Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

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Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 31 Jan, 2017 12:23 pm

I just returned from Walking this route over 3 days and 2 nights.
Howman's gap/ Rocky Valley Creek/ Spion Kopje/ Mt Nelse West (1893 M)/ Mt Nelse South/ Fitzgerald's hut
Day 2. Fitzgerald 's Hut/Kelly Hut / Marum Pt. track/ AAWT via the aquaducts to Langford Gap hut , Wallace hut, Rover chalet, Cope hut, Cope Saddle hut and camping at Ryder's huts.
Day 3 Ryder's huts/ Cope Saddle hut/ Pretty Valley Hut/ Mt McKay summit hut/ Road 24 back to Howman's gap.
I pasted a typed notice about the FHAC DMP in every log book in every Hut Log book I could find.
I will do a major trip report on this 55 km trek soon.
The weather was good and there were a squillion flies!.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Wed 01 Feb, 2017 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 31 Jan, 2017 7:14 pm

I met my walking companion at Mt . Beauty and we went up to H.Gap in my car. A cycling event meant that the B.H.P. road up to Fall's Ck. was crawling with cyclists and so it was very slow going to get to H. Gap.
The weather was good but with a such a late start at about 10 am we were going to be sweating and fatigued by the time we wandered into Fitzgerald's hut at 1915 that day, day 1.
The Rocky Valley Ck. crossing was alright , about mid thigh height on me and I am 188 cms tall.
The track up to the Spion Kopje fire trail was an 80 degree hands and knees bush bash. There were many fallen logs and piles of overgrown scrub to deal with. We had to take the packs off to wriggle under and over the obstacle course. By the time we hit the SK fire trail we were wasted!.
We had not even started yet. We took an early lunch with Little SK in view. This fortified us for the push up to Mt. Nelse West, the third highest point in Vic. We picked up some water from the stream near the Spion Kopje aquaduct . It wasn't flowing too well so I used my pump up water filter and it came out better than bottled water.
The views of Mt. Bogong, The Grey Hills, Mt. Wills,The Fainters, Mt FT, Rocky Valley dam etc. were superb. It was a clear ,cloudless , sunny day and daylight savings meant we could stop for photos at scenic points such as at the Spion Kopje trig point, Mt. Nelse West , Mt. Nelse South etc.
By the time we reached the end of the pole line at Fitzgerald's hut we were rogered . I went and fetched water from the stream and used my last micron of energy to put up my tent and pump up my syn mat.
Dinner was cooked and consumed inside the hut and then I was off to bed by 10 pm.
I was up at day break on Sunday and packed up and ready to move quite early.
Navigation by compass and map was easy in the clear conditions. It was a pea souper fog up on the BHP back a few weeks ago earlier in Jan.'17 , so the weather was good this time but the flies were in plague proportions. If we did not have head nets then I myself at least would have committed samurai style hari kari with one of my trekking poles
for sure ;-P .
It was an easier day of walking with no steep scramble, no bush bash or river crossing or sustained ascent .
We checked out all the huts along the way.That included a quick detour to Kelly's hut before heading for the aquaducts via Marum point track The wild flowers along the aqua ducts were brilliant. The door on the hut at Langford gap has come right off its hinges. There is no log book there either. We ate lunch there on day 2.The door at Cope Saddle Hut is coming off its hinges. I filled in every hut log book and glued in a printed message that LOPS and I had worded about the FHAC DMP.
There were walking clubs camping in a group at both Fitzgerald's hut and at Ryder's huts respectively on the first and second nights.
Other than that we didn't see too many people once we were away from Wallace's hut.Perhaps a female mountain biker on the Marum point track or a lone hiker here or there on the AAWT segment of our selected route but it was not too busy , which was good.
So much for the current success of the present FHAC. We walked a bit of that route along the way and seldom saw a soul on what could be described as perfect summer walking weather.
We reached Ryder's huts at 1730 on Sunday, day 2 . It was nice to sit down.I got 4 Litres from the aquaduct on the way into camp so I was set for water. That made things easier.
I slept better on the second night having found a spare flat spot to put up my tent. The Bushwalking clubs at each of our night halt camp sites were all doing very short walk in trips and had found most of the good tent sites.
Day three was windy and warm and clouds were rolling in. It was a total fire ban , or so we heard from another walker so we boiled water for hot tea at breakfast time inside the hut.
There were more rabbits along the Cope West aquaduct track than I usually see on the BHP. Parks Vic. needs to deal with these feral pests.
We slogged it along the Cope Saddle track pole line , avoiding the stony road , taking in the vast treeless scenery and found that the track had a gash in it that meant management vehicles cannot use it . We had to do a mild scramble down and up and continued over the hill along the pole line to Pretty Valley hut.
A pit stop at Pretty Valley hut allowed us to regroup, have a snack , rest and psych up for the slog up to Mt. McKay summit hut where lunch was taken.
The views up there are magnificent!.
The last segment was the road slog down Rd. No. 24. There were some great views from the upper segments and some lovely waterfalls right next to the rocky road. It was not much fun for fatigued feet to walk on, esp. without any shade. The moody clouds , high winds and threatening weather passed and we were being baked again by the summer heat.
The views from the McKay Creek portal were fabulous but I had used up all my film in my camera so I will just have to remember that part of the day in my head.
By the time I saw my car at Howman's Gap, some 55 kms later , I was rogered and was more than pleased to have completed the circuit.On Reflection one could do the same route over 4 nights and have more time to chilax at 4 different campsites. That would mean camp one could be at Roper's Hut. Camp 2 Fitzgerald's hut. Camp 3 Cope Hut or . Camp 3/4 Ryder's huts.
I would be interested to try the foot track down or up Frying Pan spur . I saw it on the Map. It looks steep but could not be worse than the Road 24 slog. Without trekking poles I would have been sorely tested on that last stage down the mountain.
I think Fitzgerald's hut will be a great spot for a snow shoe trip and snow camping this white season.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Xplora » Wed 01 Feb, 2017 6:29 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I met my walking companion at Mt . Beauty and we went up to H.Gap in my car. A cycling event meant that the B.H.P. road up to Fall's Ck. was crawling with cyclists and so it was very slow going to get to H. Gap.

Had to go to a funeral at Tawonga that day so it was there and back battling the cyclists as well as all the other idiots on the road. Nearly had a head on with a 4wd which was completely in my lane while overtaking a cyclist. Just for future reference, on the next long weekend in March there is another cycle event where BHP road will be closed for most of the Sunday. It is also closed for the tour down under this week. At least Audax does not have the road closed but I am petitioning Vic Roads to make all cycle events on these narrow roads conform to a single file on open sections to make passing safer for all road users.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:This fortified us for the push up to Mt. Nelse West, the third highest point in Vic.

If you check you map you will find an unnamed point (1893m) just west of Warby corner on Spione Kopje is higher than Mt. Nelse and is the third highest peak if you do not count Bogong twice as Bonzle does. Perhaps we could get a name for this little point. Perhaps Mt. Wells.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:The wild flowers along the aqua ducts were brilliant.

That is interesting to note. I felt the High Plains missed out on the good flowers this year. Good to know there are some about.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Other than that we didn't see too many people once we were away from Wallace's hut.Perhaps a female mountain biker on the Marum point track or a lone hiker here or there on the AAWT segment of our selected route but it was not too busy , which was good.


Perhaps the weather forecast kept people away. Total fire bans etc. People often think about the weather on the flat and not the 10 degrees cooler on the mountain. I would keep that quiet. One of the locals here thought it got hotter on the mountain because you were closer to the sun. What can I say. Still good to walk without the mass of humanity.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:So much for the current success of the present FHAC. We walked a bit of that route along the way and seldom saw a soul on what could be described as perfect summer walking weather.

I suspect there is a great deal of confusion between people walking the area such as the groups you found and people walking the FHAC. I have been told there is considerable phone interest in the track but not sure if that relates to boots on the ground.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:There were more rabbits along the Cope West aquaduct track than I usually see on the BHP. Parks Vic. needs to deal with these feral pests.

There is little more that can be done with these. 1080 baiting with carrots or grain was used in the 50's but this method cannot be used now. Not the poison, just the method of use. The two virus are still having an effect and they become more effective as populations increase. Rabbits have not been in plague proportions for some time. You may feel you are seeing a great number but you should see a plague. Hares are another problem on the High Plains and are difficult to control. We have more hares than rabbits at home now and have lost count of the number shot in the last few years. We saw maybe one or two here 5 years ago.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I think Fitzgerald's hut will be a great spot for a snow shoe trip and snow camping this white season.


This hut is just as busy in the winter as in the summer but it is a nice spot. Long trip and good to spread the word about the FHAC. Pity much of the trip toward the end was on roads as they are not kind on the feet.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 01 Feb, 2017 8:28 am

Xplora sahib , that 1893 M. high point on the map is what I call "Mt. Nelse west". It is depicted and noted on the Rooftops map.I am aware that it is higher than any point on the official Mt. Nelse massif/ ridgeline. It is up hill ( puff puff) from Spion Kopje trig point.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 03 Feb, 2017 12:33 pm

Does the Rover chalet nut cracker rope ski tow still operate in white season? .It looks more serviceable than the Mt. Wills rope tow does.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby neilmny » Fri 03 Feb, 2017 2:55 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Does the Rover chalet nut cracker rope ski tow still operate in white season? .It looks more serviceable than the Mt. Wills rope tow does.


Nut cracker??????????
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 03 Feb, 2017 7:03 pm

The Nutcracker refers to the clip that attaches the rope to the skier not what the rope does to you if you sit on it astride with the moving rope between your legs ;-P.The clip is said to resemble an old nutcracker , which vaguely looks like a pair of pliers.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby neilmny » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 8:52 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:The Nutcracker refers to the clip that attaches the rope to the skier not what the rope does to you if you sit on it astride with the moving rope between your legs ;-P.The clip is said to resemble an old nutcracker , which vaguely looks like a pair of pliers.


Never seen one of those, the rope tows I've used are just that a rope that you stand beside not astride, grab hold of and get towed up the hill.
You might be thinking of a platten tow. You stand astride of that and I supposed if you were somewhat unco it could cause some discomfort..
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 10:15 am

I am not much of an expert on rope tows, but I know one when I see one and I have seen two this summer.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby neilmny » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 10:24 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I am not much of an expert on rope tows, but I know one when I see one and I have seen two this summer.


My reference was to the standing astride and nut cracker aspect. I have no doubt you saw a rope tow or two.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 6:02 pm

I don't think standing astride the rope tow is going to be a good idea. Such a posture could have built in family planning consequences ;-P, a bit like winter deep river crossings in the Oz Alps do.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby neilmny » Sat 04 Feb, 2017 7:19 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I don't think standing astride the rope tow is going to be a good idea. Such a posture could have built in family planning consequences ;-P, a bit like winter deep river crossings in the Oz Alps do.


:lol: :lol:
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Fri 07 Apr, 2017 9:34 pm

I'm planning on doing a similar circuit at Easter, but over 4 days and also taking in Jaithmathang and The Fainters. I'm just hoping the creek won't be too tricky to cross at the beginning. Looking forward to finally getting to those peaks that have been on my to-do list for ages. Not looking forward to the descent back to the car at the end.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 07 Apr, 2017 10:06 pm

Rocky Valley creek at Howman's Gap should be OK to cross unless it rains a lot the day before.Take walking poles and wet suit fabric slippers with the rubber soles. The water level was at upper thigh deep level when we crossed it in late January 2017 .
The track up the other side to the Spion Kopje Fire trail is about 1 km of commando style jungle gym scrambling and bush bashing up an 80 Degree slope. One often had to take the pack off and crawl on one's belly under huge fallen logs to get anywhere. It was very slow going and very taxing.
One might consider crossing Rocky Valley creek at Bogong Village instead and using your energy just slogging it up the Spion Kopje fire trail if the jungle Gym is not your thing.
The descent from the Fainters to Bogong Jack's saddle is not too bad. Camping at Bogong Jack's saddle is superb. There is water just past the gates on the way down. There are
other trickling springs en route that you can use a pump up water filter to fill a drinking container.
The gradient and 4 WD surface for walking on the route back to Bogong Village is better than that of road 24 from Mt. McKay to Howman's Gap.Road 24 seems to go on forever and the surface hurt my aching feet.
Both routes off the BHP are reasonably sheltered in terms of trees to break the wind and hail in bad weather.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Sat 08 Apr, 2017 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 08 Apr, 2017 3:12 pm

https://www.meetup.com/BWAG-Bushwalking ... /27629652/

Here are some photos from the Jan. 2017 trip.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Sat 08 Apr, 2017 3:39 pm

The track up the other side to the Spion Kopje Fire trail is about 1 km of commando style jungle gym scrambling and bush bashing up an 80 % slope. One often had to take the pack off and crawl on one's belly under huge fallen logs to get anywhere. It was very slow going and very taxing.


Yeah, that doesn't sound very fun. Starting at Bogong Village does add quite a few km but maybe it's worth it. However it does mean we don't cross Rocky Valley Creek until we're quite a few km in to the walk, so if the crossing is problematic it would be a pain in the *&%$#!. My reason for doing the circuit clockwise was to get the crossing done first thing. Lots of rain in the next couple of days but should be fine by next Friday I reckon.

Day 1 - Bogong Village to Johnston or Edmondson Hut via Spion Kopje. About 19km. A decent day with the climbing. I haven't been to either of those huts - recommendations?
Day 2 - Johnston/Edmondson Hut to Tawonga Huts. About 21.5km.
Day 3 - Tawonga Huts to Bogong Jack. 10km plus 4km return to Jaithmathang summit and Fainters summits.
Day 4 - Bogong Jack to Bogong Village. About 12km.

Looks good.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 2:09 pm

Always do any river crossing on day one I think. If it is unsafe or flowing too quickly then go to plan B.Make sure you have a Plan B.
Bogong Village to Roper's or Edmondson's hut will be plenty for day one.Start walking at 7.30 am . You are dead right about the kilometres of endless ascent until you reach Warby corner on the AAWT.
Make sure you stop at the no name 3rd highest peak in VIC. which is just before Warby corner.
Johnston's hut is in a nice spot but you can't really use the hut unless you book , pay and have the key. There is a small emergency shelter section there that fits two people .Roper's hut is the nicest along that way .
Fitzgerald's hut is good too.
Edmonson's hut to Tawonga huts will be a L O N G day which may not be possible now that the days a shorter. You'd have to be packed up and walking by 7 am to make it with daylight to spare to set up camp.
The Pole lines are easy to follow but in bad weather you will be very exposed on days 1 and 2.
Tawonga Huts to Bogong Jack Saddle is easier and not as far nor does it involves too much uphill stuff.If the weather is good then take the cross country route from Mt You ate my tongue summit to Salt Camp Creek. Then follow the fire trail to B.Jack's saddle. Be sure to stop at the scenic summits of Mt. Fainter North and Mt. Fainter South which are off the fire trail.
Day 4 is an easy descent along a 4 WD track.
Take hiking poles and save your knees!.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 4:44 pm

Roper's is lovely. But slightly more out of the way than the others.
I don't think day 2 looks that big. It's pretty easy walking for the most part, unless weather is nasty. But if it is too far there are options to camp earlier than Tawonga.
Anyway, we need a decent walk - probably the last chance before some much harder walks in Peru in June!
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Mon 10 Apr, 2017 1:54 pm

Roper's is lovely. But slightly more out of the way than the others.


Actually, I just checked the map - Roper's is much more out of the way. 3km from Warby Corner. I think I'll go for Johnston.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 11 Apr, 2017 10:59 pm

I would pick Edmondson's hut If I were you. Johnston's hut is fair way down hill and the hut 's public section is quite small and cramped.
Edmondson's hut is good for snow camping trips too albeit not very warm at all for sitting around. The fireplace at Ed. hut is not very efficient at radiating heat.
If you get a chance cut some dead snow gum boughs for winter and restock the wood shed while you are there.
In fact in winter you can dig your tent site into the snow so that you can manufacture a flatter tent site.
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Wed 12 Apr, 2017 9:22 am

If you get a chance cut some dead snow gum boughs for winter and restock the wood shed while you are there.


Not sure that I'll have much energy left for wood chopping but I'll see how I feel!
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby Drew » Mon 24 Apr, 2017 10:11 am

We ended up doing this walk pretty much as planned. A few notes below:

Day 1 - Bogong Village to Edmondson Hut via Spion Kopje. About 19km. This was a big day. About 1200m climbing. We started about 9:45 from the Bogong Village tennis courts. The walking on the fire trail was fairly boring but as far as road bashing goes it was okay (plenty of nice views). Lunch atop Little Spion Kopje. Beautiful walking across the high plains in the late afternoon light. We got to Edmondson's about 5pm. We had it to ourselves which was a good thing as there is very little flat ground there! Gorgeous spot though. Cold night - according to the hut thermometer it was -4 outside at 7am (maybe not the most accurate thermometer?).
Day 2 - Edmondson Hut to Tawonga Huts. About 21.5km. Another big day but easy walking in good conditions. If not for the very tough first day this would have been easy, but with tired legs it was a bit tough towards the end. Left Edmondson's around 8:30 or 9. Lunch near Cope Hut. Arrived at a very busy Tawonga Huts about 4:30pm. Thankful for our campsite neighbour's lovely campfire as the night was cold. The tent was icy at about 1am but then some cloud and wind came along and stopped things getting any colder.
Day 3 - Tawonga Huts to Spring Creek Saddle. About 15km plus 4km return to Jaithmathang summit. We did Jaithmathang up and back in the morning. Cold and grey up there but a beautiful spot. Then went along the fire track to the Fainters (next time I'd go off-track from Jaithmathang summit). After Little Plain this was gorgeous walking. Made it up Fainter South but not North (my partner was feeling a bit too chilly to do both). We reached Bogong Jack a bit early so decided to push on to Spring Creek Saddle, collecting water on the road between Bogong Jack and Spring Creek Saddle. Not an especially nice campsite but lots of blackberries to pick! A pretty easy day of lovely walking.
Day 4 - Spring Creek Saddle to Bogong Village. About 7km. Boring but easy walking, all downhill. Back at the car by 11 (late departure after lots of blackberry picking).

A lovely walk apart from the fairly long sections of road walking at start and finish. The first day was a bit long, mostly because it left us a bit knackered for the rest of the walk, however there weren't really any good options for camping earlier (well, not sheltered campsites anyway).
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Re: Howman's Gap B.H.P. circuit. Jan.28,29,30th.2017

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 24 Apr, 2017 1:05 pm

Well done and thanks for the report.
Did you stop at the unnamed peak just before Warby saddle? It is 1893 M. ASL and the third highest point in the state.

Ed. hut is better in snow season when you can use a snow shovel to dig a flat platform for your tent.
Bogong Jack Saddle is one of the best high country campsites, so it is a shame you didn't set up camp there and just chilax.
The camp site just up the hill from where you cross Salt Camp Creek on the way to Mt. Fainter is also an excellent bush camp in the snow gums with killer views.
Yes you should walk cross country with the top of Mt. You Ate my Tongue.
The Fire trail along that section is dull.
You should have walked up to the other summit of Mt. Fainter, esp. if it is/was clear. The view from there is different to the other summit.
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