Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

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Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 27 Sep, 2015 10:18 pm

Hi
I am looking at scouting out a hike that would start at the Upper Howqua campsite once the roads are open.
It would be Upper Howqua to Mt Speculation via the Queen spur road.
Day two would Mt Spec. to Mac. Springs over the Cross cut saw .
Day three would be Mac. Springs to the Upper Howqua campsite via Mt Howitt and down the Western ridge/Howitt spur.

My main Question is what is the Queen spur road like?. It is just insane bush bashing ?
Is the foot pad up to Mt Buggery hard to find?
I want to do this before I take other people out there so I can get a feel for the effort, time it takes, water points , navigation challenges and so on.
Does the water at Mt Spec. campsite/camp creek flow all year round ?
Any helpful words will be appreciated.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Xplora » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 6:00 am

We have looked at this a couple of times, even looked at it from on top of Buggery and after we ran into some guys who did it have canned the idea. We were at Camp creek and they came into camp in a bad way. No water and very thirsty. It was summer and very hot. I am sure the walk is possible as I have found some other posted information (see below) and maybe they just did it wrong but they said it was difficult. The camp creek spring is one of the most reliable water sources in the area. Not so on Mt Spec which can be difficult or impossible to find in mid summer. I would be interested as well to hear from people who have actually done it.

http://mbw.org.au/mbw_activities/MBW_tr ... 2014103101
http://trailsandtracks.blogspot.com.au/ ... aw-mt.html
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby andrewp » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 8:48 am

I have walked in this area a bit in the past. Walked all the way down Queen Spur back to the King River about a year ago. It was quite open until we started the ascent of the Pimple. You would not be walking this section. The bit up to Mt Buggery is open, a few rocky scrambles, but no sign of a foot pad from what I remember.

I have walked up Queen Spur Road from the Howqua as far as Stanleys Name Spur where we turned off and headed up directly to the Cross Cut Saw. The road that far was basically a 4wd track. I can't comment on it's state beyond. I can't remember what it was like when we met it coming down Queen Spur.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 9:04 pm

If I can't get any confirmed reports from hikers who have done this route in the past 12 months then I will just take the Howitt spur up to Mac. Springs and camp there . Then the next day would be to hike across the cross cut saw to camp creek.
I would not want to go out there on my own to scout it out and walk the route if it turns into a bush bashing horror hike.
The last day would then be Camp creek to Mt Howitt and the western ridge and back to the cars at the Upper Howqua. This seems like a long last day but with an early start in Daylight savings time , and carrying extra water, it seems doable and no insane bush bashing on very over grown tracks would be involved.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Dutch » Tue 17 Nov, 2015 5:45 pm

Last weekend a mate and I did this walk; “walk 26 - the crosscut saw” by Glenn Van Der Knijf… wow. It's now the toughest (mentally then physically) trek we’ve done.

Image
Full: http://i.imgur.com/6ykTUvc.png

Upper Howqua campsite was spacious with only a few fly fishing guys in 4WD’s there. Id arrived in a 2WD medium sized car which meant having to pay close attention to large rocks on the 25km’ish drive road in.

The walk from campsite to Stanley's Name Spur crossing was open, clear, gorgeous and lush.

Queen Spur road is an old 4WD track full of inch wide saplings and 50 or so fallen trees that need moving over or under; slow going, but easily manageable.

The problem is the last zig-zag to the northwest that the road takes, just after 2 crossings of King River, with the track literally disappearing! One is meant to move along there for another klick, find a partial track heading northwest on the Queen Spur that takes one to the summit of Mt Buggery.

We had a recent map of area, plus Glens map, plus ORUX maps on Android.

After about 30 mins of trying to either find the rest of the Queen Spur road or the mysterious “soft walking track” on the spur, we’d realised we had to make a decision to either a) bush bash a klick northeast (and 100m’s of inclination) to the top of Mt Buggery (or the last bit of the Crosscut Saw) or b) call it quits and head back an hour, camp overnight on the Queen Spur track and head back to Howqua camp the next day…

We took option a) where an hour of swearing and grunting ensued. We hit the Spur with bleeding shins and then proceeded to again, rock climb and bush bash up to the top of Mt Buggery. The sight of that 100mm wide dirt trail was something special, I’ll tell you what.

Horrible Gap was how you would expect a section of that name, after 6h of walking. Bang up to Mt Spec, left some gear, 1.2km down to Camp Creek for water. Spent 10m trying to find water (you go down the foot trail, hit the 4WD road (with a concrete campfire full of half burnt rubbish) turn left and walk 30m to where there's water running under the road there.
Back up to Mt Speculation, setup tents just back from the south face and watched the sunset while sipping spiced rum commenting “wonder how cold it gets”?

*F_cking* cold and wet, that's how.

0100>0700h was -10c with windchill and 80km/h winds (numbers pulled from butt). There were serious talks at 0130h around actions if a tent suffered a tear or a collapse; haul down to Creek Camp again and use each other's body heat for warmth while we each remember that scene from Brokeback Mountain.

Woke to views that confirm the reason for the mountains name. Down back to Buggery, across the Crosscut Saw which was worth the pain i feel, then west onto the Stanley's Name Spur.

This was the second interesting experience.

This track is very steep in places, requiring scrambling down rocks and skittering along rocky shale. I wouldn't recommend this for those new to hiking or those that are clumsy.
It's the last 500m before you reach the crossing and it disappearing before your eyes that really got me. Another painful bush bash in shorts and low on water had me go a little loopy in the heat.

Verdict, i wouldn't recommend using Queens Spur Road to get to Buggery with the track as it is now unless you have long pants, time to burn and are a little demented.

35km total, 17 hours, 2700 vertical metres climbed.

Tips:

The water at Camp Creek appeared to be the only reliable water in the large area. I'd suggest setting yourself up to be able to carry at least 4kg of it, with the way the wind whips the moisture out you and the hard, open mouth breathing through Horrible Gap and Buggery.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby eggs » Tue 17 Nov, 2015 7:57 pm

Did a trip report here - from Nov 14:
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19353&hilit=+howitt

It was important for us to pick up water before ascending the Queens Spur as we did not get to Speculation, but camped on Buggery.
There was a lovely flowing pool that might not be obvious from the track, but we also passed over flowing water at the last gully before tracking up onto Queens Spur proper.

I was not impressed with the old 4WD track past Stanleys Name Spur. A bit overgrown and fallen logs. But I think the heat played a big role in the discomfort as well.
Not sure about the track problem Dutch faced - as it was a large benched old road at the sharp turn to the NW - just where the creek passed under the track.
And that section was relatively open and clear.

Edit - a photo of that section added. It is a distinct road bench - but regrowth means you wander across the bench a bit. However, this section which is sidling onto Queen's Spur is not difficult.
QueensSpur4159.jpg
Last edited by eggs on Wed 18 Nov, 2015 11:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 17 Nov, 2015 10:31 pm

Dutch wrote:Horrible Gap was how you would expect a section of that name, after 6h of walking. Bang up to Mt Spec, left some gear, 1.2km down to Camp Creek for water. Spent 10m trying to find water (you go down the foot trail, hit the 4WD road (with a concrete campfire full of half burnt rubbish) turn left and walk 30m to where there's water running under the road there.


Dutch, the track from the summit of Spec goes down to where it turns left at a spacious shoulder campsite, where the steep AAWT route to Catherine Pass goes straight ahead. From there a short distance down near the track to the Spec road is a concrete fireplace and a sheltered flat area. Is this near where you got water? My recollection is that it's probably 150 metres from the foot track-Spec road junction to Camp Creek. I could not see a fireplace on the road.

Mac Springs is running and should be okay except in dry years, and maybe in late summer. There's water in the gully on the south (right) as you descend from Howitt to Mac Springs. This creek is not as big as Mac Springs, but it's closer to the Crosscut turnoff.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 18 Nov, 2015 1:39 pm

Thanks for the trip reports.
I think I will stick with the Howitt spur track from the Upper Howqua to Mt Howitt.
Sections of the route / track , one ascertains from these field reports, sound rather unpleasant and overwhelmingly taxing.
Is the descent down the Stanley name spur track from the Cross cut saw that bad?
If so I will stick with the Howitt spur track on the descent too.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Xplora » Wed 18 Nov, 2015 6:37 pm

Dutch wrote:This track is very steep in places, requiring scrambling down rocks and skittering along rocky shale. I wouldn't recommend this for those new to hiking or those that are clumsy.
It's the last 500m before you reach the crossing and it disappearing before your eyes that really got me. Another painful bush bash in shorts and low on water had me go a little loopy in the heat.


I can relate to that. It happened to me and I think it is the same spot. It was a very hot day and I was on my own. I had already fallen and hurt my shoulder so when I could not find the track I turned around and walked back to Mac Springs. Next time I did it with my partner and we found the track turned to the right at that point. It was hard to see but once on it the walk was easy. I have since done it on my own from the circuit road to Mac springs and it was easy enough. I would not worry about it. The first bit down from the crosscut is no worse than going down Howitt Spur. Timbertop year 9 kids do it but I don't think they do Queen's spur anymore.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby north-north-west » Wed 18 Nov, 2015 7:47 pm

I've only done Stanleys Name once, but don't recall it being anywhere near as steep as Howitt Spur.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby wildlight » Wed 18 Nov, 2015 8:55 pm

north-north-west wrote:I've only done Stanleys Name once, but don't recall it being anywhere near as steep as Howitt Spur.


Same here, it was quite an enjoyable trip. By comparison, Howitt Spur seemed kinda "endless" which could be good or bad…

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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 18 Nov, 2015 11:08 pm

So the last bit on the descent of the Stanley Name spur track heading back down towards the Upper Howqua is overgrown and indistinct before the Thorn range 4 WD track reappears. I think I will give it a go. Is it easier to find the track on the way up ? I could hike up to Mac Springs via Stanley name spur track from the Upper Howqua . I don't mind a bit of bush bashing , but not a horror hike of it.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Xplora » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 4:07 am

The second time going down SNS I wondered how I did not see the track in the first place but maybe I did not expect it to turn so abruptly to the north. It was really hot with fires burning out of control to the north and I began to think it was not a good idea to be out there. I continued down the spur on the bearing and got into thick scrub and then could not find the track so I turned back. The voice in my head was yelling at me and I listen to it now. I have enjoyed SNS since and would recommend it going up or down and it is not as steep as Howitt spur. I like both spurs though.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Dutch » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 10:29 am

Thanks all for feedback!
eggs wrote:Did a trip report here - from Nov 14:
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19353&hilit=+howitt


@eggs; An overall lesson for us was to use resources like BW.com to better learn its current condition. That’s an excellent report eggs, highly entertaining.

eggs wrote:Edit - a photo of that section added. It is a distinct road bench - but regrowth means you wander across the bench a bit. However, this section which is sidling onto Queen's Spur is not difficult.


Interesting, we didn’t notice areas that looked that clear there. Whenever we saw what looked like a bench, had a 40cm wide tree growing out of the middle of it, or wasn’t a bench at all; a huge fallen trees root system just gave the illusion.

Image

Full Size: http://i.imgur.com/fgXolub.png

As per the zoom on the highlighted orange box, as soon as we went over that stream crossing, the track was not obvious. You can see we ‘followed” it for 50-100m but that was more me weaving up and down in elevation trying to find it. Where we deviate heavily and head mostly north, we’d decided just to punch it up the hill.
The green box, you can see the other track change. The doted red line is from TopoMaps, and probably a little old (the 40k physical map that we had, showed the track that matched what we saw with our eyes.. the first bit at least) That deviation of the thick pink line is us and it followed the only obvious track in the area. Where it heads south and cross the doted red line again, is where we just punched it through the bush to where we knew the crossing was.
As id said, we were getting a little dehydrated at that point so may have missed something. I’m fairly new to all this.

@Lophophaps;
Unfortunately I wasn’t recording the track down there, but yes, your corrections are right, ill reiterate and try to add some more detail.
From the summit of Mt Spec we headed east a distance to the fork. With AAWT on the right, we stuck to the left. Another few 100m and we got to an open area; road to the left, road to the right and straight ahead a 1.5-2m diameter concrete pipe that was buried vertical in the ground with a Y pole fire spit. We walked directly forward through some trees to a copy of the first fireplace setup. Clearly used by 4WD’ers, half burnt rubbish in the fireplace.
Going back up to where we entered the area., that road to the right I mentioned? - was gated closed. The road to the left… we followed that for 50m to where a 40cm concrete pipe carried water under the road and it’s there that we captured our water. I used a Sawyer .02 micron water filter for 6L, but was so impressed with the colour and flavour, didn’t bother filtering the other 4L (between two people)

Thanks for the info on water around Howitt, it will be used when I return shortly to conquer that peak!

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Sections of the route / track , one ascertains from these field reports, sound rather unpleasant and overwhelmingly taxing.
Is the descent down the Stanley name spur track from the Cross cut saw that bad?
If so I will stick with the Howitt spur track on the descent too.


We did SNS decent after 15h of walking in 36h, spooked by the messing about on Queens Spur, only 3-4h of sleep and stressed about water. As long as you’re sensible, pay attention and plan for it (you are, as your reading this  ) its fine.

@Xplora and paidal_chalne_vala ; thanks, if I hit that piece of track again, ill take some more time to look around. It’s not a “horror” but it’s certainly made me re-think my lower clothing of choice; compression shorts and 4” jogging shorts :D

On another note, I notice a good proportion of BW posts are essentially “track reports”
What do people think about an open collaborative spreadsheet that lists various track segments around the country. When we get back from a trek, we can add a time stamp and comments about the current conditions? Sure there’d be the question of definition, with one mans “easy” being another’s “nightmare’ but worth a thought.

D
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby eggs » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 11:56 am

Well, I don't remember it being too hard to find at the last turn.
There may have been a few trees early on - and I do think there was a large fallen tree on the track with roots that required a slight detour on the slopes - but it was actually part of the road there.

Attached is a view of my GPS of our walk to Queen's Spur.
I am afraid I did not record the part up the spur to Buggery - but there was a pad - particularly high on the ridge.
And while we had been exhausted on that climb, it was quite exhilarating on the rocks of the ridgeline.
Queens Spur.jpg
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Dutch » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 4:06 pm

Yes, comparing ur traces to mine and reading that you saying you could see the faint track, just makes me feel im under experienced in these matters (promise we were under duress hahah)

Alas, iv learnt a great deal from my first Alps trek and will be back to tackle Howitt in 3-4 weeks.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby north-north-west » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 5:58 pm

I had trouble at the same spot when I did that route. Just took me a while to pick up the correct line as it didn't follow the line on my paper map and there was not a clear pad through then - we're talking a few years back. But once around the corner it was fine.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 19 Nov, 2015 6:01 pm

I trekked up the Howitt spur ,solo, on the hottest day of Jan.2016. It was punishing in that heat and I ran out of water when I hit the Howitt Summit west.
The track was overgrown in sections with saplings and fallen logs but overall it was easy to find but some bush bashing to detour around massive fallen timber was necessary. I will provide a trip report if I am on that track again next month.
Has anyone been past Hell fire Creek lately? Is there water there? It has been a bit dry this spring.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby CaptainC » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 6:59 pm

There was a Bushwalking Victoria/ Parks Victoria work party clearing Howitt Spur track last weekend. I only attended the Saturday and the lower parts of the track were certainly well cleared. I'll try to find out how far they got on Sunday.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby CaptainC » Wed 02 Dec, 2015 10:57 pm

The track clearing got about halfway up Howitt Spur.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 03 Dec, 2015 3:20 am

CaptainC wrote:The track clearing got about halfway up Howitt Spur.


Good. It was mainly the lower section that was a tad vague in places. About a kilometre below the start of then climb the track is in danger of falling into the river. Are you aware of any realignment for this section? Coming from Howitt, near here there's a sign to the effect that the bridge is unsafe for vehicles. Had to laugh - no vehicles and no bridge.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 03 Dec, 2015 6:55 pm

Yes I saw that sign. The imaginary bridge and imaginary 4 WD track.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby CaptainC » Sat 05 Dec, 2015 10:22 pm

That sign is from many years ago before a flood washed away the old road. You used to be able to drive into the base of Howitt Spur with a 2WD.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Xplora » Sun 06 Dec, 2015 5:02 am

CaptainC wrote:That sign is from many years ago before a flood washed away the old road. You used to be able to drive into the base of Howitt Spur with a 2WD.


There was an article in Wild many years ago which may have been written by the editor of the time. She wanted to re-live her Timbertop experience with some old school friends and walk up Howitt spur. They drove to the Upper Howqua camp area and remembering back in school days they started walking up at the end of the road thought they had parked at the bottom of Howitt spur. Instead they walked up Helicopter spur and getting to the top had no idea where they were and had to ask for directions.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 06 Dec, 2015 6:35 am

Xplora wrote:There was an article in Wild many years ago which may have been written by the editor of the time. She wanted to re-live her Timbertop experience with some old school friends and walk up Howitt spur. They drove to the Upper Howqua camp area and remembering back in school days they started walking up at the end of the road thought they had parked at the bottom of Howitt spur. Instead they walked up Helicopter spur and getting to the top had no idea where they were and had to ask for directions.


Oh dear. The turn to Helicopter Spur is south away from the river and 3 kilometres short of the start of Howitt Spur, which is east. The distance from the Bindaree road and the number of bridges from there should have been an indication. At least the party's fitness was good. It could have been a lot worse - they may have gone up Stanleys Name Spur.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 06 Dec, 2015 1:12 pm

Capt. C. : would you say that the track work reached that point marked as a black dot on the topographical map that is at about 1300 M ?. There is a small (dry camp or emergency) camp site there on a rocky flattish area just above the path. There is usually evidence of an old camp fire of some sort there.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby CaptainC » Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:14 pm

Yes, on the Buller Howitt Outdoor Recreation Guide there is a spot marked at 1305 and it was around about there.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 07 Feb, 2016 8:59 pm

The track work on the Howitt spur stopped well before the 1300 M spot mark on the map. I was up there just after Xmas 2015.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 16 Nov, 2018 5:19 pm

I am still curious about walking from the Circuit road along SNS " track" to SNS spur junction and possibly out along the old Queen's spur road and up Mt. Buggery. I need an adventure on foot before the weather heats up too much and the water points dry up .I know the route up SNS and there is a good campsite with water before the last steep climb up to the XC saw. From that campsite on SNS, Mt. Spec. and Camp Creek are not that far away if you start early and the weather is kind.
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Re: Upper Howqua/Queen Spur road/Mt Buggery

Postby Xplora » Sat 17 Nov, 2018 4:44 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I am still curious about walking from the Circuit road along SNS " track" to SNS spur junction and possibly out along the old Queen's spur road and up Mt. Buggery.

You know what being curious did to that cat. Take lots of water and expect some scrub bashing when the road peters out with a track that is not well defined. Don't let me deter you though.
Xplora
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