Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

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Victoria specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby butter-nuts » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 10:27 am

Hi Guys,

I am looking for a fun weekend hike to do around Melbourne. I have done a few hikes around the Grampians and Cathedrals which were awesome, so now I am looking for something new. I have never hiked in snow before so I thought it would be fun to head to Baw Baw and give it a go. I was hoping those more experienced with the area could give me a few tips, specifically:

1. What is a good hike I can do in the area over a weekend (driving from Melbourne early Saturday morning, returning Sunday night). I enjoy a challenging hike.
2. What specific gear do I need to consider for winter hiking in the alpine region? Waterproof pants? Gaiters? Is a layering of thermals/fleece/puffy enough or do I need a proper snow jacket?
3. Do I need snow shoes?

Thanks for all the help!
Last edited by butter-nuts on Mon 03 Sep, 2018 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby north-north-west » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 12:02 pm

Start at either the Erica or St Gwinnear carparks. Erica is more of a climb, but the carpark iis easier to reach in winter. Walk out to St Phillack saddle, camp near there, return the next day. If you have the time, you can explore out towards Baw Baw or Whitelaw.
Snowshoes would be a good idea. You won't need them down low if you go up via Erica, but you'll find them very useful once you get up into the white stuff. Can be hired.
Usually I wear waterproof pants only if the weather is bad, although if the track hasn't been cleared recently (and some part of the Baw Baw is always a bit overgrown) you'll be brushing against/through a lot of wet and/or snowy scrub; so if you hate wet pants, wear the waterproofs. Cheapies will do.
Gaiters are a good idea in snow, to help keep it out of the shoes/boots.
Your sleeping mat doesn't seem to be the insulated version, so consider borrowing something warmer, or adding a CCF mat for more insulation from the ground. You will need it on snow.
Don't know how warm the down and the beanie are, but at those weights they may not provide enough insulation for when you're stuffing around at camp. Body warmth is an individual thing. A ski jacket isn't necessary, but sufficient warm clothing is. And don't walk in your camp clothes, especially the down.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby butter-nuts » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 1:07 pm

Thanks mate, that's a huge help. I normally hike in trail runners, how do they fare in the snow? I have heard of people using waterproof socks + trail runners? or should I bight the bullet and buy some actual boots?
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby davidn3875 » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 1:43 pm

I agree with advice given.
My preference would be definitely for walking boots over trail shoes. I always wear gaiters in the snow. Don't forget gloves, I take a light / stretchy pair and a pair of windstopper gloves for when it gets nasty. Not essential,, but a neck warmer or Buff provides good comfort. Have fun.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby north-north-west » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 1:57 pm

I've seen plenty of people in walking shoes or trail runners on snow. Depends how comfortable you find boots, and how much you like (or not) cold, wet feet. I'm a boot person, but footwear is a very, very individual matter. For just one walk, it's probably not really worthwhile buying new footwear. Go with what you have and treat it as a learning experience.
Some people love the waterproof socks, I can't be bothered. Whatever you walk in, make sure you have a pair of thick, warm, dry woollen socks to wear at camp.

Hmmm, yeah, gloves. Good catch davidn3875. Sunglasses too.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby butter-nuts » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 3:02 pm

Awesome, thanks guys. You have definitely given me the confidence to go for it, cant wait!
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 3:50 pm

Baw baw and Gwinear roads are graded daily. Erica road is not and is mud,slush when under snow. 4km road under snow this season This road was chewed up two weeks ago when Baw Baw was closed to traffic and people still wanted access to the white stuff. Last significant falls a fortnight ago and warm temps since will mean mush. Slight falls forecast sat 1 sept go early to capitalise on frozen ground cover.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby Lamont » Fri 31 Aug, 2018 6:01 pm

That Aegis max quilt - I reckon you are asking for trouble, add the Aliexpress down jacket -not suitable at all for these temps. Way out of the range of comfort perhaps safety too. Mat is R 3.3. -6C -I doubt it. You need proper static thermal warmth, to below (maybe well) zero just in case.
That list is good to about 3-4 degrees, maybe, if you really know your limits and you have experience. That list is not suitable even for a night I don't reckon.
Take care boyo!
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby butter-nuts » Mon 03 Sep, 2018 9:20 am

Lamont wrote:That Aegis max quilt - I reckon you are asking for trouble, add the Aliexpress down jacket -not suitable at all for these temps. Way out of the range of comfort perhaps safety too. Mat is R 3.3. -6C -I doubt it. You need proper static thermal warmth, to below (maybe well) zero just in case.
That list is good to about 3-4 degrees, maybe, if you really know your limits and you have experience. That list is not suitable even for a night I don't reckon.
Take care boyo!


Whoops, looks like I changed my loadout (coming up with a summer packlist) overwriting my old one :| My winter quilt is a UGQ 10F (-12C). Mat is the R-4.4. I have used this to -2C pretty comfortably (sleeping in boxers only), colder than that and I would need to start sleeping in my clothes.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby Lamont » Mon 03 Sep, 2018 4:19 pm

Good on you boyo. I will be up there next month for a few days. Just something to think about- up above BB from Mt St Gwinear if you get near the second Baw Baw junction (down to Baw Baw village) it is about 1650 metres from memory and a bit open, do you have some good warm stuff for static warmth? All the best.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby dashandsaph » Mon 10 Sep, 2018 3:28 pm

Hi,
Considering a walk at the end of September from St Gwinear to Walhalla, anyone been up recently? I was considering whether snow shoes and microspikes would be useful or mission critical. Any thoughts appreciated.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby Lamont » Mon 10 Sep, 2018 4:13 pm

Me too, but going the other way. I'll be interested to know what's up.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby dashandsaph » Mon 01 Oct, 2018 1:54 pm

I gather that last weekend at Talbot Hut site (which is about the same altitude as the top of the ridge) had about 600mm of snow and snow extended down to Mushroom ROcks, though melting fast.
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby Lamont » Mon 01 Oct, 2018 5:51 pm

Ta for that, rolled my ankle. Not game to walk up. Have to put it off. Bugger!
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Re: Baw Baw Overnight - Advice Needed

Postby ralex » Thu 11 Oct, 2018 6:55 pm

I was figuring to do a similar walk (probably starting from the Mount St Gwinear carpark and heading towards Mount Whitelaw) as an overnighter sometime over the next week or two. I'm curious what sort of conditions I might expect? Broadly speaking that is (as I gather these sort of alpine environments are highly changeable?). I imagine there is still a bit of snow about, maybe not a lot?

I've got a good bit of hiking experience but all that has been as lower down affairs, so the reality of what conditions are like in these snowier mountains (or in this case what they are like in mid-spring) is not something I am familiar with. Super keen to do a few alpine hikes this year now that the weather is getting good, I did the daywalk from BawBaw to Mt St Gwinear a few autumns ago and it was very beautiful.
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