Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

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Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby stumbler » Sun 03 Sep, 2017 4:42 pm

I've had this idea in my head about doing the first few sections of Larapinta and hitching out of Standley Chasm back to Alice - maybe 7-8 days all up. Well finally everything's aligning to make it possible, but it's late in the season and looks like Alice is already warming up.

Is this plan totally bonkers in September? I could fly up as soon as a week from now, spend a day in Alice getting fuel and perishables (shops open on weekend?) and hit the trail first thing the next morning. I'm in no rush so 5-odd days to Standley then basing myself there for another night or two taking advantage of the facilities and hooking up a lift back to town seems ideal. I understand I'll be paying to camp at Standley, but being able to buy a fresh sanga and chat up workers/tourists for a ride back makes that well worth it I reckon. Also seems a decent spot for some light day trips to a quiet spot with a view or a waterhole.

Weather's a concern - if it's going to be past 30 much of the day that impacts comfort and safety, though I can do kangaroo hours to mitigate that some (see: in no rush). The other thing of course is a ride back - I get the impression there's enough traffic that I shouldn't have much trouble begging a lift given a couple of days there, but getting anxious as the clock ticks down to catch a flight back for work is no fun.

I'd consider doing it the other way, but having slack time at the Alice end doesn't seem as appealing. Going Alice->Standley means I can be a bit loose on the timing out and still enjoy the time I've got if I get there early.

I see a bunch of folks in here have been up there recently, anything I should know before pulling the trigger? Anything in the above sketch that sounds horribly misguided or begs to be switched around for more fun?
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby north-north-west » Sun 03 Sep, 2017 5:40 pm

Not going to comment on the weather as I've never been in the Centre later than mid August. But getting a ride anywhere on the Namatjira is usually very easy. And the closer in to the Alice you are, the more traffic there is. It took me maybe ten minutes to get a ride standing by the roadside at Glen Helen, and less than that at the Ormiston turnoff.
Alice is a reasonable sized town by country standards. Supermarkets with reasonable hours etc. They exist as much for the tourist trade as anything, so you won't have any difficulty getting supplies.

Go for it. As you say, you can walk during the early morning and evening hours. It's an easy track to follow and mostly fairly easy going so racking up the distance in the available time won't be difficult.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby Eremophila » Sun 03 Sep, 2017 8:24 pm

The weather has been unseasonably warm, my friend & I called it quits halfway through the walk in mid August when the forecast for the next 7 days was all over 30C, as well as me being very ill.
I see it has cooled down a little recently but September could be quite hot this year.
Supermarkets are open 7 days until late at night and Lone Dingo (outdoor store) is open 7 days.
Standley Chasm do evening meals now, everyone on the trail was raving about their steak and veggies, and they didn't disappoint.
The camping is $18.50 for the first day and then $10 thereafter if you stay on. Free wifi if you're missing the electronic world.
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby myrtlegirl » Sun 03 Sep, 2017 9:50 pm

In 2009 we walked Larapinta in Sept, expecting temps in the mid-high 20s. We got mid-high 30s - very bad when you left Tas in mid-teen temps. So we walked very, very early in the morning, often setting off at 4am (yep, up at 3), and it was fantastic! The animals are active then, the trail is easy to pick as there are reflective track markers and sparse vegetation, we got to camp early and lay under a gum tree until late afternoon, got the best campsites, didn't see others on the track, and best of all we got to various lookouts right on sunrise, MAGNIFICENT.

Hitching - in that area people seem to love giving lifts to walkers, and getting a lift east to Alice will be easy. I'm normally conservative about achieving hitching success but I'd say go for it.

Switvh-around: if you can, start toward the Sonder-Glen Helen (western end) and walk east to Standley, it's the more spectacular part of the track. (Though if hitching west, it's not quite so easy to find someone travelling your way and the distance you want.) There's also less cattle and hence less flies.....far out, those flies....wear a fly net. Ormiston Pound before dawn is my best memory.
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby stumbler » Mon 04 Sep, 2017 12:55 pm

Wow, thanks for all the info!

Sounds like hitching will be a breeze, so no stress there.

3am rise is a bit beyond my comfort level but my gear packs down fast and a pre-dawn start while the wildlife's active sounds *&%$#! great. The moon will be on my side too. I'll definitely need some warmer layers for those hours, but stopping after sunrise to adjust those and have 2nd breakfast with a warm cuppa and a view is damn near perfect.

Good to know about late-opening shops in Alice. I'll still be dependent on Dingo for a gas canister and parks office to hire a PLB (unless I manage to buy one first) so unlikely 1 night in town before heading out will cut it but it all helps - and who knows, I might meet someone in town that offers a lift out to a different starting point or some good local info.

Thanks for all the info and encouragement - I'll book leave and flights today. Expect a TR and some pics when I get back. Excited!!
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby Eremophila » Mon 04 Sep, 2017 1:17 pm

Pretty sure Parks NT don't hire PLB's. You'll need to source one privately.
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Re: Larapinta to Standley Chasm in September .. bonkers?

Postby stumbler » Mon 04 Sep, 2017 1:22 pm

Thanks - I've just been trying to find where that idea came from. Have contacted adventurerentals.com who rent them with locations here and in Alice, so hopefully they'll come through.
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