Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

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Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Mon 24 Dec, 2012 9:52 pm

Took some time to visit Feathertop this weekend.

This was my first overnighter since recently losing around 40kgs so I can do this stuff again. Fitness is pretty decent now, but still have a LONG way to go.

Ended up camping at MUMC hut the first night, along with a group of 9 or 10 MUMC members who provided a great night. I'm actually quite suprised that I had never been down to MUMC Hut, as it really does have the best views of the mountain in the area, above Diamantina Spur in my honest opinion.

Spent my second night at Federation hut, before spending the morning walking back along the Razorback. Was very blowy, but no rain (as it was forecast).

Observations - Its quite concerning seeing how many people treat Feathertop so lightly. The number of people that I saw on track who were unprepared, or not prepared at all, quite frankly, it scares me. One girl who arrived at Federation Hut around 3pm with no pack, no waterproofs, only what appeared to be a litre of water, seemed to get a little shaken when I told her that a storm was due to arrive in 30 minutes.

It makes me wonder if Parks Vic should focus more on referring to Feathertop as being an overnight trek rather than a daywalk in their publications, because 22 or so kilometers across that type of terrain is not fun.

Not only that, but a lack of the amount of people who respect the park is a disgrace. Seeing the amount of green snowgums at Federation Hut that have had full branches cut off with the hand saw provided in the hut just so that people who are not prepared for the cold can keep warm in the hut.

Lets not forget the mountain bikers that I ran into, who are definitely not allowed on the track.

Makes me feel sorry for Parks Rangers to be quite honest.

Also... if you have not spent a night at MUMC either in the hut or in a tent, its not to be missed. The views from here are simply breathtaking, and the Feathertop Spring on the way there is the cleanest most pure water I have ever tasted in my life.

First time using Trail Runners overnight - I wont be using them again in this type of terrain, that's for sure. Nearly took out my ankle way too many times for comfort, and after much thinking over the issue, I came to the conclusion that the stability of your ankle doesn't come down to the high or low cut, rather, it comes down to the sole, which in a boot is designed to be planted firmly and flat on any surface, whereas a runner is more adaptable to any surface, and creates more room to roll an ankle as a result.

That's just my thoughts, but I can say, comparing trips using trail runners and boots in the same area, Boots are a no brainer, and I've already for my eye on a new pair. That said, like everything lightweight, if you want to travel light, sacrifices will be made.

Anyway, here's some pics of the trip - http://s1295.beta.photobucket.com/user/ryantmalone/library/Mt%20Feathertop%20Christmas%202012

I also posted a little more detail on my blog - http://gonebushmad.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/mt-feathertop-jaunt-christmas-2012.html

UPDATE

Just uploaded a video with more photos on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh6-Rmt4smU
Last edited by ryantmalone on Wed 30 Jan, 2013 8:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby andrewbish » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 6:15 am

Great pics, Ryan and nice work on your personal (kilo)gram counting improvements!
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Maelgwn » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 8:05 am

I agree with your thoughts about foot stability being linked to the stiffness of the sole of the shoe. Maybe trying a low cut walking shoe with a stiff sole might work for you better.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby neilmny » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 9:15 am

Great report Ryan. Well done on the 40kg too.
I've lost 28kg myself but it took a heart attack on Anzac day 2011 to start the process.
It's a whole new life as I'm sure it is for you.
Interesting point on the boots too. Makes sense to me that the solid platform is a key to stability.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 10:15 pm

andrewbish wrote:Great pics, Ryan and nice work on your personal (kilo)gram counting improvements!


Cheers Andrew, I have a few more trips planned, so should lose a fair amount more by the time they are done. :)

Maelgwn wrote:I agree with your thoughts about foot stability being linked to the stiffness of the sole of the shoe. Maybe trying a low cut walking shoe with a stiff sole might work for you better.


I'll definitely be shopping around a bit for my next boot/runner. I love the lightweight aspect of the runners I used, so if I can find one with a much more solid sole, I'll be sold! (not a pun, I swear!!)

neilmny wrote:Great report Ryan. Well done on the 40kg too.
I've lost 28kg myself but it took a heart attack on Anzac day 2011 to start the process.
It's a whole new life as I'm sure it is for you.
Interesting point on the boots too. Makes sense to me that the solid platform is a key to stability.


Cheers! Its always like that though, my inspiration wasnt a heart attack, instead it was extremely high blood pressure that should have killed me. Definitely opens me up to live more of my life though, and when you get the idea that there may not have been much of it left, it just makes you hungry for more.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 11:27 pm

Oh, and if I can add a further lesson learned from this hike, it would have to be that the taste tester that Backcountry Cusine hires needs to be sacked.

I have never tasted anything more revolting in my life...
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby andrewbish » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 4:34 am


I'll definitely be shopping around a bit for my next boot/runner. I love the lightweight aspect of the runners I used, so if I can find one with a much more solid sole, I'll be sold! (not a pun, I swear!!)



Roger Caffin recently gave a strong recommendation for New Balance MT810s in an article for BPL. You can prob get a look at them at the NB store at Chaddy.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 9:50 am

andrewbish wrote:

I'll definitely be shopping around a bit for my next boot/runner. I love the lightweight aspect of the runners I used, so if I can find one with a much more solid sole, I'll be sold! (not a pun, I swear!!)



Roger Caffin recently gave a strong recommendation for New Balance MT810s in an article for BPL. You can prob get a look at them at the NB store at Chaddy.


They actually don't look half bad. Might have to check out a pair next time I am out that side of the city. :)
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Maelgwn » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 10:11 am

ryantmalone wrote:Oh, and if I can add a further lesson learned from this hike, it would have to be that the taste tester that Backcountry Cusine hires needs to be sacked.

I have never tasted anything more revolting in my life...


Maybe you just weren't hungry enough? ;-)

Home dehydrated is the best. Strive foods from Tasmania also do good dehydrated meals ( for the time poor).
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 11:00 am

Maelgwn wrote:
ryantmalone wrote:Oh, and if I can add a further lesson learned from this hike, it would have to be that the taste tester that Backcountry Cusine hires needs to be sacked.

I have never tasted anything more revolting in my life...


Maybe you just weren't hungry enough? ;-)

Home dehydrated is the best. Strive foods from Tasmania also do good dehydrated meals ( for the time poor).


haha Well I did eat the lot anyway, regardless of how revolting it was. ;)

I've been considering getting into home dehydrated. I have a very strict diet at home, and if I could have full control over what I eat for dinners when hiking, that would be brilliant.

As for Strive Foods, I've heard nothing but good about them, and will be ordering a few of their meals in the coming week or two for my next trip over Australia Day weekend. I would have ordered them for last weekend, however it was a last minute decision to take off, and didn't have the time to wait for meals to be posted.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Kinsayder » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks for the report, your thoughts and the link to your pictures, Ryan. Also the weight loss, that's some great work there.

I'm a huge one for the Feathertop area, I don't think it can be topped in Victoria. The MUMC hut is a great hut, I'd hazard that if it had a fireplace it would be 10 out of 10 for me. I love the sink! Although I'm just happy to be alone in the mountains, so I'm probably pretty easy to please.

I've never encountered any mountain bikers out that way (and only once on a track at all, this year on the Bogong High Plains), it seems a bit worthless really, I can get the idea of riding on 4wd tracks but not on hiking tracks. As for the unprepared; they are everywhere, I just hope it's a baptism of fire and they are better prepared next time. It beats them sitting at home watching people dance on television or whatever it boring people do. Chopping snow gums up it a definite no though. Some people just don't get it. Maybe those ones should be watching people dance.

The best dehydrated meals that I've tried would have to be Chefsway. The rest are pretty lamentable. That being said, I've had a dehydrator for the last year, which has been good. Mostly spaghetti bolognaise, which I need to work on.

I think I noticed a GSI pot in one of the pictures, how's that going?
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Wed 26 Dec, 2012 4:15 pm

Yeah, the Feathertop area hold some spiritual significance for me, plus Harrietville is where much of my family came from, so its somewhat in my blood.

MUMC Hut used to have a fireplace in it, was removed however, and with the amount of people being careless by simply chopping down good trees near huts (see the snowgums close to Federation Hut) simply for firewood, its a good thing that they are starting to remove them. With the amount of gear that we have at our disposal, a fire shouldn't be needed either way, although I know many will disagree. I enjoy a good campfire where it is permitted though. :)

The people on mountain bikes were very serious riders, hopping down rocks, and so on. More of an extreme sport if anything, which I can understand the attraction to it, but in an area that is developed for hikers with their safety in mind, its pretty dangerous not just for the rider, but for hikers too.

I heard Chefsway mentioned a few times, may have to check them out until I can get myself a dehydrator.

As for the GSI pot, it went really well! Has two bowls that pack inside it and double up as a mug. Would definitely use again, however am considering getting a JetBoil for my next trip, which would eliminate the need for it.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Snowzone » Thu 27 Dec, 2012 9:22 am

ryantmalone wrote:The people on mountain bikes were very serious riders, hopping down rocks, and so on. More of an extreme sport if anything, which I can understand the attraction to it, but in an area that is developed for hikers with their safety in mind, its pretty dangerous not just for the rider, but for hikers too.

Is mountain biking becoming a lot more popular? I know I'm definately seeing more of them around. The problem I have with them is unlike a motorbike you cannot hear them coming and its not until they are almost on top of you that you are aware of them. I've had a couple give me frights.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Thu 27 Dec, 2012 5:26 pm

Snowzone wrote:
ryantmalone wrote:The people on mountain bikes were very serious riders, hopping down rocks, and so on. More of an extreme sport if anything, which I can understand the attraction to it, but in an area that is developed for hikers with their safety in mind, its pretty dangerous not just for the rider, but for hikers too.

Is mountain biking becoming a lot more popular? I know I'm definately seeing more of them around. The problem I have with them is unlike a motorbike you cannot hear them coming and its not until they are almost on top of you that you are aware of them. I've had a couple give me frights.


Its definitely becoming much more popular. See, I don't have a problem with people on mountain bikes, I just think that there is a place to do everything safely, and on a track that has been cut solely for the purpose of feet to trample on them, its a dangerous mix.

Not only that, but with the Razorback track already being widened by people who don't want to walk on the rocky narrow track, with vegetation being damaged as a result, bikes are only going to damage this more as they do sidle around the rocky narrow track as well.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Vozzie » Sat 29 Dec, 2012 10:21 am

Hi Ryan. My wife and I met you in Federation Hut on the 24th. It was great weather on Feathertop, albeit a bit blowey ... in that you had to nail your feet to the peak to stand up! The track along Razorback and up the peak is not for the feint-hearted or vertigo-inclined (like myself). Some of the edges are within a poofteenth of a 5000ft drop. I had to put on a brave face for my wife .. so that kept me going. I'll tell you what though ... that walk down to Harrietville never seems to end! But a great time had by all. I'll be back. Steve
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Sat 29 Dec, 2012 7:43 pm

Vozzie wrote:Hi Ryan. My wife and I met you in Federation Hut on the 24th. It was great weather on Feathertop, albeit a bit blowey ... in that you had to nail your feet to the peak to stand up! The track along Razorback and up the peak is not for the feint-hearted or vertigo-inclined (like myself). Some of the edges are within a poofteenth of a 5000ft drop. I had to put on a brave face for my wife .. so that kept me going. I'll tell you what though ... that walk down to Harrietville never seems to end! But a great time had by all. I'll be back. Steve


haha Its a small world! I did the walk down Bungalow Spur a few years back, and its a bit of a long one. Very nice though, one of the few spurs in the country where you get to see the vegetation change so often as you climb or descend.

One visit is never enough though... My first visit to Feathertop, I would have been maybe around 8 years old or so (I think thats how old I was, its going back a while now!), and we climbed up Diamantina Spur in full white out, and spent the remainder of the day tent bound at Federation Hut, only to suddenly open up to being a very clear day.

This visit before Christmas was my third time on the mountain, and every time you visit, the mountain offers something completely different. Its a great place!
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby Snowzone » Sun 30 Dec, 2012 6:43 pm

Just back from two beautiful days at Feathertop. The weather was just magnificent and the views fantastic. We went out and back on the Razorback as we were limited with time.
Ryan you will be happy that we did not see any mountain bike riders on the trail. I did not notice any more erosion along the trail than in previous trips along there. Yes there are some 'smooth edge trails' but no more than in the past. Although I agree we all need to be aware of these issues and walk on the track, not the edges.
ryantmalone wrote:This visit before Christmas was my third time on the mountain, and every time you visit, the mountain offers something completely different. Its a great place!

It certainly is a wonderful place!
Good on you for your weight reduction and getting yourself back out and enjoying wonderful places.
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Sun 30 Dec, 2012 7:02 pm

Cheers! I think the softer edges were more prevalent in the mid section where you dip to 1600 meters before the climb up to the head of Champion Spur, but that does happen with many tracks.

As much as I may say one thing, when you have tired achy feet, its always hard to walk on the hard stuff.

As for the weight reduction, I'm currently paying the price for Christmas over indulgence, and will be at Mt Mcleod up at Buffalo next weekend to try and make good. ;)
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby quicky » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 6:52 am

ryantmalone wrote:
I'll definitely be shopping around a bit for my next boot/runner. I love the lightweight aspect of the runners I used, so if I can find one with a much more solid sole, I'll be sold! (not a pun, I swear!!)

I couldn't agree more re. Feather top region. I guess the same applies to much of Victoria's wilderness.... often underestimated by many. I remember snow camping at the base of Little Feathertop for 5 days, where one night, whilst in bed, I heard some serious rustling in the bushes coming 'up' from the valley below...it was about 9pm. I went outside and saw a young guy bush whacking through the scrub. When I asked him if he was ok, he replied, "I'm not sure...isn't there supposed to be a hut around here." he had a day pack on with some ski gear...and that was it. He looked scared.

Anyways, if you're looking for a pair of runners with some serious grip on them, be sure to check out the Inov-8 TrailRoc 245's or 255's. I have the 245's and couldn't be more happy with their grip...on trail, rock, snow or over mud....they are awesome. Plus, the toe region has a performance cut, so they let your toes splay as they would without shoes on, allowing for added proprioception. They also have a rock plate in the midsole for protection, with a rand in the needed spots plus they breathe very well. Well worth a look, relatively new on the market and at a decent price point. http://www.inov-8.com/New/Global/Produc ... .html?L=26
EDIT: These shoes are minimalist shoes, with reduced heel drop. The 255 has a 6mm drop as compared to normal trail runners which average approx. 12mm. Just sayin. :-)
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Re: Mt Feathertop 22nd - 24th December

Postby ryantmalone » Sun 13 Jan, 2013 7:41 pm

I may just have a look at those. I was let go by my crummy employers last week, so my hiking season is all but over at this stage, and may just have to sit it out with my current set of shoes.

Maelgwn wrote:
ryantmalone wrote:Oh, and if I can add a further lesson learned from this hike, it would have to be that the taste tester that Backcountry Cusine hires needs to be sacked.

I have never tasted anything more revolting in my life...


Maybe you just weren't hungry enough? ;-)

Home dehydrated is the best. Strive foods from Tasmania also do good dehydrated meals ( for the time poor).


I did order a few meals from Strive for a trip that I was supposed to do to Mt Buffalo last weekend, however I was let go from my job on the Thursday before, so had to give it a miss. Was not happy.

Nevertheless, got to try out Strive Bologaise, and am extremely impressed. Its not much different to what I would cook at home myself, not quite as tasty, but at the end of a long day on the track, it would be the best thing that I could possibly put in my belly. Seriously good stuff!
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