SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

SA, WA & NT specific bushwalking discussion.
Forum rules
SA, WA & NT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby beardless » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 5:43 pm

It is obviously way too hot right now for adventures in the Flinders but I am keen to one day climb Mt Aleck and also wondering whether a traverse of the Elder Range is possible.

The view of the range is magnificent and it looks like exciting walking.

I have read the blog post from jez_au about climbing Mt Aleck

http://jez-hiking.blogspot.com/2011/07/ ... s.html?m=1

I have also read the Wild article referred to in that blog.

I would be keen for any other info on the area.

1. Is it necessary to obtain permissions to access any of the area? If so who?
2. Has anyone else reached the summit of Mt Aleck particularly recently and what route is recommended?
3. Has anyone traversed the range? Is that even possible?

I would be interested in any advice.

I realise it would be srubby steep and water would need to be carried making it a weight heavy exercise.
User avatar
beardless
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 8:56 pm
Region: South Australia
Gender: Male

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby eggs » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 5:52 pm

Bad news. The actual peak is in Arkaba Station.
That has been transformed into a high-end echo tourism venture.
They restrict access to Mt Aleck to tours only, by which they mean a chopper ride followed by a short walk and then a descent off the range.
I think it is a 3 day venture at top dollar.
This is based on advice from the adjacent Mt Little Station and web searches.
The locals are doing it pretty tough up there at the moment.
The Heysen trail goes through Arkaba Station and I think access to that is still ok, but only out of the hot summer months.
User avatar
eggs
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 7893
Joined: Fri 23 May, 2008 2:58 pm
Location: Para Vista, South Australia
Region: South Australia

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby peregrinator » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 5:57 pm

1. Rawnsley Park Station. I spoke to a most unhelpful and unpleasant person. Gotta do it their way (and pay plenty dollar) or no way. Or . . .
2. Tried but failed. Seems like I possibly took Jeremy's difficult 2009 route.
3. Dunno.
peregrinator
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Fri 15 Apr, 2011 2:50 pm
Region: Victoria

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby beardless » Wed 23 Jan, 2019 10:14 pm

Thanks eggs and peregrinator.

So it looks like I might have to settle for walking alongside the range on the Heysen Trail and admiring the range from afar.

I have wondered before why it is not part of the National Park. With such a magnificent form it strikes me as being worthy of inclusion. Perhaps one day.

It would be great if the station welcomed self sufficient walkers on the range for a significantly lower fee. It is likely that the vast majority of such walkers would not be willing or able to pay top dollar.

eggs wrote:The locals are doing it pretty tough up there at the moment.

Is that due to the drought? Or something else?
User avatar
beardless
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 8:56 pm
Region: South Australia
Gender: Male

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby peregrinator » Thu 24 Jan, 2019 8:13 am

beardless wrote:Thanks eggs and peregrinator.

So it looks like I might have to settle for walking alongside the range on the Heysen Trail and admiring the range from afar.

I have wondered before why it is not part of the National Park. With such a magnificent form it strikes me as being worthy of inclusion. Perhaps one day.

It would be great if the station welcomed self sufficient walkers on the range for a significantly lower fee. It is likely that the vast majority of such walkers would not be willing or able to pay top dollar.

eggs wrote:The locals are doing it pretty tough up there at the moment.

Is that due to the drought? Or something else?


Plans for a nuclear waste dump have alarmed a lot of the locals:

https://www.acf.org.au/no_dump
peregrinator
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Fri 15 Apr, 2011 2:50 pm
Region: Victoria

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby eggs » Thu 24 Jan, 2019 2:21 pm

The drought was having a major effect on Mt Little Station
User avatar
eggs
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 7893
Joined: Fri 23 May, 2008 2:58 pm
Location: Para Vista, South Australia
Region: South Australia

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby oysters » Wed 30 Jan, 2019 4:12 pm

I did it back in 2001 when I was in Venturers, I think it was the May long weekend (back when SA had a May long weekend...I was very sad when we lost an LWE in peak bushwalking season!). We started walking Saturday morning from Wilpena Pound Chalet, following the Heysen Trail. We camped just off the trail at the base of the Elder Range. Then next morning climbed it...from memory we chose to go up a gully/scree slope about 1-2km north of the Mt Alec summit...the scree slope was most of the ascent into the range and at least a couple of hundred metres of climbing...lots of fun! On the top of the ridge, with our daypacks, we traversed south to the Summit. Then reversed it. Traversing the ridgeline was fine, I mean its hard work, scrambling, certainly not an easy off-track bit of walking, much like other off track walking in high parts of the Flinders. Other sections of the Elder Range Ridgeline I couldn't comment on, and of course your navigation needs to be spot on and careful so you don't walk yourself over a cliff edge...

Back then we had permission from the station to do it. But unfortunately yeah I've heard as well that things are tightened up. Same goes for walking "off-track" in Flinders Ranges NP... we used to do a lot of peak bagging trips off track around the pound, Heysen, ABC ranges, etc, Edeowie Circuits. But they don't want people to do that any more. I can understand making sure that people have appropriate skill sets, qualifications, etc (which I and others I walk with do) but often enquiries return a "no".

If you do manage to get permission for the Elder Range, definitely please post back here! I'd love to know, and know how! It really was a spectacular climb...Absolutely up there with anything I've climbed in Australia. We have better more spectacular climbs here than in Victoria... Mt Alec (and other great peaks like Mt Abrupt, Mt Falkland, Mt McKinley) top Feathertop, Bogong, Viking/Razor/Mt Howwit circuit for me by far...the Ruggedness of the climbs is superior, and the adjacent views are better. For non-snow climbs at least.
oysters
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue 01 Jul, 2014 11:40 am
Region: South Australia
Gender: Male

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby beardless » Wed 30 Jan, 2019 5:36 pm

Thank you Oysters for the account of your trip.

oysters wrote:... If you do manage to get permission for the Elder Range, definitely please post back here! I'd love to know, and know how! It really was a spectacular climb...Absolutely up there with anything I've climbed in Australia. We have better more spectacular climbs here than in Victoria... Mt Alec (and other great peaks like Mt Abrupt, Mt Falkland, Mt McKinley) top Feathertop, Bogong, Viking/Razor/Mt Howwit circuit for me by far...the Ruggedness of the climbs is superior, and the adjacent views are better. For non-snow climbs at least.


Nothing to report yet. Interesting comparison with the alpine peaks of Victoria. I am also yet to climb any of those peaks so I cannot comment. From the Elder Range I suspect there would be great views of the pound.
User avatar
beardless
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 8:56 pm
Region: South Australia
Gender: Male

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby mikethepike » Wed 06 Mar, 2019 11:23 am

beardless wrote:I would be keen for any other info on the area.

1. Is it necessary to obtain permissions to access any of the area? If so who?
2. Has anyone else reached the summit of Mt Aleck particularly recently and what route is recommended?
3. Has anyone traversed the range? Is that even possible?

I would be interested in any advice.

I realize it would be srubby steep and water would need to be carried making it a weight heavy exercise.


I can highly recommend the traverse of Elder Range beardless (I did it in Sept 2004 but with a beard!) and see no problems in you doing it. I started the walk from Mayo Hut at the south end of the range. The hut is on the Heysen Trail and has dirt road access so people of cars and motorbikes often stay there apparently. It's a great hut and I spent 2 nights alone at the hut waiting for rain to go away. I was walking out there from Hawker when the land owner (Peter McInness of Wonoka Station) gave me a ride. The hut is 3-4 km from the homestead and on the way in, you get a truly fantastic view of the range with the western side looking very steep from one point. The hut has water and that is likely to be the last water you'll see until after you get off the range.

I actually went there with the intention of following the Heysen Trail to Wilpena but decided on the spot to do the ringe-top traverse. I set off from the hut at 0950 (waiting the last shower to clear - my only waterproof was a plastic garbage bad purchased at Hawker) and camped at 1730 on a lovely flat bit of grassy ridgetop, with a 2 hour 20 min easy walk next morning to get to Mt Aleck summit. So the whole walk Mayo to Mt Aleck is about 10-11 hours but that was moving all the time with just a couple of short rests. For a fair bit of the time you're likely to find yourself walking on the western side of the range with a slab of steep rock separating you from the true ridgetop. While I expect that it's possible to stick to the actual ridgetop, its rock so thin and steep that. for a fair bit of the time, you'll probably have your hands on the ridgetop, not your feet! And it would take considerably longer I think. On Day 2, I was on the summit by 0920 and kept heading north along the ridge for 4 hours before dropping down west to head to the main road and get a ride (luckily I got one just in the half dark of evening) back to Hawker although my intention was to head back to Mayo Hut and water. (If you're heading to Wilpena then the next reliable water will be at Black Gap.) The night on the ridgetop was great because it was shrouded in low cloud with poor visibility along the range in the evening and early morning but with a misty view to the valley.

You are likely to find no water on the range because even after over 50 mm if rain in the previous days, the only water I found was a in 3 to 4 shallow pools, each no more than 10 mm deep and each with barely cup full of water. I took 2 litre of water which lasted the two days only because of the water I found and because of the cool weather. And that barely enough.

With regards the walk from the range to Wilpena, I would just walk to the Heysen Trail and then you'll have no trouble. Before Arkaba had new owners (as I understand it), the previous owners were advised by their lawyers that their best legal position was not to allow walkers on the property. That followed after a walker sued the property for personal injury damages and while he lost the case, it did cause a lot of trouble for the owners. Arkaba and neighbouring stations are not classified as 'Pastoral' properties and so the walking public does not have automatic right of access as it does on pastoral properties (but where you are expected to advise the owners or lease-owners of your intentions>).
User avatar
mikethepike
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue 11 Nov, 2008 4:31 pm

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby vagrom » Wed 06 Mar, 2019 3:21 pm

Grant Da Costa's 1998 book Car Touring and Bushwalking in the Southern Flinders Ranges may offer some assistance. He's a Victorian I think and the book may still be on a library shelf somewhere - see Trove.

I think he offered advice on getting a good deal of the way up to a lookout point, not perhaps the whole way. Spurred from the Heysen Trail? I don't know.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... SDF3YStV2s

Mt Woodroffe, SA's highest peak at 1440, up on the border with NT, is also inaccessible w/o permission and is only climbed in group paid arrangements with the indigenous land owners, approaching from the north.

The best of all in SA is the Gammon Ranges, done as a circuit and best described in John Chapman's Bushwalking in Australia, with a selection of the best from each state.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... 1850539400
Andiamo, on y va - let's go .
User avatar
vagrom
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu 25 Mar, 2010 10:27 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Friends of Cleland CP, yha.
Region: South Australia

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby peregrinator » Wed 06 Mar, 2019 3:53 pm

Re Grant, see his website at http://www.photowords.com.au/

He has written excellent notes on some fantastic walks. One detail he has never mentioned though is the important issue mikethepike mentioned about accessing pastoral or non-pastoral properties. You need to understand that and act accordingly.
peregrinator
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Fri 15 Apr, 2011 2:50 pm
Region: Victoria

Re: SA - Flinders NP - Elder Range - Mt Aleck

Postby beardless » Thu 28 Mar, 2019 5:35 pm

mikethepike wrote:
I can highly recommend the traverse of Elder Range beardless (I did it in Sept 2004 but with a beard!) and see no problems in you doing it. I started the walk from Mayo Hut at the south end of the range. The hut is on the Heysen Trail and has dirt road access so people of cars and motorbikes often stay there apparently. It's a great hut and I spent 2 nights alone at the hut waiting for rain to go away. I was walking out there from Hawker when the land owner (Peter McInness of Wonoka Station) gave me a ride. The hut is 3-4 km from the homestead and on the way in, you get a truly fantastic view of the range with the western side looking very steep from one point. The hut has water and that is likely to be the last water you'll see until after you get off the range.

I actually went there with the intention of following the Heysen Trail to Wilpena but decided on the spot to do the ringe-top traverse. I set off from the hut at 0950 (waiting the last shower to clear - my only waterproof was a plastic garbage bad purchased at Hawker) and camped at 1730 on a lovely flat bit of grassy ridgetop, with a 2 hour 20 min easy walk next morning to get to Mt Aleck summit. So the whole walk Mayo to Mt Aleck is about 10-11 hours but that was moving all the time with just a couple of short rests. For a fair bit of the time you're likely to find yourself walking on the western side of the range with a slab of steep rock separating you from the true ridgetop. While I expect that it's possible to stick to the actual ridgetop, its rock so thin and steep that. for a fair bit of the time, you'll probably have your hands on the ridgetop, not your feet! And it would take considerably longer I think. On Day 2, I was on the summit by 0920 and kept heading north along the ridge for 4 hours before dropping down west to head to the main road and get a ride (luckily I got one just in the half dark of evening) back to Hawker although my intention was to head back to Mayo Hut and water. (If you're heading to Wilpena then the next reliable water will be at Black Gap.) The night on the ridgetop was great because it was shrouded in low cloud with poor visibility along the range in the evening and early morning but with a misty view to the valley.

You are likely to find no water on the range because even after over 50 mm if rain in the previous days, the only water I found was a in 3 to 4 shallow pools, each no more than 10 mm deep and each with barely cup full of water. I took 2 litre of water which lasted the two days only because of the water I found and because of the cool weather. And that barely enough.

With regards the walk from the range to Wilpena, I would just walk to the Heysen Trail and then you'll have no trouble. Before Arkaba had new owners (as I understand it), the previous owners were advised by their lawyers that their best legal position was not to allow walkers on the property. That followed after a walker sued the property for personal injury damages and while he lost the case, it did cause a lot of trouble for the owners. Arkaba and neighbouring stations are not classified as 'Pastoral' properties and so the walking public does not have automatic right of access as it does on pastoral properties (but where you are expected to advise the owners or lease-owners of your intentions>).


Thank you mikethepike for all that information. It is great to hear it could be done in 2-3 days although I suspect you walk faster and further than most. I would also plan to carry more water than you. Also good to know about the ridge and permissions. Looks like things have changed since you walked it.
User avatar
beardless
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 8:56 pm
Region: South Australia
Gender: Male


Return to South Australia, Western Australia & Northern Territory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest