Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

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

Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Rlgm12 » Sun 19 Feb, 2017 11:14 am

Gooday mates.

It's a long way out but it's a long journey.
My current plan is to walk South --> North.
It will be myself and a mate.
We are young and are quite use to heavy packs, that being said, we don't want to torture ourselves on the AAWT.
On this thread I will be posting various things such as gear list, itinerary and ideas.
Questions as well.


When:
Earliest Departure: Late November 2017
Latest Return: Jan/Feb 2018

To start this off, I've got some questions for those who know the answers.

Is this an appropriate time to walk? (Nov-feb)
Water availability to the north, what to be concerned about, etc? (I'm Vic based)
Food drop locations/ Water Drops?
Satphone, Epirb, GPS, all necessary?
What's a good base weight to aim for?
(Will be composing a gear spreadsheet)

My next area of research is nutrient and Food requirements and then how to manage this for an AAWT trip. Any points of reference or advice in this regard would be appreciated.

And of course, anything else that I need to know would be greatly appreciated.

This is just an initial post, so bye for now

RLGM.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby madmacca » Sun 19 Feb, 2017 5:20 pm

Timing. All timing has compromises. October-December has easier water availability, cooler and lower fire risk, but you may encounter residual snow drifts (more likely on a N-S routing than S-N), and some river crossings may be trickier. Jan-Mar is hotter, and some water sources may have dried up - serious blizzards are less likely (but still possible). You takes your choices.

Water. Read Chapman's guidebook carefully. He describes water sources as "reliable", "usually" and "sometimes available". In general, there is water available every 10-15 km, so unless it is a really hot day, you mostly only need to carry 2l with you. Certainly you should have the capacity to carry 5l (a bladder, collapsible bottle or wine cask are good for this) to carry into a dry campsite or hot day. The availability of water on the less reliable sources will depend very much on how spring rain there will be. The driest section is from Mt Speculation to Mt Hotham, although a number of rainwater tanks have been installed there, so water is actually pretty easy now.

Food drops. Start your planning with the resorts of Hotham and Thredbo (both have stores with somewhat limited availability, but you can post specialty items to yourself). Kiandra, Benambra-Corryong Rd and Mt Skene/Rumpff Saddle as the mid-points between the resorts gives you approx 110 km between drops all accessible with 2WD vehicles (although the Licola Rd is closed until October). Others go with a couple more drops, although accessibility is harder. I'd suggest working out your food per day, number of days and desired pack weight and let the answer fall out from that - those intending to do more side trips and/or fewer km per day will usually do more food drops. Rumpff/Skene is the only food drop where you might include water as well.

Comms. With the spread of ski resorts in Victoria, you will generally only be a day or two between higher peaks that have line-of-sight to a mobile base station, but no mobile coverage in the valleys. Things get patchy in NSW once beyond the main range (although some coverage near Kiandra/Mt Selwyn). Biggest blackspot is Kiandra-Orroral. So as long as you have an EPIRB/PLB for if things go wrong, sat phone not reqd as you can stay in reasonable contact with a 3G phone (esp. on the Telstra network). Anyone attempting the AAWT should have good navigation skills with paper maps and compass - the GPS in your phone is a good backup if you want to occaisonally confirm your position, or in a whiteout. If you intend to use GPS as your primary means of navigation, then a dedicated GPS unit may be a better option. If using the GPS in your phone, consider offline maps and also how you are going to keep your phone charged - GPS and screens are huge battery drains.

Pack weight. You should be aiming at 6-8 kg base weight (ie. excluding food, fuel and water), although lighter weights are possible with careful gear seelction. If you post a proposed gear list, there are plenty of people on these forums who will critique it (in a positive way).

Food. Getting in a balanced, adequate diet while staying lightweight and non-perishable can indeed be a challenge. Keeping it varied and appetising for 6 weeks is also important. You should be aiming at 3500-4000 calories per day, at around 700-800g pppd. Carbs are your body's preferred fuel source for intense exercise like climbing mountains, and protein is essential for muscle repair. However, protein and carbs are heavy at just 4 calories per gram, while fats are much denser at 9 calories per gram. So peanut butter, and adding some olive oil to dinner meals are common ways experienced long distance walkers add some lightweight calories. You don't need to use fancy (and expensive) freeze dried meals - I just use commercial rice and pasta mixes, and throw in some vegetables I have dried myself (diced and dried in the oven for 3-4 hours @ 60-70C) and some dried meat or chicken, or some sliced salami.

Training. You should be thinking about your walk program before the AAWT, and plan a number of 2-3 day walks in the leadup to your big trip to a. gain some experience (especially navigation), b. build fitness and c. test and tweak your gear and menu plans.

Chapman's AAWT Guidebook should be an early purchase, as it will help a lot with your planning.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 19 Feb, 2017 7:19 pm

November-February is fine. See the advice above. Despite the risk of snow drifts, I think that mid-November is a good time to leave. Water is more certain. However, the weather could be worse than a month later

Water is not an issue for most of the AAWT Tharwa to Hotham. South of here The Barries are dry and if a tank is bust then there are problems. South of Speculation there are stretches of ridge with no water.

Food drops should be at 6-8 day intervals. I suggest that you read some posts and come back with a list. Consider stopping at Glen Wills Retreat south of Mount Wills, http://www.glenwills.com/

A GPS is useful, a satphone less so, and carry a PLB.

A good base weight is as little as you can manage commensurate with your style. Some people are prepared to carry more to camp in comfort and eat more.

For food, see Sonya Muhlsimmer's book Xtreme Gourmet xtremegourmet.com.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Xplora » Mon 20 Feb, 2017 6:26 am

madmacca wrote: Jan-Mar is hotter, and some water sources may have dried up - serious blizzards are less likely (but still possible). You takes your choices.


Usually hotter, but not this year. Looking out my window I see snow on BHP this morning. You just never know.
February snow 2017.jpg
February snow 2017.jpg (58.55 KiB) Viewed 6084 times
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby AWTtrekker » Mon 06 Mar, 2017 8:50 pm

We are doing it this year, leaving mid October and finishing early early December. We want to do quite a few side trips and to enjoy where we are so we are allowing a fair bit of time to do the track, about 48 days. With how variable weather has been the last few years we are going to leave a water drum at our food drop close to the Barries just incase, we figure we are going there to drop food anyway so it's no extra effort to leave some water and gives us a back up if we get some hot dry weather in the lead up.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 06 Mar, 2017 9:23 pm

If you post the food drop sites and how many days you plan between them we may be able to offer advice. One thing to note is that some roads are not open to the public prior to the Thursday before Cup Day. It was much later last year due to late snow and fallen timber. Hence, you may need to rethink where the food drops go.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Rlgm12 » Wed 29 Mar, 2017 5:12 pm

Allo, I'm back, my planning has officially started. Later than Id hoped but such is the way the world is.

I'm going to start with food drop locations, they aren't the most typical I don't think but here they are:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stronachs Camp

Picture Point

Barry Saddle (Mt Spec?)

Falls Creek
(COPE HUT)

Thredbo

Kiandra

-------------------------------------------------------------------------


Now let me explain.

Stronachs Camp
This one is because I have people who will be in the area at the time and the family will want to know we've made it through the first leg.
So early food drop, yay- this wont be hidden but instead handed over to us by our support team.
Its also a 'get rid of stuff and get what we forgot' ordeal. (My mate has forgotten his toothbrush, shoe soles and other essentials before)

Picture Point-Lovick Hut- Mt Magdala
This one is 4WD Accessible and easy for the Support Vehicle (SV) to get there. Seemed reasonable enough to me, plus the driver of the SV has always wanted to go there. (How many days walk from Stronachs Camp to here? I haven't walked this area before, and haven't done the calculations just yet)

Barry Saddle
The dry range. Plan is for a December departure so DRY. I think this one will have a water drop with it. Although, is this even possible? What is the Access?
What is an alternative if the road east of the saddle isn't 4WD accessible?

Falls Creek
Seemed like the next step. Hopefully this one will be SV delivered as well but that will be determined eventually. Alternative?

Thredbo (Dead Horse Gap)
It is likely here that we will have to jump off the track and go to Jindabyne for a day or two for business, if that doesn't occur at falls creek.


Kiandra
The last one. Will probably be preset, hidden in the area.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In your opinions, how many days is it to Thredbo from Walhalla?
We are pretty young and fit, and have chosen more than the bare minimum number of food drops simply because we have a large support base that can make it possible. Any advice, info, etc ou can provide will be very helpful and i'd be grateful.

The Theoretical plan is a 1st of December departure.
I have a rough idea of the days between these but haven't really gotten my head around it just yet but figured id post the locations I have so far.

Cheers,
Bryan
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 30 Mar, 2017 11:09 am

My initial reaction is that the days are very unbalanced. The first column is the Chapman distance, and the second is the interval distance.

Stronachs Camp ................ 46 ..... 46
Magdala turnoff ................ 158 ... 112
Barry Saddle .................... 188 ... 30
Marums Point ................... 267 .... 85 edit, oops, was 59, sorry.
Thredbo/DHG .................. 447 .... 180
Kiandra ......................... 555 .... 108
Tharwa .......................... 660 .... 105

Terrain variations aside, the distance after each food drop varies from 30 kilometres to 180 kilometres. The latter is about two weeks of food, too heavy in my view. Consider a food drop at Glen Wills Retreat, Which is a good place for a rest day.

I'd go for near the Magdala turnoff, well away from the 4WD track. If you go towards Magdala for five minutes then off the track for a minute it should be enough. How long from Stronachs to here? How fast do you walk? It could be 4-8 days. ANother option is near Mac Springs.

Due to road closures Barry Saddle may be hard to access by 4WD. However, there are other bigger roads nearby. I'd think about a high point - it's easier going downhill with the food drop than uphill. Barry Saddle has water, should be okay, just needs filtering and boiling.

Try near Marums Point. Mountain bikes use this region so stash the food drop well. If the food drop cannot be walked in then send it to Falls Creek, with a half day detour.

Dead Horse Gap is on the AAWT but Thredbo is good for a rest day. Most people seem to take the quad to the Main Range

Kiandra is good. This is a bit touristy so again stash the food drop well. There's water in the creek just north of where the AAWT meets the highway.
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Re: Bryan's 17-18 AAWT Planning

Postby Stroller » Tue 18 Apr, 2017 3:28 pm

As I'm replying with phone it's difficult to take in all what you say

Stronachs is a good place,

Kiandra and dhg or thredbo also no brain era.

I prefer Barry Saddle over mt speculation so that you don't have to carry so much weight from mt spec. You'll want to be able to walk from mt spec to Barry Saddle in one day unless you take an extra day day to put in a water drop at the razor cairn which is what I did. It not the usual approach. The day from mt spec is king and difficult to less weight is best.

Water in all the water tanks and creeks is fine to drin without boiling or filtering unless you have a sensitive gut or are just unlucky. Barry Saddle water is totally fine. Just run the tap a few seconds to clear the rust or whatever it it is.

By Mount Magdala do you mean brocks road. That is a nice spot forcar camping but no water there so you'll need water dropped. I had to walk down the creek a bit at mt Magdala for water as well but it's fine.

How long do you plan to take. It's better to take another more time than abut lessif you possibly can. It is averystrenuoushike. And you will enjoy it more if you can take more rest days and time. Make sure you bring stimulation for your mind otherwise you will get annoyed with the same song tormenting you. You can't talk to your mate the whole time. I find a creative project helps give my brain something useful to work at on long quiet stretches. Maybe listening to music also but that cuts you off from the bush sounds.

Be sure to include plenty of protein in each meal. Your body is being heavily taxed even if you are young and fit. Slow burning carbs are also better than smarties and the like so fill up with foods like oats, spaghetti, peanuts, at meal times. Add lots of fats to keep overall food weight moderate so nut mixes are good. I have yet to hear one positive report about commercially made dehydrated meals. I took a multivitamin so that I didn't have to bother with dehydration g vegetable meals. I am doing excellently with my food choices and health so I think my formula is good and I've been at this now over two months. Currently resting in thredbo.
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