How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH?

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How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH?

Postby bongoman » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 10:03 am

I'm booked to start walking on the Overland Track in late May and trying to maximise my time on the track and fit in Pine Valley Hut side trip along with walking out from Narcissus to Cynthia Bay. Ideally I would spend 7 nights out there.

But I also have to juggle the logistics of getting to and from Launceston and the limited availability of shuttle buses at that time of year.

McDermotts run a bus to Cradle Mountain that leaves Launceston at 7:30am and gets me in at 10:30 to the CM Visitors' Centre. Is this setting me up for a too late of a start on day one from Ronny Creek to Waterfall Valley Hut?

The alternative is to leave the next day on a more direct 6:30 shuttle that would have me on the trail a couple of hours earlier but then I start a day later and would have to forego Pine Valley side trip. This would only give me 6 nights on the track.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Warin » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 10:38 am

Parks has Waterfall Valley hut 10.7 km 4-6 hours. Say an hour for lunch + stops .. so say 7 hours ..
10.30 start bus 30 mins to Ronny Ck .. so a 6 pm finish at Waterfall valley .. dark?

Have you been to Cradle before? If not could be worth spending a day (or certainly more if you have time) there. Do Pine Valley on your next trip ... you can get there from Lake St Clair and spend more time there as you'll have a much shorter trip to get there.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 11:00 am

Warin wrote:Parks has Waterfall Valley hut 10.7 km 4-6 hours. Say an hour for lunch + stops .. so say 7 hours ..
10.30 start bus 30 mins to Ronny Ck .. so a 6 pm finish at Waterfall valley .. dark?

Have you been to Cradle before? If not could be worth spending a day (or certainly more if you have time) there. Do Pine Valley on your next trip ... you can get there from Lake St Clair and spend more time there as you'll have a much shorter trip to get there.


Don't forget to allow another ~30min for the compulsory lecture at the visitors centre before you get handed your pass and can start the OT. May take longer if they are waiting for other people to join the lecture.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Nuts » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 11:58 am

And if there's snow the times can more than double. Not fit, properly equipped and not familiar (or lucky), triple maybe (10-12hrs)
otoh 3-4 hrs is a reasonable time, for a young/ fit walker, lightly packed, 'geared up' and on a mission.. & familiar with the area (even if tending a bit less-lucky :) ) Less than 3 would be many people's jogging really (given the slower sections), and a bit risky solo, though not beyond some experienced & lightly-packed locals .
Last edited by Nuts on Thu 11 Apr, 2024 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Biggles » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 12:14 pm

Waterfall Valley is beautiful in autumn (hint: go now! :lol: ), though doubtful as bewitching a scene that late in May; beside the point though, I thought looking at your plans if you arrive a day or two earlier to "chill out" (er, well, it won't exactly be balmy...), you can plan to start at a more leisurely pace, albeit with the caveat of being able to organise transport (and the options on that point do niggle people). @Warin makes the point of the distance and shorter daylight hours (many walkers can take longer than Parks' estimate, including me, inclined to stop and photograph so often!), so you could perhaps be pulling in on the cusp of darkness, or feeble light at most. If McDerm's arrives at around 10.30am (assuming no delays), perhaps expect to be hitting the track around 11.30-ish, maybe longer if you have lunch before the start (?). I realise though you might not have any longer than 7 days, so something will have to give.

Factors to consider: the distance and available daylight hours, your usual, conditioned pace of walking (>4 to 5km/h) with a pack; terrain (it is not flat beyond Cradle...), weather (fog, rain, snow), etc.

I note on my walk 5 years ago our group was slowed down dramatically clearing Marion Peak in heavy fog, then even heavier rain — we just could not find the route with clarity! This walk was in mid-April, and in a group of widely varying degrees of ability — the youngest (13-18) the most agile and energetic, the oldest, slowest and most temperamental! :lol:
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby MrWalker » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 3:35 pm

You won't do it in under 4 hours, and 5-6 hrs would be more reasonable - if the weather is good.
I have walked from Ronny Creek to Waterfall Hut in 3 hrs, but that was with a day pack, and a few years ago, when I could walk faster than anyone else in Tasmania. Even a very fit walker with a standard pack would take over 4 hrs.

Check the weather before you leave. People have died on that section, by leaving too late in poor weather, and unable to make it to the hut before dark.

If you leave before midday, you can probably get there just before dark, but only if you don't stop along the way, and you are fit enough to maintain a good pace on a rough track with a full pack.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby JamesMc » Fri 12 Apr, 2024 3:02 pm

Alternatively, spend your first night at Scott Kilvert Hut for a slightly shorter first day.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Warin » Fri 12 Apr, 2024 3:31 pm

JamesMc wrote:Alternatively, spend your first night at Scott Kilvert Hut for a slightly shorter first day.


10.7 to Waterfall
8.5 to Scott Kilvert Hut

2.2 km...
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby north-north-west » Fri 12 Apr, 2024 5:54 pm

Warin wrote:
JamesMc wrote:Alternatively, spend your first night at Scott Kilvert Hut for a slightly shorter first day.


10.7 to Waterfall
8.5 to Scott Kilvert Hut

2.2 km...


And easier walking.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Nuts » Sat 13 Apr, 2024 9:13 am

Reflecting back to the OP.

Sounds like something needs to change as the bookings creep into winter. Maybe P&W need to do the briefing once, early, and dispel the idea of traveling/not spending a night at Cradle Mt. before the walk. Or ensure an even earlier shuttle from the coast is in place. Given, what obviously plays out, suggestions the time is too little, suggest diversions- more likely ends up a miserable night in an emergency shelter.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Nuts » Sat 13 Apr, 2024 9:34 am

MrWalker wrote:You won't do it in under 4 hours, and 5-6 hrs would be more reasonable - if the weather is good.
I have walked from Ronny Creek to Waterfall Hut in 3 hrs, but that was with a day pack, and a few years ago, when I could walk faster than anyone else in Tasmania. Even a very fit walker with a standard pack would take over 4 hrs..


Ah, you aren't a jogger then :)
I would agree though, this is a long piece of string, for many even 4hrs is very ambitious.

OP-take some shoe spikes. Even if the distance is a doddle, the final descent to WFV (and other places) can ice over in the late afternoon, slowing pace/ adding risk.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby headwerkn » Sat 13 Apr, 2024 11:10 am

I’ve done Ronny to Waterfall in 2hr20min, incl. 5min at Kitchen Hut to adjust gear. That’s walking with a ~20kg pack, but hustling hard at the start of a blizzard (snow falling but not much on the ground, wet but no ice) to get dry gear to someone, but yeah it can be done. I’m reasonably fit, but no uber-athlete. Importantly, I was familiar with the track too.

Suffice to say I was focussed on the task at hand and wasn’t stopping to admire the view, and that’s where times quickly start to stretch out. Ideally you want to enjoy yourself and your surroundings, especially this time of year. To say nothing of side trips up Cradle and/or Barn.

Yes, a 12pm start from Ronny Crk could conceivably see you at Waterfall Valley by late afternoon/before dark (this time of year anyway) if:

- You’re a fit capable walker who can maintain a decent pace with a week-long pack, bearing in mind the first 6km is mostly uphill.
- You’re strict with your stops for photos etc. Preferably eat on the fly.
- You’re happy to do no side trips. Which would be a shame if it’s your first visit.
- And the weather’s on your side. It can get very blowy and icy up there. Agree with Nuts, take microspikes. Well worth the wait. The Cirque and steps down into Waterfall are notorious for icing up.

I tend to agree with the others: consider staying at Scott Kilvert for your first night. With an early start you can push through to Windermere the next day and maintain your schedule for Pine Valley.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby north-north-west » Sat 13 Apr, 2024 12:53 pm

headwerkin:
Also remembering how rough and rocky the sidle around Cradle/Benson is.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby headwerkn » Mon 15 Apr, 2024 2:09 pm

north-north-west wrote:headwerkin:
Also remembering how rough and rocky the sidle around Cradle/Benson is.


True, going via Hansons Peak side might more sense, depending on time and weather.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby Nuts » Wed 17 Apr, 2024 9:34 am

The climb out to the cirque is a big effort to start day-2. Anyone heading this way might have a better experience in wild weather, but it's going to make for a relatively big second day, rather than a shorter (recovery) day.

This topic should probably be in the OT section.
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 05 May, 2024 10:16 am

My friend and I are planning to start at approx. 11.30am - -12 noon on 14-5-24. We are fit and experienced walkers.
We plan to go straight through to WVH from The starting point of the OLT heading south
We have microspikes, head torches, map, compass, GPS, PLB etc..
To save time we will eat something while we are being shown the video by Parks Tas. ..
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Re: How late is too late to start walking Ronny Creek to WVH

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 23 May, 2024 9:37 pm

It took almost six hours to reach WFV hut. If we
had left any later than 10 am we would have arrived on dusk if not later.
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