A couple of questions about the bigfella

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A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 8:22 am

Hi all. A mate and I are hoping to get up Bogong this weekend and I thought I'd ask a bit of advice here first.

We've both had a bit of experience in the snow - skiing, camping, xc, snowshoeing etc. but I've heard Bogong can be pretty interesting depending on the conditions and I haven't been up there before. This weekend looks good with a bit of sun around but still nice and fresh and we're assuming the snow will be pretty old by then with the warm weather over the next few days. What do people recommend to take up - snowshoes, micro spikes or even xc skis? (And is there anywhere one can hire micro spikes?). We're thinking it'll be pretty icy in the mornings?

Any advice would be great - even if someone has a favourite walk up or spot to pitch the tent. We'll probably camp at the bottom Friday night, walk up Saturday then down Sunday and back home to Melbourne. Cheers!
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 8:57 am

The first thing to realise is that Bogong is big, about 1300 metres of climbing from 700 metres at the start of Staircase to 1986 metres at the summit. There's also about 30 minutes of 4WD track from the gate. Camp at Mountain Creek then drive for e few minutes to the gate and car park. Bypass the creek crossings. With a suitable vehicle you can drive to Granite Flat Spur, gain a lot of height and distance.

Once you pass the treeline at about 1600 metres there is no cover until you reach Cleve Cole, and nowhere to camp that is sheltered. You can bench in under Pollux and Castor, needs good snow depth. It's entirely possible that a blizzard will stop progress on the return journey from Cleve Cole, something to consider. Or you could camp at Bivouac or Michell Huts, do a side trip to the summit. (Not sure about the name - it's recorded as "Mitchell".)

There's scope for snow-shoes, micro-spike and perhaps an ice axe. All I've taken is an ice axe. It's a long way to carry skis. It will be very icy in the morning, with crust forming on slopes out of the sun after about 4pm. If you can time the steeper snow sections to noon to about 3pm you should be okay.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 11:49 am

I've still got to sit down and have a proper look at the map but I was thinking we'd head up to Michell Hut, set up camp and then head for the summit after lunch (as you've suggested). I think we're going to take crampons up and probably an axe in case. Should be a fun weekend!
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 12:50 pm

Are you intending to walk from the gate or drive to Granite Flat Spur? The latter is closer and has less climbing, but a 4WD may be needed to get to the start. It's about 90 minutes to walk from the foot of Staircase to Camp Creek Gap (400 metres of climbing), and then maybe 90 minutes to the hut. If you start walking at the gate at a reasonable time you should get to the hut by late morning at the latest. Take whatever kit you can find. It's important to know how to use the kit, which is sharp and possibly lethal.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby wander » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 2:21 pm

Across the top of the Big Fella it can be windy, very windy, blow you off your feet windy. It also has the effect of scouring and polishing the surface to very clean and slippery ice.

And it can be socked in cloud for days at a time. Navigation by compass thru this in Winter is fraught as you need to go round all sorts of features that will change your course. So making sure you follow the pole line in these conditions is the go. But the poles are a long way apart and there maybe to odd dead pole.

If either of the above or more particularly a combination of both are in place then think very, very carefully about leaving the tree line and trying to push over to Cleve Cole.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 9:45 pm

Lophophaps - I think we'll start from Camp Creek Gap and head up Eskdale Spur. I'll grab some chains for my Forester so not too worried about getting in and out (barring any trees coming down over the road).

Wander - I'll definitely be erring well on the side of caution with this walk. I'm happy enough to call off an attempt to get to the summit if it looks at all dodgy. I'd much rather be safe than go for it and invite an accident and/or an expensive rescue effort! We won't be pushing all the way to cleve cole either, so hopefully we'll have an uneventful afternoon walking to the top from Michell Hut.

Thanks for the input as well, much appreciated.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby andrewa » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 10:43 pm

Mate, I'm heading up Sunday evening with my 2 daughters. The weather report doesn't look too bad. Road to CCG can get a bit slippery when wet, but a 4wd won't need chains - it's only when you get the really heavy low snow falls that chains are required. Having said that, I always take them anyway. Chainsaw not a bad idea either.

It's 1 1/2 hrs-1 3/4 hrs to Michell's, and another ?30 mins to the top. We tend to camp where Granite Flat and Eskdale join. I would normally use snow shoes on the way up. We will be skiing. I always take crampons too, as the top can ice up really badly, and it's quite steep. Don't bother with an axe, but we have self arrest grips as stocks, so an axe becomes redundant.

For this time of year, the weekend looks OK. Note that water is available at the creek half way up from CCG, and also at Michell's, although the tap at Michell's is normally frozen at night - we"LL probably be passing through at about midnight Friday - it's quite a nice walk at night,mane there's an almost full moon this weekend.


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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby Xplora » Thu 28 Jun, 2018 7:54 am

Maybe a bit of fresh snowing from today through to Saturday. Not looking like much at this stage. Andrewa has a fair bit of experience on your planned route so his advice is spot on. You should check out the BC section of ski.com for more info on Bogong (recent trip report). I would not be taking XC (skinny) skis up there but you may be talking about fatter BC skis or tele skis. Snowshoes would be better anyway unless your purpose is to ski some of the runs. From what I hear the conditions are not great for that as yet. Perhaps this bit of fresh will provide some powder on top but there may also be some risk it will not stick well to the base. Yes it could be very icy so crampons for Eskdale spur would help. The sign at the top of the spur has fallen over so the turn off may be hard to see in poor conditions on the way back.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Thu 28 Jun, 2018 8:55 am

Beauty, thanks guys. I'm thinking we might try and push this back a day so we're up there Sunday/Monday and get the nicest weather we can. We won't be skiing either - might as well wait until there's some decent white stuff around rather than slip out way over ice! Hopefully we bump into each other for a chat somewhere Andrew.

Thanks again, and I'll I post a report once I'm back.
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 10:23 pm

Well we're back now - and what a fantastic trip. A dusting of snow and pretty windy on Saturday - especially overnight (the Tarptent Scarp was as solid as a rock). Sunday was an absolute beauty of a day!
Hope you had a good walk down Andrew, great to bump into you. Thanks everyone else for the advice :D
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby andrewa » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 7:53 am

So glad you got to enjoy the view on Sunday. It was nice to meet up. Isn't t it fantastic being up above the cloud like that?

Did you go up Saturday arvo to enjoy the lousy weather as well?!t was so different on Saturday morning....

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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby ofuros » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 7:59 am

....and I thought Weipa's mornings were a tad cool at this time of year. :D
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: A couple of questions about the bigfella

Postby J M » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 9:59 am

Nope, we hung around down at the hut Saturday arvo and played around in the snow. It was pretty special waking up Sunday morning and seeing the stars shining down on cloud in the valley and then a stunner of a sunrise.
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