AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

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

AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Bill P » Thu 20 Oct, 2011 11:06 am

Hi,

I've always wanted to walk the entire AAWT in one go, but I've always thought I needed a couple of months to do it , and therefore needed to be retired etc.

Just wondering about the feasibility of doing it in say 4 weeks? I'm curious about the day lengths, experiences, etc of those who have done it all in less than a month .

John Chapman has a 35 day itineray for fast walkers, with no rest days . To get that down to 28 days means shaving a day off each section and an average of mainly 28km/day.

Interested in any thoughts. :idea:

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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Earwig » Fri 21 Oct, 2011 12:59 pm

G'day Bill. You should probably repost this in the general discussion areas for Vic and NSW rather than in trip reports. - Ian
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AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Fri 21 Oct, 2011 4:49 pm

Hi Bill

I am also interested in this topic, although I am thinking if doing it in 2 separate trips.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby JohnM » Sat 22 Oct, 2011 12:10 pm

Bill, Chapman says that people who've done it in 4 weeks have done so as a real speed-hike: including setting up tents and finding water in the dark at day's end. No rest days, no time to linger anywhere along the way.

If that sounds like your particular cuppa, go for it. Don't forget you've also got to allow 5-6 days for food drops and then picking up food-drop containers when you're done.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Sat 22 Oct, 2011 2:39 pm

Sounds about right, John

Karen Cody led a group from the Canberra Bushwalkers club last year, then posted a lot of detailed trip data here. They did the entire AAWT, walking a total of 693 km in 38 days. Their daily averages were 8 hours walking at 2.3 km/hr.

So, to get the journey time down to 28 days and allowing 3 days for fetching/recovering food drops, one possible scenario is that you:
- walk an average of 11 hours per day (3 hours more per day than the club averaged)
- at 2.5 km/hr (a little faster that the club).

It sounds doable to me.

In regard to food drops I am planning to do the route over 2 separate 2-week trips and my first thought is to do the each 2-week stint without food drops.

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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 22 Oct, 2011 3:55 pm

Two weeks food on you back means one of two things in my experience, being prepared to loose a lot of body mass along the way or eating very sparingly with everything pre-prepared in a concentrate form, like Turblokken or lifeboat rations.
At a kilo per day plus fuel for normal food I just cannot imagine adding another 16 or 17 kilos to my skin-out weight and still carry it 28ks a day.
I have to assume too that travel would have to be in the optimum window for water availability.
The longest I have ever packed for the High Plains was 10 days ( although that was winter ) and I was lucky to make 8ks the first day with a 45kilo pack and I was fit ( even extremely so ) at the time.

I suppose a lot depends on how light you can get your skin-out load and how close to the bone you are willing to cut your safety margins.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Bill P » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 3:33 pm

Thanks Everyone, Isn't armchair walk planning an awful lost easier than actually doing it.?

Heres some rough calcs: (By golly you'd be rather fit by 1/2 way through it:)

JC "fast walkers" days, My Days, Km, km/day,
Walhalla to Rumpff Saddle 6, 4, 108, 27,
Rumpff saddle to Mt Hotham 5, 4, 113, 28,
Mt Hotham to Omeo Highway 4, 3, 83, 28,
Omeo Highway to Thredbo Village 7, 5, 141, 28,
Thredbo Village to Kiandra 6, 5, 124, 25,
Kiandra to Tharwa 6, 5, 120, 24,
TOTALS 34, 26, 689,

I cant seen to get the tabs right in the above 'table' :( Not much room for bad weather or injury or any navigational "issues" with such a schedule. Probably need to get avg walking speed up to ~4km/hr to make days lengths reasonable, so it would be a light & fast trip. Probably should time it to optimise the daylength, water availability and weather stability. The food drops would be a separate exercise a few weeks prior.

There's a lot of detail on that site Andrew: What are your intended 2 x 14 splits? And when are you going?

Thanks John & Moondog55- good info. Bill P
Last edited by Bill P on Tue 25 Oct, 2011 7:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 6:08 pm

Moondog - no plans here to carry 45kgs - you were very fit and a bit mad me thinks! :) For a 2-week trip with no food drops I'm figuring on a 10kg base pack weight plus 15kg in food & fuel.

Bill - the trip legs you list out seem ok. I agree with you and MD about timing the trip for the optimal conditions, so I would ideally be doing it in autumn or late spring. I need some surgery first though. Will lock in the dates after that.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 6:42 pm

A lot of it can be done at those sort of speeds and daily distances - I've done 30km & more a day on much of it, as two to five day trips or daywalks with a full pack - but there are some sections that will slow you down dramatically, so you need to be prepared for them.
Trouble is, you'll miss a lot of the best bits, which is the side trips. There's just no time for anything except sticking to the through route with that sort of timetable. And it would be miraculous for the weather to behave enough all the way to make it without at least one lay day.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 9:05 pm

north-north-west wrote:A lot of it can be done at those sort of speeds and daily distances...Trouble is, you'll miss a lot of the best bits, which is the side trips. There's just no time for anything except sticking to the through route with that sort of timetable...


i hear you, NNW and I can't speak for Bill's goals, but I am looking for a challenging blast (can always come back and do the side trips).
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 9:20 pm

Just allow extra time for the Black River-Shillinglaw & Mt Sunday-Low Saddle sections. Everything else I've been on recently has been in good nick, but those two bits are beastly. Really bad regrowth problems.
Mt Sunday has a good easy detour via the 4wd tracks, but there's not really a valid alternative for Shillinglaw.
Corryong Rd to Turnback Ck Track also had some dodgy bits last time I was there, but that was a couple of years back, and it may have been cleared since.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Bill P » Tue 25 Oct, 2011 11:36 am

Image

Ok Here is a better table. North to south might be better so that one tackles the tougher parts after some acquired fitness.

Its not feasible to procure suitable food, fuel from Hotham Heights and Thredbo and get by with 2 food drops? is it? :roll:

Side trips NNW? They're the things you do when you lose the track, arent they? :) Bill P
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby peregrinator » Tue 25 Oct, 2011 2:56 pm

Bill P wrote: Side trips NNW? They're the things you do when you lose the track, arent they? :) Bill P


What track?
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby north-north-west » Tue 25 Oct, 2011 8:19 pm

Bill P wrote:Image

Ok Here is a better table. North to south might be better so that one tackles the tougher parts after some acquired fitness.

Its not feasible to procure suitable food, fuel from Hotham Heights and Thredbo and get by with 2 food drops? is it? :roll:

Side trips NNW? They're the things you do when you lose the track, arent they? :) Bill P


I'd rather spend my first day getting to Erica Car park than to Honeysuckle (or Orroral, or whatever). At least then you get a bit of level walking before the climb starts.

Thredbo, probably, but you'd be adding a few hours and about ten km to the day's routine. Hotham Heights, I'm not sure. I avoid the place like the plague ridden cesspit it is, so no idea what can be acquired there in the summer.

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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby BillV » Fri 24 Aug, 2012 4:48 pm

I'm planning to do the hike N/S starting in early april 2013.........I'm planning to do the trip in around 34 to 36 days with food drops mailed into Hotham and Thredbo.........Looking to ave 20 klicks a day ........Will be packing 14 days worth of food @ 680 to 700 grms at about 3400 cals a day......Guestimating around a 20 kg pack fully laden as I'm still waiting for pack and bag to arrive.........
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby Solohike74 » Sun 23 Sep, 2012 10:34 pm

BillV, it sounds epic. I might have some time open in my calendar then.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby BillV » Sun 30 Sep, 2012 11:21 am

No probs at all Solohike74 ,I'm heading off early March not April though.....On a side my note new pack and sleeping bag arrived a few weeks ago so went on a 6 day hike with my Son through the Avon Wilderness region last week.......I packed food for 7 days for 2 people........My pack with all the food and 2 litres of water on board came in right on 19 kgs including a Hubba Hubba tent (For solo trips I use just a Gunyah 2 or Hubba about 500 Gms less) the only other difference for a solo hike was I wasn't carrying a stove, Maps or electronics so betting full pack for AAWT will come in around 21 to 22 Kgs.......
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Mon 01 Oct, 2012 7:21 am

BillV wrote:...On a side my note new pack and sleeping bag arrived a few weeks ago so went on a 6 day hike with my Son through the Avon Wilderness region last week....


Hi Billy

Just curious - what was your route through the Avon Wilderness?

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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby BillV » Mon 01 Oct, 2012 5:23 pm

Hi Andrew......My son and I camped at Platapus camp on the Wellington river sunday then headed up the River track to the Chromite mine track on monday then over the ridge to the mine site on Tues......On Wednesday we hiked the Chromite mine track to the helipad on the Chromite mine track......on Thursday we finished off the Chromite mine track then followed the Mt Margret track to Burgoynes track then followed that into the gap and finished the hike at the juncture of the Licola rd and Hickeys track camping there and getting picked up on friday....This was my 9 year old Sons biggest walk to date and he did very well.........He is very keen to head back now to do the Wellington Plateau and the Razorback......
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Thu 04 Oct, 2012 2:38 pm

Thanks, Billy. Interesting route. What was the condition of the track like?
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby BillV » Thu 04 Oct, 2012 7:54 pm

Sorry Bill P really hijacking your thread here.............Andrew........The track was was all FWD track apart from the Wellington river section......The track it self was fairly clear in regards to fallen timber from recent storms....... On the Wellington I think the new alignment over Shaws gap as a good improvement as it sidles rather than just heads over the gap and it also removes some of the bad washouts on the creek crossings.......The Chromite, Mt Margret and Burgoynes tracks have alot up and down that are great for the knees ..Burgyones is a good example as there are alot of steep decents but alot of it is almost like walking down a staircase because of the rock ledges you just need to pick a good line......There were some great views on this walk as well (I think it was well worth the effort)........Though bear in mind we did dry camp at the Chromite helipad so I had to cart an extra 8 litres of water to ensure we had enough for the night and also so we had enough to walk out the next day
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Fri 05 Oct, 2012 6:19 am

Thanks Bill
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Sat 06 Oct, 2012 12:47 pm

I rediscovered the link to the Karen Cody site, which provides a ton of info about the AAWT.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby sim1oz » Wed 10 Oct, 2012 8:36 pm

Another helpful link http://www.davebyrnes.com.au/AAWT_2011/Schedule.htm. This guy, Dave Byrnes, planned to walk the AAWT in 26 days and finished it in 28 days.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby justacouch » Thu 11 Oct, 2012 2:42 pm

This guy (Chris Sexton) did (ran) the AAWT in 16 days - the current record time:

http://acmf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2 ... ported.pdf

And these guys are planning a 38 day traverse in November:

http://oz4adventure.blogspot.com.au/201 ... -aawt.html

I reckon the key is to have a rough plan that you're willing and equipped to adapt to your mojo levels and weather conditions. David Byrne's schedule (linked to above) has a good summary of the guidebook information in a table, including the distances between water (you could add where and how far away good campsites are). Something like that would be pretty useful to have with you if you're planning a quick traverse.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby dplanet » Fri 12 Oct, 2012 3:33 pm

andrewbish wrote:I rediscovered the link to the Karen Cody site, which provides a ton of info about the AAWT.


I noticed that too. Now, the kml files work; but not the gpx ones. Very useful information about transport/food drop arrangements, water for drinking and cooking and the tricky locations pointed out for navigation. Great great work and a big thank you.
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby CoolBreeze » Mon 29 Oct, 2012 8:55 pm

A friend and I walked the AAWT S/N in 34 days Mar/Apr 2011. Much kudos to Karen Cody for the wealth of information and the Chapmans & Siseman’s brilliant book!

Not to take anything away from Chris Sexton’s 16 day run (a monumental effort), though as noted by Chapman (http://www.john.chapman.name/vic-alpt.html), in Mar '11 Beau Miles completed a record 14 day supported run N/S (http://beaumilesfilm.com/blog.php).

While we didn't meet Beau we met an American chap, Li Brannfors, on Mt Clear travelling ultralight N/S unsupported, he said he'd been covering ~38km/day (walking daylight-to-dusk) until he reached the Vic fire affect regrowth sections where he was slowed to ~28km/day. Astoundingly he'd posted only 2 food-drop parcels, one to Thredbo and other Hotham; and completed it in 19 days.

We also met up with Dave Byrnes at Whites River Hut (at the time being rebuilt) heading S/N, just after a long day crossing the alternative Main Range route from Thredbo, Dave completed it in 28 days.

We're now set to head off again in Dec '12 to repeat/re-experience the S/N journey, after tweaking our equipment and food arrangements, and noting some improved track conditions (Mt Sunday last time was hellish!), this time we've scheduled a 26 day trip... all the best for your journey!
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Tue 30 Oct, 2012 12:11 pm

CoolBreeze wrote:A friend and I walked the AAWT S/N in 34 days Mar/Apr 2011. Much kudos to Karen Cody for the wealth of information and the Chapmans & Siseman’s brilliant book!
..
We're now set to head off again in Dec '12 to repeat/re-experience the S/N journey, after tweaking our equipment and food arrangements, and noting some improved track conditions (Mt Sunday last time was hellish!), this time we've scheduled a 26 day trip... all the best for your journey!


Hi CoolBreeze
Would you be able to share your food arrangement/logistical info for the S/N journey? I am considering doing this in the not-too-distant future.

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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby CoolBreeze » Tue 30 Oct, 2012 9:57 pm

Our food arrangements and logistical info per the table below:
Attachments
AAWT Info.JPG
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Re: AAWT Canberra to Walhalla duration?

Postby andrewbish » Wed 31 Oct, 2012 6:12 pm

Thanks, CoolBreeze
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