Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

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Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Same » Fri 24 Dec, 2021 9:03 pm

I'm really keen on hiking the Crosscut Saw and the surrounding area, but I'm a bit stuck on the best way to get there.

I drive a Holden Cruze Sedan so I'm fairly limited in the roads I can take. I've driven in to near Kings Hut and 8 mile flat campground but both of those were pretty sketchy to drive and with recent weather I worry about the condition of the roads.

Any advice as to where I should start my hike from? At the moment I think Buller is my best bet, but I'm wondering what trails to take then to create a nice loop back to the car.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 24 Dec, 2021 9:07 pm

Approach from Upper Howqua campsite.
The walk in from Howitt road is shorter/easier, but the road might not be 2WD friendly.
I drove to Upper Howqua in November, track is fine, as long as you're OK chugging at 40kmh for basically an hour.
Don't try the Helicopter Spur, or Stanley Name Spur, (unless fit), just up the Howqua Feeder/Howitt Spur track to west Peak onto Mt Howitt, onto Crosscut, or Mac Springs.
So yeah, Turn left at Mirimbah towards Mt Stirling, take the right fork at Tele box junction, left at Howqua Gap, right down Bindaree track, past the falls, turn left at the sign, cross the bridge and voila!
Create a loop by heading down Queen Spur? from Mt Buggery, the horror! (or so I'm lead to believe) or Stanley Name Spur.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 24 Dec, 2021 9:17 pm

Your car is not really suited to starting the Cross cut saw hike from Howitt Plains/Mac. Springs car park . You can get a 2 WD down the dirt road ( Bindaree road ) to the Upper Howqua camp site coming in from the Circuit road on Mt. Stirling.
https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to- ... mping-area

From there you can trek up the Howitt track and Spend a night somewhere near Mac. Springs. Carry a spare 4 L. water bladder so you can camp somewhere away from the Mac. Springs hut if need be.
Then you can trek over the Cross cut saw. If you are really fit then you can head for Mt. Spec. on the same day once you have reached the summit of Mt. Howitt.
Be sure to have enough drinking water !.
Camping at the Upper Howqua camp site the night before means you can start walking early just after dawn before the heat of the day sets in .The camp site is very pleasant.
In terms of a longer circuit you can return from Mt. Spec. and descend via Stanley name spur. The track junction is in a grassy saddle on the AAWT that is marked by a GGS log book in a plastic bottle.The track is relatively easy to follow.
It is steep and rocky with three ? bands of rock scrambling but once you reach the saddle about 1-2 kms down from the Cross cut saw ridge there is a good camp site there with reliable water about 70 m. north . The foot pad is obvious and you can hear the water from the main SNS track. Camping there makes a lot of sense and you get a different route back to the Upper Howqua area where you left your car. The last 5 kms retraces the outward bound route along the river with 5 river crossings which add interest. Just leave your boots on since you will be finishing the walk soon. Leeches and snakes are about so be alert not alarmed.

If you carry enough food and stove fuel then consider walking back from Mt. Spec. over Mt. Howitt to camp near Hellfire creek at Big Hill Saddle on the AAWT. Then continue past King Billy Tree and Lovick's hut to The Bluff Hut. Camp near there for another night . There is usually water in the tank at the Bluff Hut. Then the next day walk along the Bluff Link road which will take you down to the Bindaree hut and the Upper Howqua campsite.
If you were to do this then you would be looking at approximately 5 days in the field.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby north-north-west » Sat 25 Dec, 2021 5:33 am

I second the other comments. Start from Upper Howqua via Bindaree Rd. That gives you a number of options depending on how many days you have and how hard a walk you want. Helicopter Spur, Howqua Feeder, Stanleys Name, Queens Spur are all open to you so it's easy to put together a circuit.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Sat 25 Dec, 2021 6:08 am

You can get onto Stanley Name Spur from the circuit road which is all 2wd but you should be able to get to the Upper Howqua camp as mentioned.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Hisham » Sat 25 Dec, 2021 8:25 am

Yea I did the queen spur about this time in 2016. Came down from Mt Buggery back to Upper Howqua via that Queen Spur. Started off ok, got a bit overgrown, then I had to battle my way through 2-3 metre sapplings and underbrush for kms. head was down, hands and polls up trying to crash my way through. Was quite an adventure. Lost my map and case in there somewhere but survived.

Wouldn't opt for that route again!

Baeng72 wrote:Approach from Upper Howqua campsite.
The walk in from Howitt road is shorter/easier, but the road might not be 2WD friendly.
I drove to Upper Howqua in November, track is fine, as long as you're OK chugging at 40kmh for basically an hour.
Don't try the Helicopter Spur, or Stanley Name Spur, (unless fit), just up the Howqua Feeder/Howitt Spur track to west Peak onto Mt Howitt, onto Crosscut, or Mac Springs.
So yeah, Turn left at Mirimbah towards Mt Stirling, take the right fork at Tele box junction, left at Howqua Gap, right down Bindaree track, past the falls, turn left at the sign, cross the bridge and voila!
Create a loop by heading down Queen Spur? from Mt Buggery, the horror! (or so I'm lead to believe) or Stanley Name Spur.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 25 Dec, 2021 5:50 pm

SV and Rooftops maps no longer show the Mt. Buggery / Queens spur/ Queen's spur logging road route off the Cross Cut Saw. It is a scrub bash that even the Timber top GGS students no longer persist with.
I have been curious about it but as the OP has mentioned he/ she cannot recommend it.
I have walked the SNS route from The Circuit road. If you start there then camping at the SNS campsite where the water is just north of the foot track makes a lot of sense. It would be a long day from the Circuit road to the SNS camp site. After the four ways at Queen's spur road/ SNS track junction near the old dug out fire shelter the track becomes a bit scrubby as it continues up SNS and is not 100 % obvious until you hit the ridge line.
This route adds more effort and KMs to the mission.
I have walked SNS , up and down// from/ to Mac. springs . It is worth doing but I am not in a hurry to do it again soon.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 29 Dec, 2021 2:27 am

Sort of trip report:
I had a bit of a wander from Upper Howqua up the Howitt Spur on Monday.
It's easy for 3 km, a bit steep for the next km or so, dozen switchbacks, flattens out for a bit, then progressively steeper until more switchbacks and a little bit of rocky track at the top.
When I saw the bluff at the top of West Peak, I thought 'oh no, another Helicopter Spur!', but it doesn't go straight up over the rocks.
It took me about 6 hours from Upper Howqua to Mac Springs, I had a bit of a cold the week before and am not a supreme specimen, so a fit person could do it in less.
Once you get up high, the trees receded and the views are great. Pretty special views I'd say.
Setup camp near the hut and chilled for a while, had a few chats with other bushwalkers.
Met PCV and we had a chat with some others at Vallejo Ganter, good time was had.
My great plans to to explore some of the sights didn't pan out, didn't sleep more than a wink at Mac. Springs (gear failure/inadequate setup mostly) and felt OK when leaving, but walking up to Crosscut saw turnoff, felt a bit ill and got a annoying headache. (How does that happen?)
I was struggling a bit and didn't want to spend another night without sleep, and just retraced my steps back down.
Hard slog down, would have happily stopped and just stared at Crosscut or Mt. Magdala all day, but that wouldn't have got me back to car.
Anyway, I'll have to head back there to check out some more.
Most of the people I spoke with there came in from Howitt Road, or some from Lovick Hut, seems the smarter (easier) way to do it.
Maybe after Howitt Road is patched up for 2WD I'll take another look.
Although there were some reports of a sports car being parked at Howitt carpark, so mustn't be impossible now?
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 29 Dec, 2021 5:35 am

That's good progress Baeng, now you can be fully confident of getting back down once you get up Helicopter. Ticking off the unknowns will give you a big boost I'm sure.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 31 Dec, 2021 6:48 pm

I just returned from a Mac. Springs to Mt. Spec. and back trek over a few days. The Howitt road is NOT 2WD friendly.

That very low slung sports car was still there when my hiking companion and I returned to the Howitt Plains Car park on 30.12.21. That unsuitable vehicle stood out like a sore thumb amongst the RAV4s, Subarus , Nissan X trails and proper 4 x 4 vehicles.
Whether it made it out back to the sealed road at Licola is another matter.
Speaking of cr*ppy rocky and dusty unsealed roads we returned from Licola back to our respective homes via Mt. Skene and Jamieson. My RAV 4 AWD and my friend's Subaru AWD were fine on that road but it is rough ,slow going with a lot of wash outs and large loose rocks. Definitely not city sedan with street tyres stuff at all. (We had to engage low gears to maintain traction).

It was an excellent trip :-) .
A trip report with photos will be forthcoming .
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 01 Jan, 2022 6:11 am

You can get access to Mt. Speculation( and from there Mt. Buggery and the Cross cut saw ) by 2 WD by driving to Lake Cobbler from Whitfield ( a Long slow drive ) and walking from Lake Cobbler to Mt. Spec. along the
4 WD tracks( 12 kms). It is a rough 2WD access route. 2WD users should not try to drive down to the Lake. They should park at the road side higher up just before the descent to the Lake and walk in .
The last section up the hill from Benny's camping area is steep , rough and rocky . Use low gear .
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 02 Jan, 2022 6:31 pm

A shorter drive and a more arduous walk is via Mt. Stirling's Circuit road , down the Speculation road to park near King Hut. From there Muesli spur takes you up onto the range and over to Mt. Spec. along the 4x 4 Speculation track.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 6:45 am

Bump!
I was thinking about SNS v Howitt Spur.
I've done Howitt a few times, it's a bit long, slow, steepish in places, especially near the top, but manageable.
From what I've read or understood, SNS is Heli-Spur 2.0. Steep after leaving the blackberries on Queens Spur with a few bands of rock/buttresses to negotiate above the camp/water spot.

But I was reading last night, and comments like 'I've only done Stanleys Name once, but don't recall it being anywhere near as steep as Howitt Spur.' from NNW https://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=21284
and a reply: 'Same here, it was quite an enjoyable trip. By comparison, Howitt Spur seemed kinda "endless" which could be good or bad…'
Is this the consensus? I haven't considered SNS because I thought it probably beyond me.

Also, that link has links to walking Queen's Spur all the way to Buggery (literally and metaphorically), pretty hardcore.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby north-north-west » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 7:02 am

Queens Spur is, from memory, steeper than either and harder going mainly because it's offtrack and the old road down below is badly overgrown. And you have to carry water up because there's nothing on Buggery. But a brilliant place to camp.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby stry » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 7:11 am

I haven't been there since the big fires (2008?), so regrowth will have made the vegetation different and almost certainly more of a problem.

Terrain wise, I don't understand the fuss. I started from the Circuit Road after driving from Melbourne. Had no difficulty finding a start point, and was at he campsite around dusk. Don't remember exact time of year but probably mid spring.

Nothing more detailed than an examination of maps was enough to turn me off Queen Spur
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 7:21 am

Thanks, not really contemplating Queen's Spur. The only map I have with the route up is BushMaps anyway. Just impressed.

Was thinking of SNS v Howitt as a way onto Crosscut.
There's some reports with comment about blue flagging tape marking best route, and difficulty finding places to put feet descending (I'd be ascending, so at least I'd know where to put the feet...).
I guess I need to try it, and see how I go.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 8:40 am

King spur and Queen's spur are the only routes I have not walked in that area. They are according to reports , basically bush bashing , with navigation requirements and with steep rocky sections.
SNS is worth doing and the camp site before the 3 rock bands is great . The water there is super reliable.
If you start from The Circuit road then you can make it from Stanley Name Gap over Mt. Thorn, Red Rock saddle ( stay High , avoid misleading spurs that face The Pimple ) and camp at the SNS campsite. It would be a long day. The next day would be shorter but steeper going up the 3 rock bands to the Cross cut saw and camping at Mac. Springs. How you return and by which route is a matter of choice but retracing your steps would be the most direct route. Allow 3 nights.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 9:58 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:King spur and Queen's spur are the only routes I have not walked in that area. They are according to reports , basically bush bashing , with navigation requirements and with steep rocky sections.
SNS is worth doing and the camp site before the 3 rock bands is great . The water there is super reliable.
If you start from The Circuit road then you can make it from Stanley Name Gap over Mt. Thorn, Red Rock saddle ( stay High , avoid misleading spurs that face The Pimple ) and camp at the SNS campsite. It would be a long day. The next day would be shorter but steeper going up the 3 rock bands to the Cross cut saw and camping at Mac. Springs. How you return and by which route is a matter of choice but retracing your steps would be the most direct route. Allow 3 nights.

Thanks, at the moment my interest is from Upper Howqua to Mt Spec, starting about 10am (drive from Melbourne in morning).
I've made it to Mac Springs twice starting around 10am going up Howitt Spur, getting there before 3pm, so that's manageable.

I was thinking that Upper Howqua, up SNS, grab water at campsite, up to Crosscut, then past Buggery, down into Terrible Hollow, and drag my sorry butt up Mt. Spec. and onto camp creek in a day would be possible.
I think going via Howitt Spur and onto Mt. Spec. could lead to water issues. - Detouring to Mac. Springs would eat up too much time to get water there I reckon. - I guess I could lug a couple extra litres up Howitt Spur.

My hesitation with SNS is if I find the rock bands tricky like I've done on the Heli Spur and turn back, I won't have time or energy to go up Howitt Spur that day and the hike will be a bust.

Anyway, food for thought.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 12:55 pm

Going Up SNS from the Upper Howqua wiped me out, twice :-0. I ran out of time, daylight and energy to push onto Camp Creek. So I limped over to Mac . Springs and called it a day . I have ended up doing that twice over the years and returning to the Upper Howqua via the Howitt spur.
If you want to visit Mt. Spec. via the Cross Cut saw then start at Mac. Springs coming in from The Howitt plains car park. Keep your powder dry for the Horrible Gap . It is well named.In good weather the ascent of Mt. Spec. is very scenic and has a couple of rock scrambles too.
You can get up to Mt. Spec . with less suffering by coming in from Lake Cobbler. It is a LONG drive from Melb. to Lake Cobbler via Glenrowan and Whitfield.
2 WD should just park above the last descent into the Lake Cobbler camping area. Don't try it in a 2 WD street sedan. Take a chainsaw too.From there it is a 12 kms walk along jeep tracks to Camp Creek.
Otherwise you can get a car down the Spec. road from the Circuit rd. and park just after the last Bridge over the King River and do battle with Muesli spur!.That takes you to the junction with the Spec. road, Mustering Flat and Camp Creek .
We went up that way in May one year . It was a bit nippy in May but a great excursion from King Hut to Mt Cobbler and Lake Cobbler as a loop.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Thu 24 Mar, 2022 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 2:36 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Going Up SNS from the Upper Howqua wiped me out, twice :-0. I ran out of time, daylight and energy to push onto Camp Creek. So I limped over to Mac . Springs and called it a day . I have ended up doing that twice over the years and returning to the Upper Howqua via the Howitt spur.
If you want to visit Mt. Spec. via the Cross Cut saw then start at Mac. Springs coming in from The Howitt plains car park. Keep your powder dry for the Horrible Gap . It is well named.In good weather the ascent of Mt. Spec. is very scenic and has a couple of rock scrambles too.
You can get up to Mt. Spec . with less suffering by coming in from Lake Cobbler. It is a LONG drive from Melb. to Lake Cobbler via Glenrowan and Whitfield.
2 WD should just park above the last descent into the Lake Cobbler camping area. Don't try it in a 2 WD street sedan. Take a chainsaw too.Fro there is is a 12 kms walk along jeep tracks to Camp Creek.
Otherwise you can get a car down the Spec. road from the Circuit rd. and park just after the last Bridge over the King River and do battle with Muesli spur!.That takes you to the junction with the Spec. road, Mustering Flat and Camp Creek .
We went up that way in May one year . It was a bit nippy in May but a great excursion from King Hut to Mt Cobbler and Lake Cobbler as a loop.

Thanks Mr T.
Very good advice, which I'll probably ignore because I'm contrary and I've been forbidden going via Licola as it is too long a drive from Whittlesea apparently, and reports of Howitt road condition suggest it's a bit of a minefield - even for a 2WD with decent clearance.
Back on topic: Howitt Spur is well marked, and doable, whereas reports that SNS is less steep or not an issue suggest that NNW and Stry are uber-athletes.
Which I'm not.

This pic from https://nuggetwalks.com/2021/03/12/example-post-2/ says it's more Helicopter than Bungalow Spur.
Image
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby north-north-west » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 3:21 pm

Baeng72 wrote: ... reports that SNS is less steep or not an issue suggest that NNW and Stry are uber-athletes.


Far from it, although I was nine or ten years younger and fitter and stronger on that occasion. Plus I was going downhill ... ;)
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby bigkev » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 5:13 pm

Baeng72 wrote:Back on topic: Howitt Spur is well marked, and doable, whereas reports that SNS is less steep or not an issue suggest that NNW and Stry are uber-athletes.
Which I'm not.


Go for SNS Baeng, it's pretty reasonable going - nowhere near as tough or exposed as Helicopter - really nice camp spot around an hour below the CCS.

The route can be a little overgrown down low which is probably more of an issue than the scrambling - the biggest rock band (the one closest to the CCS) is bypassed on the Spec side so it doesn't have to be climbed. Give yourself plenty of time and you'll get up here without too much trouble I'm thinking.

If you are heading over to Speculation then Horrible Gap will sort you out (as PCV said) - especially if you do come up from the valley and you do it in a day.

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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 6:52 pm

Ascending SNS as Big Kev says , the 3rd rock band is indeed bypassed to the Northern side ( left ) of the big rocky bluff, along a clear path . That is a relief esp. when you are totally shagged after the ascent from the valley floor to almost 1700 M. ASL.The Horrible Gap is becoming quite overgrown and needs a track clearing mission coming in from Camp Creek , lowering chainsaws and brush cutter down the rocky drop offs with ropes!!
The scrub is over waist high and there are many fallen logs( as of Dec. 2021 )
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 23 Mar, 2022 8:18 pm

Aww bugger, that's tempting BigKev & Mr T.

That photo above has me worried.
Is that the bigger band that can be bypassed, or just a small band made impressive through the magic of photography?....

I think NNW might have been onto something with the steepness. Compare the profiles, only their mother could tell them apart.

SNSHowwit.jpg
SNS/Howitt combined.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Thu 24 Mar, 2022 7:33 am

Worry less. Just do it. The rock scrambles are not even worth a memory and not sure why people make so much out of them. Like Stry, I have done it from the Circuit road to Mac Springs and made it mid afternoon. Some people struggle with climbs due more to the weight they carry. SNS is a popular route for Timbertop so if a 14 yo first timer can do it would think someone with experience should be fine. I do think it would be a push from Upper Howqua to Spec in a day via SNS with a late start. Maybe think that out a bit more.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 24 Mar, 2022 10:25 am

Xplora wrote:Worry less. Just do it. The rock scrambles are not even worth a memory and not sure why people make so much out of them. Like Stry, I have done it from the Circuit road to Mac Springs and made it mid afternoon. Some people struggle with climbs due more to the weight they carry. SNS is a popular route for Timbertop so if a 14 yo first timer can do it would think someone with experience should be fine. I do think it would be a push from Upper Howqua to Spec in a day via SNS with a late start. Maybe think that out a bit more.

MMM, ok, the internet's a weird place and the message sent isn't always the message received...

I get it, I get curious about stuff and ask too many questions, and that may come across weird or whatever.
But I've been a weird person for nearly 50 years, so that aint changing.

I'm a fat *&%$#!, I've made no effort to hide it.
The weight I carry is the issue, hence the possible struggle climbing (see Helicopter Spur).

When I was 14 I was fit and didn't have other health issues, I'd have flown up SNS.
Not sure how that really bares on my current situation.

Anyway, my curiosity is satisfied, thanks for the replies.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Thu 24 Mar, 2022 2:50 pm

I was not referring to your personal weight, just the weight of the stuff some people carry. Carrying too much is a contributing faction to their exhaustion. Going lighter will help and from what I read of your adventures to tend to plod along at a slow but steady pace. That is better than going hard and then having to stop for a rest often. I don't think you would find SNS anything like helicopter spur unless you manage to find a different approach. You are out there enough now that your mind should be conditioned to know what you can and can't do. Much of the hard going is mental fitness and being able to keep yourself moving is more about that than physical fitness.

Not sure what messages are being sent and how they are received. Just saying give it a go for yourself and have a backup plan if it doesn't quite work out for you. Pretty much everyone else's experience is purely subjective and how it is for you is the only thing that matters. You won't know that until you do it.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Plod » Fri 25 Mar, 2022 1:07 pm

For what it’s worth I went up SNS about a year ago. There were some short steep scrambly bits but nothing too crazy. I am in my 50s and no model of fitness, just manage to plod along and enjoy the scenery if I need a break. If you fill up with water near the camp site in the clearing before the final push up SNS you could carry a bit extra if you are not confident of making it all the way to Camp Creek. Reading your other posts I am sure you will be fine.


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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 25 Mar, 2022 3:55 pm

Thanks Xplora and Plod. I'm leaning towards giving it a go, will see how I'm feeling on the day.

My last message was a bit cryptic.
I think I was in crap mood.
But my original question was about how steep/hard the SNS is, as reading it was same as Howitt surprised me as I've read about rock bands and you (Xplora) writing somewhere it's of a kind with Helicopter Spur.
So, I wasn't really that worried about it, just working out if it's steeper or harder, but it seems like I was coming across as panicking/fretting about it.

The only message I got from you is 'shut up and give it a shot' :wink:

The weight stuff was just me being techy and pointing out why I ask these questions.

Anyway, I'm out of dribble to say, I'll report back how it goes and which way I went one way or another.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 25 Mar, 2022 7:16 pm

SNS is less taxing than Helicopter spur is . When I was at Mt. Spec. in Dec. 2021 I met two fellows who had scaled King Spur . They said it had some" scary steep rock sections and some real bush bashing".
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