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

Fri 19 Mar, 2021 6:39 pm

Hello everyone,

I would like to do a lesser crowded trail of the Bogong High Plains by skipping the Diamantina Spur.
I am wondering what people's thoughts are whether or not there are any slightly easier alternatives to summit Feathertop?

I am thinking of bush bashing up one of the spurs from the base of Kiewa River towards North Peak and then to the top of Mt Feathertop.
I was wondering if anyone has done this recently and what the conditions were? Would there be a lot of overgrown scrub or is there now some traces of a route? We plan to camp at the base by the Kiewa river after coming up from the turn-off at Diamantina Spur.

This is part of a loop I am planning from Pretty Valley over the Easter weekend.
The unmarked trail in question is the red line in the image below:

Thank you.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Fri 19 Mar, 2021 9:28 pm

From Blairs there's a foot track nearly north to the road, meeting this about 400 metres uphill of the gate. However, the river crossing at the hut is wet. Either wade through with wet boots or take off the boots. The former has never appealed and the latter will take time, so I've always gone south from the hut to get to Diamantina. If coming from Westons avoid the hut and go straight ahead to the West Kiewa Road.

The start of Diamantina is savage, 400 metres up/km distance. The start of the ridge you are suggesting is easier, 260 metres/km. Diamantina is about 800 metres of climbing (there are a few down sections) and the NE ridge is about 1000 metres. Diamantina gets you to a point where you don't have to take full packs up Feathertop.

If the NE scrub is anything like Diamantina it will be very thick, especially in the lower sections. I suggest that one reason there's no track down the NE ridge is due to the scrub, and perhaps because there's no need for most people. The same applies to other Feathertop and Razorback spurs.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Sat 20 Mar, 2021 4:48 pm

The NE spur of Mt. FT is a hero hike according to "Baw Baw Bell " , a ski forum member. He says the blackberries that infest the bottom section are just hideous , then the scrub is quite thick until you reach the snow gums where it thins out. The route reaches the tree line by way of a steep trackless ascent. After the last major bushfires in that section of the Upper West Kiewa Valley , the route opened up a window of opportunity for first class masochists par excellence.
The lines and terrain the NE spur opens up to dare devil back country Alpine Touring skiers is said to be noteworthy.

What makes the OP think that the very steep Diamantina spur would be very busy over Easter ?
. Only nutters and self flagellants use that route really. I have no plans of going up or down the Diamantina spur again anytime soon.
The NW spur has a clear track that was cleared a year ago. It is very steep.
Scrub bashing is always easier going down.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Wed 31 Mar, 2021 9:29 pm

Thanks. We'll go up Diamantina Spur as it seems that there are no other better alternatives.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Thu 01 Apr, 2021 5:45 am

You may meet Stacey going down.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Thu 01 Apr, 2021 10:26 am

hahaha! we will be coming down diamantina April 13...

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Thu 06 May, 2021 11:08 am

Pretty late reply on this (I'm going to try to get back into posting); how did you go with Diamantina? I've only done it once, it was early September, lots of snow cover and found it pretty straight forward. Probably similar difficulty to the North West Spur. Definitely not busy either.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Sat 08 May, 2021 6:30 pm

I would imagine Champion spur would be over grown by now. It does not take long for those steep bulldozed fire trails to revert to becoming wild jungle again.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Sun 09 May, 2021 5:55 pm

Hi All,

I did a less travelled loop that may suit the OP last Friday/Saturday? Starting at the Trout Farm on Stony Creek Road I followed the NW Spur track until I picked up the base of Bungalow Spur. Once on Bungalow Spur I scrub bashed up to meet the walking track just past Tobias Gap (at around the 1200 metre contour). There was an overgrown firebreak up the crest of the spur for the first kilometre which helped a bit and then things got progressively harder until I was down to less the 500 metres an hour when I emerged onto the walking track. Once on the Bungalow Spur Track it was 'happy days' all the way to the top.

I camped near Molly Hill on this trip which not only made the summit a bit closer for sunrise but also allowed for some great views from camp, I'd only camp here if I was reasonably confident of some benign conditions though.

The next day after watching sunrise from Mt Feathertop I dropped down NW Spur back to Stony Creek Road.

I'll post some links to the trip report when I get it online however here's a couple of quick observations. The crux of the walk was the off piste section on the lower bit of Bungalow Spur, definitely harder than last time I did it over 20 years ago. The bush on Bungalow Spur looks like it copped a hotter fire than the bush over on the NW Spur. The spring on Bungalow Spur Track now is signposted and has a formal cut track to it (remember its been more than 20 years since I've been up this way :roll: ) The grassy flats around Federation Hut look like they are being loved to death - although that may just be because we are at the end of summer? The NW Spur Track is still a knee trembler (yes, it's a pretty safe bet it wasn't going to get easier with age!) although taking my time going down meant that it was all pretty good really with not much in the way of scrub or fallen trees to negotiate.

I only met a handful of people over the Friday / Saturday - although I'm sure the more popular routes would of been busy.


Feathertop sunrise last Saturday
Ovens Valley
NW Spur Track traversing the steep slopes of Feathertop.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Mon 10 May, 2021 2:43 pm ... 019.84309/

Big Kev's trip reminds me of my trek up there in April 2019.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Mon 10 May, 2021 3:58 pm

I like that last pic. BK :D

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Tue 11 May, 2021 7:10 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:

Big Kev's trip reminds me of my trek up there in April 2019.

Yes, it was a similar walk - I just cut out the road bash with some off piste walking - it cut out a lot of distance however the regrowth was tough.
Last edited by bigkev on Tue 11 May, 2021 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Tue 11 May, 2021 7:13 am

stry wrote:I like that last pic. BK :D

I think that the top sections of NW Spur make for some really nice walking Stry, I wouldn't fancy traversing this gully in winter though!

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Tue 11 May, 2021 12:11 pm

Definitely BK. A long slide and a messy stop.

Reminds me of the day in the upper Howqua when I was traversing a steep snow slope and slowly kicking steps as I went. I looked down the slope at one point and did think that perhaps there were smarter things to be doing on a winters afternoon :lol:

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Tue 11 May, 2021 5:49 pm

The only bit that is a real problem on NW spur in winter is where the spring crosses the track right up the top. It is the reason I have crampons. No kicking steps in the ice.

Re: Feathertop ridges routes

Wed 12 May, 2021 12:49 am

Xplora wrote:The only bit that is a real problem on NW spur in winter is where the spring crosses the track right up the top. It is the reason I have crampons. No kicking steps in the ice.

The best rout in winter up feathertop from the NW spur is to just continue up the spur, just stop before the cornice at the top.

I need not say that this is best avoided in a white out, but going either route in a white out is a foolhardy choice (there's plenty of cliffs above and below the NW route where it cuts though the gully near the spring).
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