Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Explorer_Sam » Sun 11 Jan, 2015 6:52 pm

For those who love a challenge...

I am seeking comments and opinions on what are Victoria's hardest walks, and the hardest mountains to walk up.

I have always heard that Bogong is meant to be Victoria's toughest mountain, and I would assume it would be therefore the toughest walk also? I know there are a lot more factors to a tough walk than a steep gradient though. I did it by Staircase Spur the other day (which I know is the easiest route), it was steep and it felt like a lot of work for 16 kms return, but I feel that there still must be something twice as tough out there.

Thanks,
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 11 Jan, 2015 7:12 pm

The staircase spur on Mt Bogong is tough.With a full pack it is a nutcracker. Every route up and down Mt Bogong is demanding.
I found the NW spur of Mt Feathertop to be a ball buster going down. The track is very steep and is not as well maintained as The Staircase spur or the Eskdale spur on Mt Bogong.

The Howitt Spur or western ridge of Mt Howitt isn't that easy either when ascending.The track is over grown and is quite steep.
The Crinolene/Mt Ligar circuit is a tough hike esp. if it is raining , snowing or sleeting.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Tortoise » Sun 11 Jan, 2015 8:25 pm

Welcome back, Explorer Sam. I was wondering the other day where you'd got to, and hoping you were still enthusiastically walking.

I think that anything challenging with a track is generally not as tough as challenging without a track. I didn't do much off-track in Vic, so will be interested to hear other contributions. Some walks are tough because of length, difficult navigation, river crossings, regrowth after fire, etc.

Are you thinking just day walks?
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 11 Jan, 2015 8:44 pm

Sam, Bogong is certainly a long slog up the Staircase, about 1200 vertical metres of climbing. The Staircase requires endurance and tenacity, no question. But other Bogong spurs are easier. The popular T Spur take 3-4 hours from Big River to Maddisons Hut site, the creek at the top, and is about 700 metres of climbing, not too hard. Quartz Ridge is 600 metres from Big River, with a long sojourn from West Peak many years ago we mangled the navigation and climbed Saddleback Spur. This took a whole day in summer, much scrub.

I think you have to factor in the terrain as well - scrub, rock, and the like - to get a good picture of how hard a mountain is. That said, I reckon The Staircase would be in the top dozen or so, maybe top five, of hard climbs in Victoria.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Explorer_Sam » Sun 11 Jan, 2015 10:39 pm

Thanks for the responses, keep them coming. I am glad to find I'm not the only one who struggled on what wikipedia call Mount Bogong's 'easiest route'. It took Dad and I 9 hours to get up and down, returning by the Staircase also. We had to stop frequently as Dad was unfit following a recent illness and events that kept him from training. The hardest part for me was the bot flies and march flies. On top, the march flies were horrendous!

Tortoise wrote:Welcome back, Explorer Sam. I was wondering the other day where you'd got to, and hoping you were still enthusiastically walking.

I think that anything challenging with a track is generally not as tough as challenging without a track. I didn't do much off-track in Vic, so will be interested to hear other contributions. Some walks are tough because of length, difficult navigation, river crossings, regrowth after fire, etc.

Are you thinking just day walks?


Hey Tortoise,

Thanks! That's very nice of you, and I can tell you I am walking more enthusiastically than ever! I just haven't been on the forum much but I am now rediscovering my love for it. When I have been online, I have been sitting back reading, not having much of an input :roll:

Both day walks and overnighters. One just came to me then. I remember in 2013 doing the Pyrenees Endurance Walk, a lesser-known walk, in the Pyrenees Ranges behind Avoca. It began with a very long, hot day walking up steep hills. I remember it being a huge relief to get to Cameron's Hut where we camped the night. The next day was much of the same, very hot with barely a flat section. I remember the straps on my heavy pack digging into my shoulders and the chill as the breeze met my sweaty back every time I took it off. We were unsure of where to go at one point, but luckily some 4WDrivers showed us the way (it crosses a few 4WD tracks and the Pyrenees is a popular destination for them). I haven't yet mentioned that we had been misplaced twice before, navigation is not very difficult, but it's not straightforward either.

Nice country for a while. It wears off during the first climb... :oops: Eventually it gets a bit repetitive and boring, or it did for me anyway. To make matters worse, trail bike engines are often roaring in the background and you are bound to come across a few of them. It's also a popular destination for trail bike riders, the bad kind. They enjoy riding (and destroying) the walking tracks, despite all the signs clearly stating that trail bikes are not allowed (they also seem to enjoy scratching off 'no trail bikes' symbols, so the signs know that they can't tell the bikers what to do). I am also lead to believe that some don't quite like walkers, because on one 'Pyrenees Endurance Walk' sign, the word 'walk' has also been scratched off.

I felt bad afterwards for introducing a good friend to overnight bushwalking with this gem, but it seems it didn't deter him because he joined me on another few overnighters that year. He seems to have lost interest now, but I'll continue to invite him along. Perhaps it's thoughts (nightmares?) of the PEW that haunt him and prevent him from adventuring with me anymore.

After every negative thing I have stated above about the walk, if you want a challenge, then the Pyrenees Endurance Walk may be for you.
21 kms, one way, so a drop off/pick up or car shuffle may be required. You can even do it in a (long) day with a lighter pack, apparently some crazy people run it! :o
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby north-north-west » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 7:26 am

Funny. I made a post on this yesterday and it seems to have failed to arrive. To recap:

It depends on where you start and which route you take. As Tortoise said, off-track makes it harder. But Bogong - even via the Staircase - really isn't all that hard. Sure, it's a long uphill slog but on a good track, not that steep and there's no scrambling. The traditional route up Koonika from the King River is harder work, for instance. I'd rather do Bogong than climb Howitt Spur. Feathertop via Tom Keens or even the Bon Accord/Razorback route is harder work. There are some peaks in the Grampians that are harder than Bogong, even if the climbs are shorter.
I've often eyed off the old route up Snowy Bluff from the river and wondered whether I'd make it up. Going up the north face of MacDonald from Jamieson Hut is another one that's shorter but - especially with the lack of track maintenance the last couple of times I did it - tougher going. I've gone down Hump on the old route to the west - climbing that now the track's disappeared, with all the downed timber and loose rock would be hell, even though it's not that far.

You can make any peak harder work by going off track and errrrr . . . experimenting with the route.

This has got me thinking a bit further afield. There's a lot of far harder stuff in NSW; the Budawangs, the Blue Mountains, all that lovely cliffy & gorge strewn country they have, but I've done little of it. The hardest tracked climb I've done on the mainland would probably be the Hannels Spur route up to the Abbotts, Townsend and Kosciuszko.
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Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby bmak » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 12:32 pm

I actually ran this late last year in a race 21ks in 2 1/2 hrs for me and it was a killer. Enjoyed it more than the times I've walked it though.

Explorer_Sam wrote:After every negative thing I have stated above about the walk, if you want a challenge, then the Pyrenees Endurance Walk may be for you.
21 kms, one way, so a drop off/pick up or car shuffle may be required. You can even do it in a (long) day with a lighter pack, apparently some crazy people run it! :o


As for tough hikes it's often relative to the person and the day. I did a tough 9k in my cole yesterday that felt pretty full on.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Explorer_Sam » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 12:42 pm

bmak wrote:I actually ran this late last year in a race 21ks in 2 1/2 hrs for me and it was a killer. Enjoyed it more than the times I've walked it though.

Explorer_Sam wrote:After every negative thing I have stated above about the walk, if you want a challenge, then the Pyrenees Endurance Walk may be for you.
21 kms, one way, so a drop off/pick up or car shuffle may be required. You can even do it in a (long) day with a lighter pack, apparently some crazy people run it! :o


As for tough hikes it's often relative to the person and the day. I did a tough 9k in my cole yesterday that felt pretty full on.


Which one was that, if you don't mind me asking?

EDIT: I seem to have missed that top part. Gee, incredible effort. I would have enjoyed it more running rather than walking too, get it over and done with quicker :wink:
Last edited by Explorer_Sam on Mon 12 Jan, 2015 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby highercountry » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 1:53 pm

Way and above the hardest walk I've ever done was the Little River Gorge in East Gippsland.
Walking upstream from the Little River junction on the Snowy up to the Makillops Rd.
Nothing else that I've walked has come close.
It took nearly three days to walk and climb about 15 Kilometers.
No technical climbing but very tough going.
Here's a link to a fella that walked it. He's not exaggerating at all;

http://www.redbubble.com/people/traviseaston/writing/4342263-little-river-gorge

These guys walked down the gorge. We walked up and took a more circuitous route around the cliff faces. They did plenty of rope descents. We clamoured around the sheer faces.

Just found the report from one of the guys on this forum who also ventured in there;

http://mickbeckers.com/hiking/trip-reports/little-river-gorge-and-wulgulmerang-falls/
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby walkerchris77 » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 3:06 pm

Any track walking backwards is hard.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Earwig » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 3:23 pm

walkerchris77 wrote:Any track walking backwards is hard.


Yeah, I noticed in your profile pic that you are walking backwards. Strange, I thought, but each to their own.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 12 Jan, 2015 7:40 pm

In Tassie at SW Cape many years ago the leader (not me) took the wrong spur. An entire day to climb a relatively small bump, about 2 kilometres. Totally wrecked we were. I caught glimpses of the correct spur through the mist, lovely open hill. Instead of a clean creek on a flat beach we had no water and camped on a sine wave. This was the toughest day that I can recall.

I am reminded of The Goons, I'm walking backwards for Christmas.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby JamesMc » Tue 13 Jan, 2015 6:31 pm

Mt Latrobe at Wilsons Prom was hard before the bushfire. It's probably harder still now.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Hallu » Tue 13 Jan, 2015 8:14 pm

Sometimes conditions makes it hard. Try the Cathedral Range in summer with 35° C, swarms of flies and the omnipresent prickly bushes, with 800 vertical climb, and you have a tough one, although it's just a medium walk on a cool autumn day with no flies. Terrain-wise, there are many walks in the Grampians that require a lot of scrambling, and some vertiginous parts. A winter ascent of Bogong in snow shoes must be quite exhausting too. I've never been to Snowy River NP, but I hear there are some tough walks up there, or in the Cobberas Range.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby jford » Tue 13 Jan, 2015 8:25 pm

Indeed, a simple walk can be made hard by adding a couple of mistakes in early in the day. I walked from Mitchells up the Governor, below Sheepyard Flat many years ago. We took the wrong spur and made a very long day of it.

Also, short but steep is Mt Donna Buang. I've broken a few friends on this one. Not long but steep. A good hard daywalk.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby wildlight » Wed 14 Jan, 2015 9:45 am

Hey fjord,

There's some spectacular country there, I have done that walk too, done many of the spurs if not all. Did you end up taking the one to the north from the governor, then goes over a different unnamed summit, descending to LIckhole Creek? Gosh it's fantastic country. Lots of hidden gems for photos.

Cheers

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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby stry » Wed 14 Jan, 2015 7:34 pm

Hey Wildlight,

Were the ex-army trousers that I found up there many years ago yours ? :lol:

A couple of biros on the ground and nothing else. Looked around a bit for bones, for any other clues, but no joy.

Concluded that perhaps they had fallen off someone's pack, although they weren't folded or rolled. Not on any track, high on a spur climbing the north faces of the Governors.

Amazing what you come across in the bush. :)
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby wildlight » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 7:55 am

Hey Stry

No they weren't but that pink ballerina costume- well- who knows?!

That is absolutely insane country through there, in my misspent youth I walked every spur and access route to the governor, camped at Mitchells one time for a month in the middle of winter. Planted a food stash in there just before the winter closure, and walked in from Wren's Flat.

Most recently, I was in there between Xmas 2014 and New Year having walked in from Granny's Flat. Told the missus that in those days I'd fall asleep there in the long grass and wildflowers, thinking that life couldn't possibly be any better…

Of course, without publishing details to sensitive untracked areas- I am sure you're well aware of the hidden photographic gems in the area?

cheers

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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby stry » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 2:59 pm

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that my interest in photography faded some years ago, but in general terms, yes, aware.

Which doesn't mean that I have seen everything in there that you have :D
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 11:13 pm

I am glad somebody else has said the Tom Kneen Track on the NW spur of Mt Feathertop is a tough *&%$#! hike, and that The Howitt Spur is tough too. They both are demanding.

Others have said Helicopter spur near Mt Magdala is tough with vicious March flies and rock scrambling to add to the degree of difficulty but I have not been up there yet. They Named Mt Difficult in the Grampians right too. In warm weather Machinery spur and Swindler's spur can really take the cake for steep unrelenting ascents and descents. I am curious as to what the Mt Loch circuit is like in July in snow shoes. That must require some true stamina.
In hot weather the Wellington river track from Lake Tali karng to the River bridge/car park at the other end is a grim slog with little in the way of scenery to reward the efforts.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 16 Jan, 2015 12:57 pm

The Tom Kneen Track is tres steep, especially at the bottom. Howitt Spur is just a slog, a short Staircase. Helicopter Spur is steep, but in my view has more technical difficulties than it is hard. Mind you, hanging on one hand with two questionable boot holds and a heavy overbalancing pack while swatting march flies ups the ante, especially for those below. The walk from Dibbins to Charlie Derrick is horrible, worse than T Spur. Horrible. I skied from Derrick to Dibbins. Once.

I rather like the Tali walk downstream to the bitumen. In summer it's possible to stop for many splashes. On one trip either there or in the Snowy we had one swim every kilometre or two. This did not lead to huge distances being covered, but it was fun. If you want an interesting snow walk, try the north face of The Bluff after a heavy snowfall. I did this; much sliding was involved, including collecting others on the way down. Unfortunately we were attempting to go up. On that trip we posited that The Bluff's parents were not married.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby jford » Fri 16 Jan, 2015 1:27 pm

wildlight wrote:Hey fjord,

There's some spectacular country there, I have done that walk too, done many of the spurs if not all. Did you end up taking the one to the north from the governor, then goes over a different unnamed summit, descending to LIckhole Creek? Gosh it's fantastic country. Lots of hidden gems for photos.

Cheers

WildLight


Not north of the Governor, south of it. The walk was in Tyrone Thomas (an old edition, since removed): north-north-east (roughly) along creek from Mitchells, take second spur towards north east. We took the first one, the long way around. It certainly made a hard walk harder.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby wildlight » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 3:14 am

Hey j ford

Sorry about the spelling in first reply, some auto spellcheck kicked in when I posted, hence the change in format to your handle in this post. I have walked that spur too, yes it was tough. The most precious commodity was water- it's amazing how quickly you use it up. I hat to think of what some of that scrub would be like after the fires.

Cheers

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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby JohnStrider » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 11:51 am

If you would like a short up and back day hike, and live out in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, try walking up to Mt St Leonard via Donnelly's Weir in Healesville. Just a gradual ascent up from the get go. It's about 10km to the top despite the map at the start saying it's 8km.

You are rewarded with a spectacular view of Melbourne when you reach the look out tower at the top. Can see the city quite clearly, Mt Dandenong and all across the Yarra Valley. Highly recommend it.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Kinsayder » Mon 19 Jan, 2015 12:54 pm

I found the Diamantina Spur to be a reasonable slog through the snow almost 18 months back. The North West Spur too, although I put down a part of that to heading up some hours after a funeral and stupidly not carrying enough water. I think the most smashed I've been after a hike was after doing a Helicopter Spur - Howitt Spur hike as a day trip. I agree with mentions of Donna Buang too. It's steep and, honestly, an unrewarding and boring hike. I stopped counting leeches after I'd pulled off around 30 from my legs.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 21 Jan, 2015 10:56 pm

Somebody else has mentioned Swindler's spur from Derrick's hut to Dibbin's hut as being tough. It is!

So too is the climb from Blair's hut to Weston's hut. It just keeps going up.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Hallu » Thu 22 Jan, 2015 2:41 am

Donna Buang is boring on foot, why walk there when you can drive there. It's really the same with Mt Sugarloaf in Kinglake.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby smullumby » Fri 23 Jan, 2015 8:28 am

Explorer_Sam wrote:For those who love a challenge...

I am seeking comments and opinions on what are Victoria's hardest walks, and the hardest mountains to walk up.

I have always heard that Bogong is meant to be Victoria's toughest mountain, and I would assume it would be therefore the toughest walk also? I know there are a lot more factors to a tough walk than a steep gradient though. I did it by Staircase Spur the other day (which I know is the easiest route), it was steep and it felt like a lot of work for 16 kms return, but I feel that there still must be something twice as tough out there.

Thanks,
Sam.


Without any doubt the "North West Spur Track" up Mt. Feathertop is the steepest, Starts 6km before Haritville at the Trout farm
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 26 Jan, 2015 8:15 am

Yes, The NW spur track up/down Mt. Feathertop is the gold standard in torture.
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Re: Hardest Mountains/Walks in Vic

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 27 Jan, 2015 8:29 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Yes, The NW spur track up/down Mt. Feathertop is the gold standard in torture.


Going down is no picnic. Still, abseiling is always an option.
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