AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

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AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 12:17 pm

I plan to kick-off on the AAWT early to mid Oct hiking south to north (snow dependent, but this year looks lightish on snow SO FAR). I have no cached food drops but plan to pre-send parcels to Hotham & Thredbo accommodation which are my one third points. I can order metho (fuel) for pick-up or delivery from Hotham & Thredbo Foodworks stores. My pack weight without consumables will be approx. 7.4kg (and max 15kg with all consumables ie food, water & fuel). Inspired by 'oyster_07''s trip report my plan is detailed below. By explanation I will say that when hiking I like to keep moving, camp just being to eat & sleep. Is it too ambitious? Am I crazy?
CLICK on spreadsheet to get a clear view.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 2.46.03 pm.png
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby oyster_07 » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 12:46 pm

Completely workable...


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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby crollsurf » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 1:25 pm

My experience of the Main Range NSW is that you should be right without crampons or snow-shoes. The ridge-line snow is normally melted by late October except for patches. Just be aware the snow will be potentially hard/icy early morning or if a cold front comes through.

Anyway hope it works out, sounds epic. I'll be traversing the KNP North-South maybe starting the Oct long weekend, maybe early November. So we may cross paths.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 1:50 pm

I am probably going to take a pair of NORDIC 'Trail' micro crampons (188g/pair) just in case. These may also be useful if there are long muddy (slippery) sections. And, I'll have my trekking poles (with snow basket attachments) for added support if their is snow/ice. Maybe catch you on the trail or at a hut!
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby bigkev » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 7:31 pm

Hey Dreamer,
I'm planning on starting in Walhalla a couple of days after you. I've got a very relaxed ( some unkind people might say 'lazy') itinerary planned. I'll hopefully be staggering into Tharwa in early December! I'm doing 7 food drops for the walk and planning on a couple of rest days at Hotham and Thredbo where my partner is coming up to meet me. It'll be interesting to compare notes when we both finish.
Good luck with the walk.
Cheers Kevin
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 7:49 pm

Hi Kevin,

Nothing wrong with the relaxed 'luxury' approach, I'm sure I'll be envious after a few days. I certainly won't have the time or space for luxuries, I think the Jack Daniel's won't even get a spot in the pack this time. If you find me lying half dead in a ditch please activate my plb for me! Best of luck, keep us all updated with your progress.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Mutley » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 8:10 pm

Some very big days dreamer. You will be walking some long hours, but it seems doable, provided you're fit, which I'm sure you are. I did it in 34 days and there were some shortish days. I generally made camp by 2-3 pm. Not having to cache food is going to save a lot of driving - An 1800 km chore I did twice. Please make sure you record your walking hours and a full trip report on your return. Good luck.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Thu 03 Aug, 2017 10:48 pm

Thanks Mutley...well...quite fit but I am pushing 50! I can hike relatively fast & far (if no injuries). My estimated times with pack are based on my Larapinta walk - 'average 4km/hour PLUS one hour for every 500m of elevation gain'. I find that with long distance hiking it's the 'mind games' you need to conquer first. Personally, I'd rather carry a heavier pack & walk longer per day then do the driving to drop caches! I will record, currently experimenting with Apple Watch2 coupled with Viewranger app.

oyster_07 showed it could be done, although he sounds like a very fit runner.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby north-north-west » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 1:01 pm

The Victorian part of the AAWT is a good bit harder than the Larapinta, so don't be surprised if you find yourself struggling to manage a similar average speed. The track is nowhere near as well maintained or marked. iIn places you are likely to have navigation issues, or to have to deal with regrowth and treefalls. There there's the weather . . .
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 5:25 pm

Got it NNW. That's the worry & the challenge. I'll incorporate some flexibility for poor conditions, but if every day is a hard slog with poor visibility...that's not going to be fun! However, the rocky gorges were VERY slow going on Larapinta. I can't see much of that type of closed in large rock hopping on much of the AAWT, or am I wrong?
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby north-north-west » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 6:55 pm

No, but there are still a lot of things that will slow you down to an equal degree. In October you'll still be dealing with the aftermath of winter storms even if the weather is perfect all the way.
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AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby oyster_07 » Fri 04 Aug, 2017 7:02 pm

Dreamer wrote:I can't see much of that type of closed in large rock hopping on much of the AAWT, or am I wrong?


Sections of rock-hopping (or the likes) on a north-bound route are the ascent after the Benambra-Corryong Road and the ascent of Mt McDonald. There are other sections that are particularly rough too.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Sat 05 Aug, 2017 8:47 am

Thanks, that track info is very useful...I'll mark those spots on my maps. Probably my number one concern is the weather...which is pretty much an unknown until the time. A blizzard (or even just excessive wind & rain) up on those ridge lines would not be fun.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Xplora » Sat 05 Aug, 2017 9:45 am

If you want to stay a night in comfort at the half way you can post a food drop to Glen Wills retreat. Good rates for AAWT walkers. Not far from the track and you get a lift up the hill the next day.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Sun 06 Aug, 2017 10:02 am

Cheers xplora, I'll keep Glen Wills retreat in mind...although 2 stays/resupplies to break up the 3 sections is probably enough. In Hotham I'll probably stay at 'The General's' new apartments and in Thredbo maybe 'The Denman'. Both of which have quite reasonable rates in off-season. For the end of the first section Harrietville is even an option. There are quite a few AirBNB's there (with onsite hosts) some of whom I'm sure could be persuaded to drive the 21km to pick me up and return me next morning to the intersection of Great Alpine & Dargo High Plains Road. As Chapman mentions, Fall's Creek is also a good option for recovery/resupply, although for me that would just extend a longer first section (already 8 nights) for yet another night. It's easier for me to think about the walk as 3 sections or stages...it makes it easier for planning and seems more doable.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Drummo62 » Mon 07 Aug, 2017 2:51 pm

Hi Dreamer,
I did Walhalla to Hotham in 10 days with no food drop in March last year so while I cant comment on your schedule past Hotham the first third looks ok. A couple of quick points that may help. While its a bit of a road bash I went up Middle Ridge Road before Rumpff so I could collect water about 1km before the saddle. After Barry Saddle, Selwyn Creek Road was also my planned overnight stop but you are better to press on to Murrays Hut. I carried enough water from the tank at Mt Selwyn then picked up water from the Twins tank the next morning.
Enjoy
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Mon 07 Aug, 2017 4:25 pm

Good points Drummo62, I will do same for both.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby madmacca » Fri 18 Aug, 2017 1:01 am

Dreamer wrote:Thanks, that track info is very useful...I'll mark those spots on my maps. Probably my number one concern is the weather...which is pretty much an unknown until the time. A blizzard (or even just excessive wind & rain) up on those ridge lines would not be fun.


Those are some big days, but doable. I did it with resupply at Thredbo and Hotham only. My one concern in your plan is the lack of flexibility - if a storm blows in on a high ridgeline, sometimes you've got little option but to hunker down in your tent whereever you can for half a day or a day and wait it out. Rain, wind and temps <5C are more dangerous than a blizzard (although visibility may be better). An extra day's food, or target distances at 26-27 km/day rather than 29 would give you that little more flexibility. I'd probably also put in an extra day in the Hotham-Thredbo section - cutting your 10+ hr days down to 9 hrs.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Fri 18 Aug, 2017 9:46 am

Fair call madmacca. The plan is just a plan, the reality on the day will call the shots. I will take an extra days 'rations' for each section just in case and accommodation at Hotham/Thredbo can be pushed back with 48 hours notice. It is great that members are airing potential issues. I won't forget doing the Kosciuszko summit trail a couple if years ago with my nine year old in 2 degrees? (with wind chill accounted for) IN January and nearly getting blown off the path.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby onward » Mon 04 Sep, 2017 6:38 pm

I did it this year (SOBO - April/May) in 33 days and I was 59 at the time..60 now (bugger!), with the right conditions and being a bit fitter I think I could do a week less...but did have 6 food drops. If you are fit you will do it fine. Don't forget to plan for water at other points unless you are planning on carrying at lot. And Oyster it wasn't the rock hopping it was the *&%$#! blown downs that drove me nuts!
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Fri 08 Sep, 2017 6:22 pm

OK, after monitoring snow levels, I bow to the greater wisdom of certain members of this forum and have delayed the start of my thru-hike until mid November. I also had some family events that got in the way of my earlier start (eg son's graduation from Yr12, daughter's ballet concert...duty calls). I was keen to experience the snow (with snow shoes/crampons/ice axe) but conditions look truly 'epic' this year! So November it is with an even lighter pack and a 22 day walk target. Looking forward to it. I'll see you on the trail Big Kev!
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby bigkev » Fri 08 Sep, 2017 7:59 pm

No worries Dreamer, you can pick me up out of that ditch on the way past now :D I'll up date the conditions that I find when I get to Hotham in early November if you want an idea of the first leg before you set off. Cheers Kevin
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby madmacca » Sat 09 Sep, 2017 3:27 pm

Dreamer wrote:OK, after monitoring snow levels, I bow to the greater wisdom of certain members of this forum and have delayed the start of my thru-hike until mid November. I also had some family events that got in the way of my earlier start (eg son's graduation from Yr12, daughter's ballet concert...duty calls). I was keen to experience the snow (with snow shoes/crampons/ice axe) but conditions look truly 'epic' this year! So November it is with an even lighter pack and a 22 day walk target. Looking forward to it. I'll see you on the trail Big Kev!


Good call dreamer. This year seems exceptional in terms of late snow, and that would slow you down at the very least. You should still get some snow around the BHP and Main Range even with that timing.

Many roads open ahead of Cup weekend (although that is weather dependent), so you may be able to place some food drops to lighten the pack. Mt Victor/Fiddler's Green is not that much of a drive out of MElbourne for example.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby madmacca » Sat 09 Sep, 2017 3:29 pm

onward wrote:I did it this year (SOBO - April/May) in 33 days and I was 59 at the time..60 now (bugger!), with the right conditions and being a bit fitter I think I could do a week less...but did have 6 food drops. If you are fit you will do it fine. Don't forget to plan for water at other points unless you are planning on carrying at lot. And Oyster it wasn't the rock hopping it was the *&%$#! blown downs that drove me nuts!


Blow downs!!!! I hated the ones in what I called the "zone of aggravation" - too high to just straddle over, and too low to duck under with a pack.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 28 Oct, 2017 10:25 pm

River crossings will be interesting in Nov., take wet suit booties/neoprene reef shoes as well as poles.
100 kph + winds on the Cross Cut saw and Mt. Howitt , as well as zero visibility on the Cross Cut Saw may slow you down. Take a head net for the flies esp. in NSW . Stay safe!
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Xplora » Sun 29 Oct, 2017 7:30 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:River crossings will be interesting in Nov., take wet suit booties/neoprene reef shoes as well as poles.
100 kph + winds on the Cross Cut saw and Mt. Howitt , as well as zero visibility on the Cross Cut Saw may slow you down. Take a head net for the flies esp. in NSW . Stay safe!


Big river crossing at the bottom of Duane is always a problem this time of year. Most people divert down Timms spur and go up Quartz. Still snow melting and there has been some rain keeping river levels high. This will add some time but better than getting to the crossing and having to go back up. No reports as yet whether the chain is intact. Not sure where this wind and fog forecast is coming from. Perhaps PCV has a direct line to the maker. From my experience November is pretty nice around that area but bad weather can strike at any time. I do love November walking in the mountains. Stay safe is good advice. Sounds pretty scary out there.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 29 Oct, 2017 8:50 am

The predecessor of the AAWT the Alpine Walking Track had two routes from the high plains, Timms Lookout, Quartz Ridge, Bogong, Cleve Cole, T Spur, and Duane Spur, T Spur. In my view there could and should be a number of formal AAWT options, like the AWT. This is especially the case between Dead Horse Gap and near Crooks Racecourse. As long as the party walks from start to finish - perhaps even with a quad from or to Thredbo - I consider that the AAWT has been walked.

I agree that the uncertainty of Big River via Duane Spur means that a better route, albeit more boring to Big River, is Timms Lookout. The prospect of being on one side of a flooded river with no chain does not appeal.

In summer I'm wrapped up in long pants, long sleeves, light gardening gloves, and a broad brim hat with a big flap at the back. This defeats nearly all march flies, which sting. Mind you they have protein.

There is an entry in the Cleve Cole log book 15.11.16:
"Lots of dead fall on lower slopes of Quartz Ridge after crossing Big River. Although not a significant obstacle, the repeated over-and-unders are an embuggarance."
It could well be the same this year on Quartz Ridge, and was the case a few years ago near East Riley Road.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Dreamer » Sun 29 Oct, 2017 5:38 pm

Thanks for your comments...very timely as I'm just starting prep for a mid November kick off. Will consider the Timms Spur/Quartz Knob Mt Bogong alternate route closer to the time I'll be there (towards end of November). It does add 12.5 km so it's not a small detour! I'm very confident I can crab-walk across Big River up to 1m in depth with poles (from what I can gather from limited sources the majority of the time it's below that depth). I'm just going to walk thru creeks/rivers in my Altra trail runners, neoprene shoes etc are unnessary extra weight...gotta keep it light :D.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby Xplora » Sun 29 Oct, 2017 6:44 pm

Three weeks is a long time with river heights. Currently I would not try it but who knows by the time you are there. Check this link out when you can. If it is 1.2m at Joker then you may be OK at T spur. http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDV67209/IDV6 ... .plt.shtml
Normal Summer level is about 1m at this station so 1m at T spur would be expected. It is the best I can do. I tried crossing one cup weekend and there was no were near the amount of snow currently melting. It was a lot higher than a metre and took me off my feet. Risk is yours and so is the choice. At worst you would have to go around and lose a day.
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Re: AAWT OCT17 northward - no cached food drops

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 29 Oct, 2017 8:24 pm

Over the Xmas break I will walk across Big River near the Quartz ridge trail head and cross it again at the T Spur. I presume that such as crossing at the end of Dec. / start of Jan. will be feasible. Moreover more trip reports will come through as to whether the chain at the bottom of Duane spur is still intact.
I crossed that river in March a year or two ago at that point . The chain was there and the water level was benign.
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