Walkon on the AAWT

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Tue 11 Aug, 2015 8:26 am

wilray:
If you haven't already done so, get the Chapman/Siseman AAWT guide book. Also check their website for updates. It doesn't cover absolutely everything but it is fairly comprehensive, especially with water sources. There is already a recent thread in the Vic sub-forum about water sources between Hotham and Speculation, which is the most awkward section in that respect.
The maps in the book aren't bad, but I would suggest more extensive paper maps, even if it's just the relevant Rooftop sections.

The biggest issue with the AAWT is the maintenance schedule. There will always be at least one piece that is badly overgrown and in need of recutting (and sometimes re-marking, although that is much more reliable these days). One end or another of the Baw Baw, for instance, is always a bit overgrown. Last I heard the Mt Easton section was badly marked and very unclear, although that may have changed by the summer. Champion Spur has a lot of sometimes confusing vehicle tracks, so be careful there.
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby wilray » Tue 11 Aug, 2015 8:55 am

In answer to more info, Draft for walk so far is :- Walhalla, O'Shea's Mill, Rock Shelter, Stronachs Camp, Blue Jacket, Fiddlers Green, black River, rumpff Saddle, Low Saddle, High Cone Camp, King billy 2, McCallister Springs, Mt Speculation, Viking Saddle, Barry Saddle, Selwyn south, Murrays Hut site, finishing for me at Mt Hotham, but others doing the whole walk, but I have done most of the rest except a couple of small sections, but due to time away this is all I can fit in this time. I am carrying Hilleberg Soulo tent, wba one planet 55ltr pack, my own dehydrated food, Minimo jetboil stove, gps, compass, maps, epirb, etc. Our main concern is finding water, points and even though we have checked track updates am interested in any recent updates from those that have recently walked the track. It seems some people get bushed in certain sections so any tips on finding tracks etc would be helpful. Also any suggestions on rest days; I am not a young walker, I am 58yo female so don't want to be pushing too hard. Certainly not hard core compared to some on this thread. any suggestions or info appreciated, :) :) thanks willy
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 11 Aug, 2015 4:55 pm

Wilray, the above itinerary looks about right. I'd like to see this in a table with headings:
day - date - day of week (optional but gives a good reference) - description of the day - distance - time - comments
This form forces you to think hard about the trip, esepcially the time. Go through a series of what ifs, especially relating to bad weather, injury, delay or no water at a campsite.

From Mt StBernad it's a road bash to Hotham. Do you have to go there, or do you just want to finish on the summit? Did you know that there is a bus to Bright, then another to Wangaratta? One nice place for a rest day is at Speculation. Good campsite, good water, recovery before the Barries. There's a nice pub at Bright that's a good place to rest.

I've posted details of the Barry Mountains water at
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=20863
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Tue 11 Aug, 2015 6:08 pm

Lophophaps wrote:From Mt StBernad it's a road bash to Hotham.

Doesn't have to be. You can cut off a lot of the road by following various old tracks, pads and power line cuttings.
Rene's, Little Baldy, CRB Hill, Blowhard and the old route up Hotham from that direction are all easy enough going in clear weather, even if you don't know the country. Just means you're cutting across the road a few times.
Last edited by north-north-west on Tue 11 Aug, 2015 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby wilray » Tue 11 Aug, 2015 6:45 pm

We have put it all onto a chart with distances, climbs, decents, etc our biggest day seems to be stronachs camp to blue jacket, 9 hrs walking time and also low saddle to high cone camp 8.5 hours walking time without breaks. thanks for the water info in the Barry's we will check your co-ordinates with the ones we already have.
thanks for your input, just still working out our food and water drops and our rest days. Yes we have camped at speculation before and yes its a great place to rest.
thanks willy
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 12 Aug, 2015 10:23 pm

north-north-west wrote:Doesn't have to be. You can cut off a lot of the road by following various old tracks, pads and power line cuttings.
Rene's, Little Baldy, CRB Hill, Blowhard and the old route up Hotham from that direction are all easy enough going in clear weather, even if you don't know the country. Just means you're cutting across the road a few times.


Ah yes, had not occurred to me. I've seen the old road, generally on the southern fall, should be okay. It's still a little tedious. As far as I know there's no water between The Twins and Hotham Heights.
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby walkon » Mon 17 Aug, 2015 11:46 am

wilray wrote:Congratulations, and well done. I Am hoping to do the Walhalla to Mt Hotham section in the first week of Novermber, I am really battling over which sleeping bag to take, any suggestions from you as to what temp you suggest to carry for this time of the year. Also, what did you carry that you felt you didn't need. :?: thanks



Hi Willy

I must have forgot to post the gear review and will do that when I find it.
In regards to the sleeping bag I would take a bag that keeps YOU warm at -4 degrees not what the label says. I don't subscribe to the notion of having to layer up to get a bag down to a realistic temp. If it gets any colder than that or you are fatigued then add more. Nothing gets me down more than being cold at night and not sleeping, being tired doesn't make for good decision making either.
NNW is right about being prepared for the weather. Friends who did the walk in summer over a number of years had it snow two out of three. Some people are unfortunate enough to get good weather all the way though these are few and far between.
Most people that I lead on walks take too many clothes. I walk in shorts, a long sleeve thermal top and gaiters, shells if I get a bit cold, very rarely I add a fleece to that mix. Clothing on the walk for me consisted of the following and I wouldn't have added any more as this was adequate for me;
Shell top + bottom, good quality goretex
lite puffy, handy though not necessary for me
1 fleece 100 weight (hooded would have been better)
2 thermal long sleeve tops
1 thermal bottom
3 socks (1 is a liner)
2 jocks
gaiters
1 pair of shorts, left the legs at home
buff
beanie
gloves
over mits
climbing belt: no eyelets just pull it tighter

Cheers Terry
Cheers Walkon

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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby wilray » Mon 17 Aug, 2015 4:18 pm

thanks Terry, that helps a little, with not taking too many clothes, I generally only walk in shorts, and gaiters when needed, and put on poly thermal to cover legs if really cold. I just wasn't sure whether to put in down jacket as well as a fleece or instead of, or just take a fleece and leave down jacket at home, I would only use down jacket at night if really cold, and it weighs 500g. ??? I will look forward to your gear review list, thanks again,
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby walkon » Tue 18 Aug, 2015 10:47 am

Here's the gear review of what I took on the AAWT, not much that I would change really.

Pack:
Aarn Featherlite freedom. Big tick, had one minor repair near the end. I really rate this pack, a lot tougher unit than I originally thought.
Tent:
Hille Anjan 2 wanted a tough roomy tent that could stand up to big weather and not too heavy. Certainly got one with this hille. Had it up in 85kph winds with no issues at all. So I set the tent up in different positions to the wind to see how it coped, no worries it was perfect. Stayed dry inside despite some big weather. Later on the track when the winds got really rough I was fully confident in the tent and it handled it well.
Sleeping bag replaced first:
1. S2s trek2 poor. Bag got cold and had to shake it up as feathers kept clumping and the bag was dry. Getting it washed to see if it improves though anything would be better.
2. Rab endurance, *&%$#! furness. Only had the zip done up a few times & cinched up @-4 C. Very happy when I got this. weighed about the same as the previous one though took more room in the pack. Lots more comfort, is warm am happy :)
Mat: Thermarest Neoair all season good as always
Pillow: S2S ultralight pillow large, was fanastic though next time I will buy the normal size as it doesn't fit into the sleeping bag's hood as well as the normal sized one does.

Clothes, this really surprised me as I have a lot of brands though when I went through my stuff it was mostly Kathmandu apparel I took. Their thermals are better at preventing bug bites than my icebreakers. The other stuff was basically sorted as to what had performed better the past and clothes weighed if there was a choice. Nothing was new except my Berghous Shell Top.

Thermal Tops x2 long sleeve, kathmandu ultracore good, warm, dry quick, wash easily don't smell walked in one of them every day very durable
Thermal leggings x1 kath again ultracore same as above only used at the end of the day and bed mostly.
Katmandu zipoff shorts x1: left the legs at home. Bought these in a rush a year ago after badly ripping another pair and haven't looked back, though good they're sadly worn out now. They have a few design issues that could be better though very good wearing. Have since replaced with another brand though.
Jocks x2: ex officio, great to wear, easy to wash, dry quick, good in the smell dept. Unfortunately start to fall off if you lose to much weight. re all my pants dept
Fleece Top: kath 100 weight. all good wicked well though should have brought one with a hood, so much warmer around the neck/head
Puffy: Marmot lighter one, ok don't know whether I really needed it but it was nice to have. Would I take it again.. mmm heads or tails
Shell pants, goretex marmot really good, mostly used at the end of the day over my thermal. Excellent in big weather, breathe very well.
Shell top: Berghaus enough said on this, elbow fatigued in the wind tearing open and their ripstop isn't tear proof. Finished with more tape on it to hold it together than my leg used. Not to happy with customer service either of Mountain Designs/Berghaus. Sorry guys I now understand that it was my fault that I didn't bring the shell in when it started to have issues on the track and a phone call letting you know this at the time wasn't good enough. Don't worry it wont happen again though.
Wool Beanie + Buff don't leave home without them.
Brim hat: old snowgum one, same as above
Belt: Rock Empire, I took a climbing belt and it was really good. Thread it through pull it tight, strong and never runs out of adjustment
Socks x2 + liner pair, all wool socks. Icebreaker fell apart early so ended up with all kathmandu (alpine, snow, liner) socks. Tough as though had to call the hazmat team by the end for one pair. Thicker sock can't wash smell free on the track , though which do? All were well worn before the trip and are still good.

Boots: replaced first
Scarpa Nangpa La. Feel comfy but leak badly, these were warranty replacements which had the same issues as first pair very early in the walk then the sole started splitting and I nursed them till I got replacements
Scarpa Kinesis Tech Gtx. Big boots but I really rate these. So comfy, good to walk in and protect your feet. Due to more support its harder to walk quickly (7.5kph) but still move really well. Feet were better for being in these wish I had of started walk in them.
Thongs footwear, like having a night shoe that doesn't rub anywhere your boots do, though when the weather cooled down you don't need to change out of your boots as your feet don't swell.
S2S Quagmire gaiters: Good I finally wore through the straps, well just about hanging on by literally a thread
Gloves:
OR windstopper: good
OR overmitts: didn't start with them which was a stuff up, fixed that as soon as I could. Needed them on the main range but glad I had them across Bogong, Bogong Plains and Baw Baw. OR produces quality gear, these mitts are made for big weather and didn't disappoint.

Jetboil. Good for my needs, worked well.
S2S bowl with lid: Good for rehydrating meals reasonably insulated and tough
S2S titanium Spoon: its a spoon. I have now shortened it to fit inside my bowl after a few heart palpitations thinking I had lost it somewhere.

Walking Poles: Black Diamond Ultra distance I think. Really light and strong, helped heaps and wouldn't do a big walk without them. Good for belting off attacking snake!
Water Bladder: Source 3ltr. After someone fell on & squashing it the bladder leaked. I had 2 empty 1.5ltr Mt Franklin bottles as back up/extra water when needed, which were great though I added an extra bottle at thredbo. Cheap and very light replaced one at Hotham and good to the end.

Gps: garmin Oregon whatever, didn't use it much at all though I like it. Prefer to use other orienteering methods
Headtorch: BD gismo I think its called, I like it and would buy the same again.
Batteries: Lithium only, and took spares. Energiser lithium were good as were coles home brand lithium ones. Since used Safeways/Woollies Chevron brand and wont again as they don't last compared to the others.
Powerbank: yeah I used one for my phone and Kindle, forgotton the brand though it was 11500 mA worked well and was ample for my needs. Can get details if you want them.
Kindle: Charged twice for the whole trip couldn't believe it. How good is that!

Other odds bods
Flint: I have one which has the plastic ends bright orange, easier to find in the dark if one end falls to the ground
Compass Silva: it points north
Whistle: I didn't even blow it for fun
Plb: likewise
First Aid Kit: whilst mine did a fine job for me, after doing a Wilderness First Aid course I have realised just how inadequate it was if anything really bad happened at all. Can supply a list of what I took if required.
Spare laces and 4 mtr paracord: highly recommend
Sewing kit: ditto, used a few times on all sorts of stuff. Use upholstery cotton as it is stronger and make sure that you have a needle as well for dental floss to repair something more major. plus the odd spare button to suit your gear if you want
Pocket knife x2: I always have a small pocket knife in my shorts pocket (with flint, lace and 2 m paracord) no matter what. Also have a baby utility knife in the pack. Nearly sent the utility one home though was glad I didn't long before the end.
Towel: a little buggar hiking one, wouldn't carry one any bigger. I think it was 1.5 feet by 1 foot. Had a little loop on it to hang outside the pack to dry which was good.
Maps, I got all anal and cross reference Chapmans book with the topo maps in red texta on both. This was really handy, so you didn't have to get the other out for suggested tent sites, water and things like page nos or which map you was on were written on the other reference material. Recommend this in case you lose one copy as well

I think that's all if you are still awake after all that. :))
Cheers Terry
Cheers Walkon

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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby wilray » Tue 18 Aug, 2015 12:59 pm

Hi Terry, WOW, THANKS FOR ALL THAT INFO, ITS GREAT TO GET THIS STUFF FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS, from experience, thanks so much, I will share this with my girlfriend who is doing the whole section. thanks Willy
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 18 Aug, 2015 4:19 pm

Wilray, it seems that your walk will be about 15 days. If so, and you are comfortable carrying 7-8 days of food, then one place for a food drop is as follows. About three kilometres west of Magdala the foot track meets the 4WD track. This is about halfway, and well placed to load up with food for a rest day at Mac Springs or Spec. There are any number of other places where food can be parked. If at all possible, put the food drops on top of the bumps, not in the valleys like I did. Fuel and water should be separate to the food. Make sure the fuel lids can be opened without pliers. When stashing food dumps take notes and photographs and have at least two party members present. We had problems when the one party member who put in a food drop had to leave the trip, and we scrabbled for an hour or more digging up rusting tins and human wastes. Fun.
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby peregrinator » Wed 19 Aug, 2015 2:44 pm

walkon wrote:
First Aid Kit: whilst mine did a fine job for me, after doing a Wilderness First Aid course I have realised just how inadequate it was if anything really bad happened at all. Can supply a list of what I took if required.

I think that's all if you are still awake after all that. :))
Cheers Terry


Yes, and wide awake reading the entire report on the walk. A very good read, thank you.

I've added a query which I'm hoping you can respond to on an older thread in the Equipment section on what first aid items people carry.
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Re: Walkon on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 7:41 pm

Well done. You rock !.
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