Ambiguous guidebook update

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Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Sat 10 Sep, 2016 10:01 pm

Page 88 - Viking Saddle, from early summer, carry water to camp here as the local water
supplies are usually then dry.


This is the update from the website but when i look at the book, on page 88 i find that i need to know that i should bring water before this. Where should i bring water from. Where should i note this in my guidebook. Should it be at page 85 at Catherine Saddle in order to have water for Viking Saddle?
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby damoprz » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 1:14 pm

You would probably want to fill up at Camp Creek below Mt Spec.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby north-north-west » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 4:05 pm

damo is right. It can be hard to find water from Catherine Saddle. There are soaks up on the Viking but they take a bit of work to locate, and it's really not worth climbing up that far for water when you're camping on the Saddle. (Although there is some brilliant camping up top, provided the conditions are OK.)
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 4:15 pm

Thanks. How far is camp creek before vic saddle if you happen to know it.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby north-north-west » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 4:28 pm

It's off the AAWT, just down the road from the walking track to Speculation.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby damoprz » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 4:29 pm

About 10km, but it is not the easiest terrain.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Sun 11 Sep, 2016 11:20 pm

Thanks.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 12 Sep, 2016 8:23 am

Depending on how you go, there are several options. Spec has a small campsite on the summit, but that's best for going towards Howitt. If going that way, pick up water maybe 30 minutes down the track, and climb Spec. Going northish, the shoulder of Spec has good campsites much closer to water. This is where I'd camp for north-bound. The bushes give some shelter, and there's a nice very sheltered spot just off the track on the left down a few minutes. I think the track to the creek is near here.

From the shoulder, the next day go down to the road, pick up water and it's about an hour downhill to Catherine Saddle, then several hours of up and down to Viking Saddle. The section between Catherine and Viking Saddles has several campsites, all dry, some not marked on the map or track notes. For example, Despair is flat and open on the summit. The Viking Summit area has good campsites, some exposed. There may be water on Viking, can be hard to find.

As water at Viking Saddle may be in doubt, if camping there it's necessary to carry water from Camp Creek on Spec to Viking Saddle and then for maybe six hours the next day to Barry Saddle, which has a tank. It would be a long day but possible to go from Catherine Saddle to Barry Saddle. Another option is to get water at Camp Creek and go to the last campsite near Razor, 178.8 in Chapman. This leaves 11 kilometres the next day, over Viking to Barry Saddle. This would mean a heavy load from Camp Creek, and a slog up 250 metres up over Despair, not too far.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby bernieq » Mon 26 Sep, 2016 10:38 pm

Lophophaps wrote: It would be a long day but possible to go from Catherine Saddle to Barry Saddle.

If you've walked this section before, it might be possible to do this in a very long day. However, if you're new to it, this can be a challenging navigation exercise and becoming lost is a real possibility - particularly coming off the Viking and down into Barry Saddle - quite a few have followed false leads away and down into the Riley Creek basin - hard work getting out of there - and all this when your pushing to get to camp and water on a very long day.

BTW, just for the record - there is no water at Catherine Saddle. You might find some a long way down (and off track) but, then again, in Summer you might not.

My advice is to get 1st hand information close to your walk and watch the forecasts for the area closely. If reports are not favourable, carry enough water for 2 days (I know, not so easy) and camp in Viking Saddle.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 4:50 am

I don't think i could possibly carry enough water for two days. I will have plenty else to carry as it is. And 8 kilos of water on top of that, i just think not possible.

I think the notes are pretty clear that there is no water at catherine saddle. I don' t think i was confused about that if i remember correctly.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 6:29 am

bernieq wrote:BTW, just for the record - there is no water at Catherine Saddle. You might find some a long way down (and off track) but, then again, in Summer you might not.

Is there not a creek 500 metres or so down the road to the south?

bernieq wrote:My advice is to get 1st hand information close to your walk and watch the forecasts for the area closely. If reports are not favourable, carry enough water for 2 days (I know, not so easy) and camp in Viking Saddle.


Carrying water for two days is painful. There really needs to be a tank at Viking Saddle. Another option. Pick up a lot of water at either Camp Creek or below Catherine Saddle. Easy gentle downhill from Camp Creek to Catherine Saddle, possible soaks on the road. It's an uphill slog to Despair, then gently downhill to a series of bumps on Razor. Hard but not too hard. From an early start at Spec when it's cool it should be possible to reach Viking Saddle by 1 pm. Continue on to a dry camp on Viking. There's water near the summit, may be impossible to find and you cannot rely on it in a dry summer. The next day it's 3-4 hours to Barry Saddle and the tank.

This makes the water carry from Spec 1.5 days. If walking in the cooler morning and ending the day at Viking by about 3 pm, some of the heat of the day will be avoided. With water a long way down at Viking Saddle, this section is quite hard. Given current funding, the chance of a new tank at Viking Saddle and a replacement tank at Barry Saddle are remote.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Mark F » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 10:47 am

Don't overly concern yourself about it just yet. We are having a very wet winter and spring so soaks and springs are likely to be well recharged. It is also unlikely that you will be sticking exactly to your planned camp sites due to weather and other unforseen circumstances. Remember that Catherine Saddle to Barry Saddle is about 12km at 1km/hr or 12 hours so could be done in a long summer day with say 3 to 4 litres to start. Chapman marks generally reliable water about 500m SE of Catherine Saddle. So two options.

1. Camp in Catherine Saddle and get going at sunrise. Plan for a long day through to Barry Saddle. I expect to do this in reverse on my N-S walk in Nov-Dec.
2. If you get to Catherine Saddle early carry 5 or 6 litres and camp at either the spot marked at km 178.8 or Viking Saddle.

If camping beyond Catherine Saddle drink copiously at Catherine Saddle. Ensure your food does not require you to pour off excess liquid, eg pasta, don't wash up after dinner or drink the washing up water.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 1:23 pm

That sounds like good advice Mark. I don't mind having to drink the spaghetti water if the situation is dire either. I am a spaghetti addict. Much better for me than rice. On the other hand it could be porridge for dinner.Well see anyway.

I do'nt do dehydrated food.
Do you think wine bladders are good enough for this hike? I actually want to buy an ortlieb bag but may not find one so plan to use wine or water bladders, taking 4 in case of breakages. Is that a reasonable plan? In Lieu of an ortlieb are there any other reliable brands of water bag you'd recommend. by reliable i mean well made to last a long time and not outrageously expensive.

Any water digging tips?
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 1:50 pm

Stroller, wine casks are fine. See BWA February 2015, link top right in back copies, cover of two people and a sunset. There's an article about a DIY wine cask. I'd carry two wine casks in the nylon envelopes and a spare one in two plastic bags, which makes the cask hard to puncture when in the pack. The chance of all three rupturing are slim. You could put spares in the food drops at 100-150 kilometre intervals. I would never use wine casks without an envelope - too easy to puncture.

I've never had to dig for water. I've excavated shallow creeks. If digging, start at the outside edge of a bend in the dry creek. Look for rocks that might hold the water; moist soil is a good indication. It's best to not need to dig, a last resort in my view.

The Barries are perhaps the most challenging from a water aspect. There's other parts that are inconvenient, but the Barries are tanks for several days.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Mark F » Tue 27 Sep, 2016 5:54 pm

For water I use collapsible, very light 1 and 2 litre containers like those made by Platypus, Source etc. I find they last a couple of years of abuse. Light and fold up when not in use. PET water bottles you buy in supermarkets with mineral water are also are very light and last remarkably well even when squished. Both will easily last the duration of the AAWT. If I put water into a drop, eg Rumpff Saddle, I buy cheap bottled water to ensure there is no growth of stuff while it is awaiting collection. If you do this keep one or two of the empty bottles for the Barries. Ortleibs are pretty bomber but cost and weigh a lot. I reserve wine bladders for times I may need a lot of extra capacity for a day or so such as this situation. Just emptying one now for the trip :D but do make sure the tap is easily removable for filling.

I normally carry a 1 and a 2 litre container as an overnight camp uses about 2-2.5 litres leaving a bit to move on with in the morning. During the day I usually just carry the 1 litre filled unless it is very hot or the distance to the next available water is more than 1/2 a day.

As for digging for water, only ever resorted to it in a sandy river bed, If you come across a clay bank weeping water (quite likely) then there are a couple of techniques that can make accessing that water easier.

1. Push a small stick into the point where the water is expressing angled downward. The water will run down the stick and into your pot.
2. Concentrate the water by scoring sloping channels into the bank just below the water source. Lead these to you stick and thus your pot.
3. if the ground is suitable dig a small pit where the water will collect. It will be muddy at first but soon clear. Very gentle scooping will allow you to harvest the water.
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Re: Ambiguous guidebook update

Postby Stroller » Thu 29 Sep, 2016 4:10 am

Thanks fellas. I like the sound of those water catching ideas. I hope i won't need them but maybe it would be fun to practice when i see the opportunity anyway.

Right now, my train is about to depart in a little over 24 hours.
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