Mount Difficult Circuit

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Victoria specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Kickinghorse » Fri 02 Apr, 2021 11:32 am

To those who aren’t away for Easter, we plan to head over next week to walk the MDC, haven’t done it for many years and it looks like there formed campsites now? Main question though, what is water availability like these days?
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Fri 02 Apr, 2021 6:28 pm

There is a tank at long point west. I can't offer any insight as to whether it has water or not. But the Mackenzie nearby should have water I think.

I'd expect Mud Hut ck to be dry.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Kickinghorse » Fri 02 Apr, 2021 8:25 pm

Thanks Craig. Looks like there’s been a fair bit of input up there as regards parks Victoria. Wonder if the closure of some campsites are sympathetic to environmental concerns or just in relation to decreased budgets/Heath and safety etc.Last time I did the circuit was in 1990.
When as it was then for all the Grampians range pretty much your own adventure.

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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Fri 02 Apr, 2021 8:49 pm

Longpoint west has sites levelled and marked out with logs plus a toilet so not quite the bush camp experience. Longpoint east has no infrastructure at all. All the other sites are officially closed. They're building (possibly finished) a new camp with platforms nearer the Mt Difficult summit. The old route between Beehive and Briggs is closed/no longer maintained but you can still walk it easily enough. There's details in an older thread here if you search back (including an excellent map by tinoB with details of water etc)

The troopers creek approach is also closed (I have never done it) although there's enough trip reports around to suggest it can still be done. Not sure why it was closed as I think it pre-dates the new peaks track.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Kickinghorse » Sat 03 Apr, 2021 6:12 am

The Troopers approach was fairly steep but picturesque as you passed under vertical cliffs etc.Rock climbers accessed these in certain spots and I suspect there are overhangs/caves up there.Also as you progressed there were great views of the country out to the west. Imagine parks have closed these track to focus resources on the new Grampians Trail (there’s that word again) for which they can charge and control numbers via a booking system.
Another approach was up from the Plantation Picnic Ground, which was very steep but also rewarding re the views to the east.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 03 Apr, 2021 5:12 pm

I have walked up the Trooper's creek route back in the day .It was quite the adventure with steep rock scrambles and good views . The Route up from Plantation campsite is probably feasible using a Map and compass but a DIY kind of route which is not encouraged.
The Old route up Mt. Stapleton has been nanny state modified so that the exposed ledge walking that one used to do back in the day is now not on that 'new' route anymore.

The Grampians were once quite a wild place but they have been given the Nanny state treatment . Only the A**es Ears day walk and segments of The Fortress walk reminds me of how it once was back when I was 21 not 51 years of age. Back then There were No risk averse signs, no handrails, no steps, no fences, no warnings , no nothing!.

Just look what The Nanny state squad have done to the Balconies. Enough said :-( .
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Sat 03 Apr, 2021 7:04 pm

Could pm you some partial off track alternates around Briggs Bluff if you like PCV?

I don't hate the peaks trail but it's a shame it's one size fits all. Could have been so much more with a bit more vision.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Kickinghorse » Sun 04 Apr, 2021 10:38 am

The Route up from Plantation campsite is probably feasible using a Map and compass but a DIY kind of route which is not encouraged.


This is what has led to the Nanny approach you talk of. A long time since I did the walk up from the plantation but in those days the track was well used and clear. It then joined up with a track at the tops running north south all the way from beehive falls. Certainly no need for map and compass! I suspect it’s still there and walkable.
Craig on this Topo link look up Mount Difficult zoom in and you will see all existing tracks and the path I mention.

https://www.geoplaner.com/

When returning along the western side of Mount Difficult before the falls, we used to bash down through slabs of rock with little scrub to talk of and emerge about a third of the way along the road to Troopers Creek CG. Now wouldn’t that be frowned upon now!

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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby ggorgeman » Sun 04 Apr, 2021 3:49 pm

Did a Mt Difficult loop last November, which included an overnight stay at Longpoint West. There is a (new) tank and toilet there, but I'm unsure of tank water level, if any right now. Was plenty of water back then and numerous water courses running back then. But that's 5 mths ago. I found previous posts here very useful, and also added my report. Enjoy.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 11 Jun, 2021 4:04 pm

I see on Parks' Grampians site the section between 'Deep Creek Junction' and the 'Summit Junction' is closed for GPT work.
I was hoping to get up there in the next few months and do the loop.
Is there any idea when the track will open again?
Is it feasible to walk that section without a SWAT team descending on you or falling off a newly created dangerous bit that will one day have a nice GPT bridge? Maybe they've put in pitbulls and traps for bushwalkers who want to do a sneaky loop?
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Sat 12 Jun, 2021 7:05 am

I'm not aware of anywhere parks provides any detail about the works except the change of conditions which you've seen. The periodic community update isn't helpful for dates or anything really.

When they close a section they're not there everyday working so if a tree falls and there was no one to hear it? But what if they are working that day?

If you head up from the new troopers then you'll get to the closure reasonably quickly and if progress is impossible won't have walked too far.

It's frustrating that just when you get your head around a section and think maybe it's not too bad they're back infilling it with more track work.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 12 Jun, 2021 10:41 am

Thanks CraigVIC. I reckon then that it might be a bit sketchy to walk that loop.
I didn't know you could access Mt Difficult from Troopers any more.
Mt Difficult circuit and Major Mitchell Plateau are partially closed due to GPT.
I think you can go as far as past First Wannon, but have to backtrack and head down Stockyard Track and road bash to Jimmy Creek.
EDIT: For some reason I thought Stockyard Track was in that saddle between Mt William and Major Mitchell Plateau.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Sat 12 Jun, 2021 11:59 am

It is confusing because there was a troopers ck campground with access to mt difficult that has been closed but appears on lots of maps. A short distance down the road they have built a new campground and called it troopers. They have just opened a new track from this campground up to difficult (the old dead bullock ck footpad) but it doesn't appear on even their own maps.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby bmak » Mon 14 Jun, 2021 11:51 pm

The plateau can be crossed again now and it’s just the small section to Jimmy’s Creek that has current works.
The northern section from Mt difficult has plenty of closed tracks at the moment as I found out today.
Wartook lookout to halls gap is open.


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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 15 Jun, 2021 8:13 am

Thanks bmak,
I'll keep in mind that I can cross the Major Mitchell Plateau.
The walk down stockyard track/Emmett road/Jimmy Creek road seemed like it might be a long detour.
Is 1st Wannon the only place you can camp on the Plateau. I guess if you start from sheep hills, slog up to Mt Difficult, drop down and then back up to the plateau, you don't want to walk further than that before camping?
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby bmak » Tue 15 Jun, 2021 1:01 pm

Yes 1st Wannon is the only official camp. It is pretty hard going if coming from sheep hills depending on fitness. Another good option is to camp just off the other side or maybe head down to Mafeking.
I’ve then walked the power line back towards Kalymna and up to boundary gap.


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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 16 Jun, 2021 9:04 pm

What's Parks attitude to a bit DIY track following in the Grampians?
It seems more permissive in the Grampians than say the Prom which I think has the fungus issue, except the Northern Circuit which is make your own track half the time.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 16 Jun, 2021 10:03 pm

Off track walking is allowed and will continue even after the new management plan comes in. Camping is heavily restricted and will be more so in the future. If you want to do it by the book load the visitor guide into Avenza and check the hatched areas. Just one example, it is currently possible to make your own way up to Briggs and camp on the way.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 16 Jun, 2021 10:35 pm

I feel a bit *&%$#! asking this on a Mount Difficult topic, but since the plateau was mentioned.
I will leave Mt Difficult until I can do the loop. Not sure why, but it's something unfinished between that geosyncline and I. Mano a roca (hand to rock).
I'm thinking of doing Major Mitchell plateau with a 'shortcut' that could be painful, but is it Northern circuit painful or worse terminal velocity painful or just bit of scrub and steep rock painful?
i'd start and end at Sheep Hills carpark (Mt William would be part of first day, because never done it. second day from 1st Wannon to Durd-Durd, then bush-bash until fire trail, after that back to Sheep Hills).
The plateau looks typical Grampians rock slabs and scrub (obviously very low resolution, so could be Alpine Sharks in pits with bamboo spikes), the spur down is where my heavy frame and lack of coordination might be an issue...
MMPLATEAU02.JPG
This is the 'shortcut'

MMPLATEAU04.JPG
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby bmak » Wed 16 Jun, 2021 11:42 pm

My guess with fairly decent knowledge of the area is it would be very tough going if even possible.
All my random off track navigation in the Grampians has been rarely successful but I do continue to punish myself.
I went off track in Mt Difficult range over the weekend and have the scars to prove it. After 1hr of pushing through scrub that was trying tear me open I gave up and headed for the nearest track.


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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Thu 17 Jun, 2021 7:44 am

The topo/satelite will never give you quite enough detail so you have to build in plenty of allowance for backtracking and the possibility it just doesn't work. Even a reasonably small sheer drop will be a dead end if you can't find a way around it. To me this looks like a good trip but I'd say you need to plan for the possibility of a full retreat back to the track. In my (limited) experience there's usually a way down/around any problem in the grampians but the commitment can escalate pretty quickly if you start to lose confidence you can get back up or down a pinch. On my recent wallaby rocks trip I was making less than a kilometer per hour.

For me this would definitely be something I would be doing if I wanted prove to myself I could do it rather than just a work around for a track closure as it seems much more ambitious than that.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 17 Jun, 2021 9:13 am

Thanks for the replies. I've had a look at the slop using DEMs files, which are more accurate than a topo map. And it's not majorly steep 600m over 4km. The steep descent on the spur is 400m over just under 2km.
But the issue is as CraigVIC mentions, a small drop/cliff that is too small to be picked up by the DEMs 10m granularity.
And then also murderous scrub.
I'd be doing it as both a 'shortcut' and a bit of an adventure.
Anyway, I'd have to be feeling adventurous to try it I think. :)
Thanks for advice!
MMSLOPE.JPG
Slope from near Durd-Durd to fire trail

MMFALSE.JPG
Slope: brighter is steeper, darker is gentler slope.
Blue line indicates spur (dark area above line is top of ridge)
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Thu 17 Jun, 2021 11:49 am

It would be welcome news if it could be established as viable. I don't hate the peaks trail in general but the steps they have installed down to Jimmy creek are appalling and would better suit a landscaped garden than a bushwalk.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby north-north-west » Thu 17 Jun, 2021 1:41 pm

Steps are better erosion control than slopes, which is why they tend to be popular on many recently improved tracks.
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Re: Mount Difficult Circuit

Postby CraigVIC » Thu 17 Jun, 2021 2:07 pm

I don't doubt that is true and perhaps they will be justified by the traffic but they are very unpleasant to walk on and look totally incongruous on such a mild gradient. They may settle to look better with time as they were pretty fresh when I saw them.
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