Snow camping and hiking

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

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 10:01 am

I use purpose made steel snow pegs.
I have done a number of trips up Mt. FT and Mt. Bogong in atrocious white season weather leading groups with the VNPA and going over to camp at Fitzgerald's hut in fierce winter winds.Even the summit of Mt. Stirling can really be heavy going in bad white season weather.

What Explora says is true to some extent.
If you cannot stay warm and dry in terrible winter weather then you should reconsider your trip.
If your gear and habits / knowledge cannot match what nature throws at you above the tree line and in the tree line then reassess your trip.
The snow camping for newbies at JB Hut and at Mt. Stirling are the best ways to start IMHO.
Getting over the summit of Mt. Bogong to CC hut in snow and ice is the interesting bit.
I would start with Michell hut and wait for a weather window before proceeding any further past Michell hut & / or Granite flat spur junction .
Poo pooing the snow shoe options that one has as well as great ski touring options starting from Falls Creek and looking at the BHP for a snow shoe/ ski tour is not what I would be doing.
The BHP is my favourite place to bushwalk and Nordic ski tour.It is a place that inspired me to learn to ski.
I saw the people on skis while I was snow shoe trekking with an overnght pack and realized that skiing is more efficient and involves skills and fun that snow shoes don't offer.
If you don't want to pay or think ski resorts are soft boy thingy places then try the 12 km day loop from TBJ or head up from Big Hill to Bogong Jack Saddle with a view to visiting the Fainters in clear weather.
I have been up there in heavy fog. You cannot see anything and you could be anywhere.
The views of Mt. FT from the Fainters are excellent in clear weather.
Even going over the summit at Falls Creek can be interesting in heavy fog, snow and wind.
If that is not hard core enough for you then a trip to Antarctica is next .

A good wild winter snow shoe tour I did solo some years ago was The Bluff spur hut to Craig's hut for lunch and back.

That was a solid day and if things went wrong out there then there was NOBODY out there to assist you.

You need to know what you can and cannot do safely and what time you will be back. In white season I insist on being back at the car/ hut/ tent /base by 4 pm.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 10:25 am

Xplora wrote:There is no need to go to resorts and you can't camp there anyway. Fed or CC huts are fine. Michell also but the boss should know weather is not something you can control. I suppose you can understand forecasts but if you are doing any multi day walk in the mountains you can expect some bad weather otherwise you just stay at home. It is also quite a long drive for you just to walk up a hill for one night or even just a day. The biggest draw back for winter BC camping is the long nights. It gets cold early and without a hut you are stuck in your tent unless you have suitable clothing. The sun can be gone around 4pm and after that you notice the temperature drop quickly. This is probably why so many people only BC camp near a hut. Huts get crowded quickly and are a great breeding place for lurgies on top of COVID. Nobody social distances in huts. Probably more danger hanging around a hut than in the BC on your own.

I'm not gonna gainsay anything quoted above. You know your stuff.
I guess what I mean is last weekend it was clear (or almost), low wind and forecast near 0% precipitation.
If it wasn't for my youngest selfishly having his b'day on Saturday and expecting me to be a "present" father, I'd have tried camping at Fed. Hut Sat. night (ungrateful sod!) :wink:
But there's a psychological comfort for my partner who isn't a fan of my "adventures", in that if the forecast is for mild conditions, she's happier than if it was forecast 50mm of precipitation and windy.
Workwise, I can't take time off yet, so weekends/long weekends only at the moment.
The drive is long, but I hadn't done anything approaching a serious bushwalk (Mason's Falls circuit in Kinglake NP doesn't count) for months, so was happy to do a day trip and smash my legs for a view of Feathertop.
Last edited by Baeng72 on Tue 21 Jun, 2022 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 10:35 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:If your gear and habits / knowledge cannot match what nature throws at you above the tree line and in the tree line then reassess your trip.


Reductio ad absurdum that means never leave home.
I'm sure if a tornado hit you in the snow, you'd not be able to match it.
There has to be a middle ground where you see the forecast, add in some protection if it goes sour (like I said, I had a lot of fleece/wool stuff that would keep me warm if wet on the way down), then go for it.
The chance of precipitation was about zero. Didn't seem to much of a risk.
Anyway, all the advice is good, so thank you. I don't want to come across if I'm ignoring it!
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 2:21 pm

Without a good Goretex jacket , Goretex overmittens and Goretex pants all your synthetic fleece and wool garments are not worth much.
Obviously if you see the Alpine weather forecast and it looks like only nutters would go out in a snow storm & /
or gale force winds etc. then your appraisal of the forecast would not be too far wrong.

If you want to keep fit in winter in the Alps then learnng to Nordic ski tour will make you very fit.
XC Skiing 10-20 kms a day will do the trick very nicely.
Cycling all year round is great exercise.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 23 Jun, 2022 8:22 am

A propos nothing in particular, how far do you reckon a 2WD with some clearance can get up Brock's road from Sheepyard Flat?
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 7:29 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Without a good Goretex jacket , Goretex overmittens and Goretex pants all your synthetic fleece and wool garments are not worth much.


Why only gortex? I am not referring just to the brand but the type of material we dump in the same category. I would also disagree with base layers not being worth much without the waterproof shell. Many times I have not bothered with overpants and just worn thermals under my trousers in the rain or snow.

It is a good idea to have waterproof and windproof clothing but there are lighter (and cheaper) versions that do just as well as gortex type products.

Baeng72 wrote:A propos nothing in particular, how far do you reckon a 2WD with some clearance can get up Brock's road from Sheepyard Flat?


Isn't procrastination a wonderful thing. The answer to your question is the same as how long a piece of string is but look here for what can happen to a 4wd https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/the-b ... st-5094666 This was taken by someone coming out of that area recently.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 8:06 am

I did have a water resistant (not waterproof) jacket, but left it in the car.
It wasn't gonna rain or snow in my non-professional opinion.
In the end, I'm responsible for my decisions, and still alive for now. :wink:

My idea of gear for crappy day is synthetic t-shirt, fleece, then jacket that's waterproof.
I'm not sure of the need for super expensive gear, just waterproof so I'd probably die on top of Bogong with cheap synthetic tshirt, fleece and plastic raincoat.
Make my memorial impressive please!

Bugger about Brocks road, that rules out overnighter to the Bluff with a bit of snowhoeing I guess.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 1:19 pm

You can hike up to the Bluff from 8 Mile flat. I have done it. The route can be unclear in deep snow but overall the 8 mile spur walking track is straightforward. You could get a 2 wd up to 8 Mile flat winter gate. There is a car parking space opposite the winter gate there . Just go slowly and use lower gear if need be.If it seems sketchy for your car then turn around.
You can walk from Sheepyard flat along the Howqua River to 8 Mile Flat and then walk up to Refrigerator Gap using the 8 Mile spur track.
From there either you follow the 4 WD track all the way up to the Bluff hut or scale the Bluff walking( grovelling ) track to the summit.
If you have
not used this nearly vertical route before in green season then be careful. It is steep. It does face north so it doesn't stay icy for long at all. The sun seems to cook off the ice but there will be some snow and wet slippery bits for sure.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Kman » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 2:13 pm

Hi all, three middled aged blokes planning to snow shoe it from Falls Creek car park to the Bogong High Plains in July. We have some hiking and camping experience, suitable gear but I have never snow camped. Thinking of walking to Edmonsons Hut on the first day. Is there a nice three day loop back to the car park? I estimate snow shoes will slow us down and should only be able to walk 10km or so per day. Any tips for navigating and pace setting?
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 2:26 pm

You can get a 2 wd up Carter's road to Tomahawk gap . From there you can slog it up the zig zag route up Road No. 3 to the No. 3 refuge hut for a day & night of snow camping at the hut on snow shoes.
Wait for a decent snow fall so you don't have to carry your snow shoes strapped to your pack. After a proper low snowfall Tomahawk gap will have snow on the ground.Park the jalopy at the large clearing there and go up past the winter locked gate at Rd. No. 3..
Keppel's Hut near Lake Mountain is another option for an overnighter in winter . Again wait for some proper snow to fall . At present the Mt. Margaret road is closed AFAIK so you will have wait until DEWLP have finished working up there.
Usually Mt. Margaret road up to the locked winter gate at Lady Talbot road is fine for 2 WD but trees do fall down there on those carriage ways so DEWLP are getting rid of the dead tree fall hazard as best they can.
Access to Keppel's creek camp site may still be open lower down which could be good for two days of activity at Lake Mountain. I need to ring Marysville DEWLP office about that soon.

What about Mt. Torbreck?
There is a camp site of sorts at Barnewall plains. It is Just a flat clearing with a picnic table before the summit track starts in earnest really but Mt. Torbeck is fine for snow shoe trekking. It holds snow quite well on the summit ridge.It is steep in places and will get the heart pumping !
The access by 2 WD coming in from Thornton along well used unsealed logging roads up to the junction with Conn's Gap rd. is fine for 2 WD.
You can get up to Arnold Gap and Snowy Hill car park near Lake Mtn. coming in from Camberville.
You will need a ROOFTOPS map of the area to figure that one out.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 2:41 pm

Thanks PCV! There's a lot of options.
Regarding the bluff, it was only a brain-fart, nowhere near a plan. Just wondering about options.
For a snowshoe walk I was thinking the Klingsporn track from Mirimbah up to Buller and back in a day. Somewhere up high there'd be snow, in the end I went to Feathertop, lugging the snow shoes on the back a lot of the time.
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 7:22 pm

Many people go climbing up the west ridge of Mt. Buller in winter but AFAIK it is not a beginner snow trek in winter. Ice axes and crampons could be necessary.
:-0
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 24 Jun, 2022 7:29 pm

After a huge dump of low level snow The Warburton to Mt. Donna Buang walking track is a snow hiking option.
I still have yet to walk the whole thing from Warburton. It is 1000 M. vertical elevation gain.

Mt. Juliet near Healsville is bleeding steep ( never again ! :-0 ) and would get snow after a snow in strange places ( SISP ) cold front passes through.

Mount Saint Gwinear in the Baw Baw N.P. is worth visiting any time of the year.I have been
up from the Mt. Erica car park to Mt. Erica( Baw Baw N.P. )
in deep snow in snow shoes. It was quite the white season day hike adventure .
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Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Sat 25 Jun, 2022 11:10 am

Kman wrote:Hi all, three middled aged blokes planning to snow shoe it from Falls Creek car park to the Bogong High Plains in July. We have some hiking and camping experience, suitable gear but I have never snow camped. Thinking of walking to Edmonsons Hut on the first day. Is there a nice three day loop back to the car park? I estimate snow shoes will slow us down and should only be able to walk 10km or so per day. Any tips for navigating and pace setting?


Firstly, welcome to the forum with this post. Not knowing how fast you travel or how long you like to walk in one day, it is a bit hard to comment on distance. It is harder walking in snow but the northern BHP is quite easy walking so you could do more than 10k per day without trouble. Stay off the groomed tracks or you will incur the wrath of skiers but if the tracks are iced over (as they often are in the mornings) don't worry too much as you will not damage them.

Hard to do a loop on that side but it a good place to start some snow camping experience. The advantage of snow cover is you are not restricted to the normal tracks so if you nav skills are good you may be able to work out a bit of loop in some areas. For instance you can nav from Johnsons hut to Kellys or Fitzgeralds. Edmonsons to Ropers hut would not be a full day. At best a half day. If it were me, I would get 9am start from Windy Corner and up Heathy Spur to Ropers hut on the first day. Next day to Johnsons and some off track nav to Fitzgeralds hut which will leave the last day a bit shorter back to Windy corner. If you skip Johnsons then you just follow the signs and stay on the snow covered tracks or roads.
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