You have BHP covered for the most part and if that is all you intend to do then you are fine as you are. As long as you are having fun.
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