Snow camping and hiking

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

Snow camping and hiking

Postby lbogliolo » Thu 02 Jun, 2022 4:44 pm

I'm keen to do a lot of snow camping and snow shoeing this winter, and to learn to cross country ski with a friend, so I'm thinking of getting a season entry pass to either Mt Hotham or Falls Creek - which one would you pick for easy access to campsites and hikes? I'm tending towards Hotham mostly because of the razorback and tracks to Derrick hut and Dibbins hut...but should I consider Falls creek instead? Thanks
lbogliolo
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 11:47 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 02 Jun, 2022 6:30 pm

No expert on xc ski or snow shoeing, but I'd guess Falls would be the go. Easier terrain on the High-plains.
Baeng72
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Neo » Thu 02 Jun, 2022 9:27 pm

Pick one of the (free) campsites to base yourself at. Hire some gear for different days out.

That's what I'm going to do eventually :)
Neo
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Wed 31 Aug, 2016 4:53 pm
Location: Port Macquarie NSW
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 02 Jun, 2022 10:13 pm

Hotham is pretty steep on Razorback (which may have cornices) and to Derrick Hut. At around post 160 the ridge drops quote steeply, no place for novice skiers, and it's a bit of a climb out of Dibbins, which is not a good hut at all. The Dinner plain area is friendlier, but quite small.

Falls Creek is better in that there's a lot more scope for accessing easy terrain. You may not need a pass. It's simpler to catch the bus from Mount Beauty, although this will mean a longer walk from where the bus stops to the start of the skiing. There's good camping within an hour or so of Falls Creek on the Heathy Spur side, and a lot longer on the Ruined Castle side, which is also more exposed.
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby lbogliolo » Thu 02 Jun, 2022 10:52 pm

Good points. I'll give Dinner Plain a go as it's free but don't see much there that would interest me other than for a free snow camp.
I might skip on the season pass and either use the bus or just pay for the odd weekend. Anyone know how hard it is to get to pretty valley from Falls creek?
lbogliolo
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 11:47 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Fri 03 Jun, 2022 6:46 am

Dinner Plain would be a good place to learn how to XC ski but Falls Creek has more to offer. Forget Hotham entirely for now. Camping at Derrick hut is not permitted during winter as it is within the resort boundary. You can snowshoe or ski to Pretty Valley but you have to keep off the ski runs. If snowshoeing on groomed tracks you will most likely get a pole to the back of the head from a skier. Skiing with a heavy pack requires some practice but you could get some ski lessons, learn the basics and then just give it a go. Snowshoeing is a good way to lead into XC skiing. Learn about snow camping first and then add the slide. You will get an idea of what sort of skiing you want to do. Some people just stick to the groomed tracks and many XC setups will not be as good if you get into rough or uneven terrain. You can hire gear from Mt. Beauty and from what I have seen the most common Backcountry setup for hire is a Madshus Epoch ski with NNN BC bindings. That would work OK but not for big hills unless you have some skill.

Ski terminology can be a bit counter intuitive if you come from a bushwalking background. XC = mostly groomed tracks and pretty much like going for a road run on skis, BC (Backcountry) = no groomed tracks and away from the resort. Side country = the bit just outside the patrolled resort boundary. AT (Alpine touring) is not necessarily the best thing for touring in Australia. Designed to make it easy to walk up hill and then lock your heel in to ski down like an Alpine ski binding. Could be a problem with rolling hills. And then we get to telemark which is a whole different thing and said to be the hardest to learn. A pattern based ski gives you some grip on the snow for the uphill (within reason) but many AT skiers will attach skins to the ski until they want to go down fast.

I would recommend the northern BHP as a good starting ground for adventures and leave Pretty Valley for now. The northern section will give you the feeling of being away from the resort quicker. Park at Windy Corner and head out on Heathy spur. Edmonsons, Johnsons, Fitzgeralds, Kellys and Roper huts all out there if you need and phone reception is reasonable for emergencies. There are places you can go to without having to pay for resort entry and parking but they often require a longer walk in before you get to the snowline. Mt. Bogong may be an exception.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 03 Jun, 2022 7:45 am

My main concern about Pretty Valley is Ruined Castle, a long exposed ridge with a confusing array of poles. In fine weather it's easy with good views. In a whiteout with strong winds it can be very hard. Another option near there is Sun Valley and go southish to the Rocky Knobs-Cope Hut region. Xplora's advice about the northern and eastern high plains is good. All the huts have pole lines, with signs at junctions. be sure to camp out of the wind.
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 10:02 am

Start your snow camping and snow shoe trekking world at Mt. Stirling. Get all the gear issues sorted out first in that controlled environment .
Then do an overnight trip out to Edmondson's hut in the snow starting at Falls Creek.
paidal_chalne_vala
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2224
Joined: Sun 22 Jan, 2012 10:30 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: VNPA
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 11:18 am

If you are close to Melbourne then Stirling is a good option but it may suffer from a lack of snow at times. Falls and the surrounds are a good 200m higher and you will be surprised how much that matters. There are some closer options to Melbourne but also lower slopes. Good after a significant dump though. With good snow I would suggest Falls and Stirling would offer a similar experience and level of safety.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Biggles » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 12:29 pm

Catch shuttle bus or snow-shoe shuffle from Hotham to JB Plain or Wire Plain. I have camped at JB Plain some years back. Plenty of safe space at either for a snow shoe shuffle 'round the snowgums... :D
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
—Lao Tzu.
User avatar
Biggles
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 12:14 pm
Location: Castlemaine, Victoria
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Hiking Exped » Wed 08 Jun, 2022 6:58 am

Agree with above Mt Stirling is a great testing ground. It’s close, easy access, the terrain is safe, there are emergency huts, phone service most parts, and it’s even patrolled snow season. but does not usually get to crazy busy.

I often head up there in winter if I need to do a quick test on any new winter kit.

Enjoy :D
Hiking Exped
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed 13 Oct, 2021 8:05 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 09 Jun, 2022 6:10 pm

While navigating the area of the Pretty Valley road known locally as Siberia [ from about Ruined Castle to the cattle grid] can be a very cold and windy few klicks and navigating it in a whiteout is a real test the Pretty Valley area is a great place to do some trial and error.
In fact I will be up there this opening week-end, a few mates are maybe headed up too.
If you are a beginner avoid Hotham, even I steer clear of Hotham in bad weather unless unavoidable.
Driving up from Geelong AM on Friday
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
Moondog55
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 10608
Joined: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 4:15 pm
Location: Norlane Geelong Victoria Australia
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Fri 10 Jun, 2022 5:56 am

Moondog55 wrote:In fact I will be up there this opening week-end, a few mates are maybe headed up too.


Missed it by that much. Last weekend it opened. Old habits. Hard to change. Looks like some wind this weekend. Pretty Valley cops that bit.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 10 Jun, 2022 9:35 am

People book their time off weeks or months in advance and you're right, it's hard to change dates once leave has been locked in.
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
Moondog55
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 10608
Joined: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 4:15 pm
Location: Norlane Geelong Victoria Australia
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Fri 10 Jun, 2022 12:56 pm

Moondog55 wrote:People book their time off weeks or months in advance and you're right, it's hard to change dates once leave has been locked in.


NSW didn't change but not sure if it is allowed by law. Vic legislation allows the RMB's to alter opening and closing dates but it has to be done with the correct procedure. Apart for saying it has to be done by instrument, there is no information about what that instrument is. Don't get blown away.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 10 Jun, 2022 5:15 pm

Falls / BHP should be fine for XC skiing out to Langford gap hut and back on Sunday. It gets windy out there quite often in XC ski season. It is quite normal.
paidal_chalne_vala
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2224
Joined: Sun 22 Jan, 2012 10:30 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: VNPA
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Sat 11 Jun, 2022 9:33 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Falls / BHP should be fine for XC skiing out to Langford gap hut and back on Sunday. It gets windy out there quite often in XC ski season. It is quite normal.


I am pleased you enjoy this so much but still cannot personally relate to skiing groomed tracks on a road. It is not a criticism and I know lots of people who like it. I think the exercise value is great and certainly better for you than running but for me it feels much the same as going for a run or a walk on the road. It is not something I would drive many hours to do. Coming from a buhswalking background, I prefer to take advantage of the snow cover and navigate off track or marked trail which is not always possible during summer due to low scrub or sensitive areas. I am not suggesting this is something everyone should do. You need to be mindful of your own experience, weather, confidence and knowledge of the area.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby lbogliolo » Sat 11 Jun, 2022 9:46 pm

I ended up going last weekend to camp at JB Plain Hut and snowshoeing between Dinner Plain and Hotham - which would've been nicer on skis. Going to try Mt Stirling next to get a lesson and some practice with XC skiing.
Weather last Sat/Sunday wasn't great so good point on avoiding Hotham in bad weather. I'll hopefully come back to snowshoe the razorback when conditions are good, but yeah no way I'm skiing outside groomed trails until I'm confident and have a friend coming with me
lbogliolo
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 11:47 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 12 Jun, 2022 7:50 pm

For me, part of the joy of XC skiing is to go over landscapes smoothed by a metre or more of snow, and the next day it may be pristine again. Also, camping well away from the masses appeals, especially if a sheltered summit campsite can be found. One year I found a spot on Rocky Knobs, a hollow with minimal drift. The wind picked up that night and in the morning it was quite brisk, but the tent was barely moving. In the open it was hard to stand upright. In weather like that reported today it's a good idea to find sheltered places to ski, walk and camp.
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Sun 12 Jun, 2022 9:02 pm

For a bit of a lark, I got some 22" snow shoes that probably aren't suitable for anything heavier than a Chihuahua, let alone a 120K plus guy, but the price meant no regrets.
Headed up to Donna Buang with the family.
*&%$#! hell, It took over an hour to get from just above the rainforest gallery to the 10 mile carpark.
So many people out for a bit of snow-play! (It was worse today according to social media. 2 hours for the same trip).
We parked the car there and walked up to the toboggan area so the kids could toboggan and I could faf about with the snow shoes.
After 45 minutes or so (it seemed of walking) and about 200m more elevation, we were at the toboggan area.
Snow shoes fine on the toboggan area, but only because of the teeth/cleats on the bottom biting into the ice/snow whatever that was.
No need for flotation, it was just slippery ice.
Off-piste, was a mess of fallen branches covered with snow, so not sure what to make of it.
You'd crash through a crust of snow and find ferns, branches, whatever underneath.
Felt like walking with large clumps of mud on the boots each step.
And certainly was easier than just sinking down to the knees.
Saw a rat dive into the snow having emerged from one point where the plants broke through the snow and headed into another break in the snow. That was cool.
I think walking on a snow-plain/grassy area would be fun. But would it be bushwalking?
Anyway, need to head to a real snow area.
Baeng72
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 7:00 am

I had a "quick" walk up Feathertop yesterday.
A long day. I left home at 4:30am and got back about 10pm, worth it, but my legs will be unhappy for a few day.
I'm so unfit at the moment, that by the time I reached Fed. Hut and had a break, I didn't have enough time to attempt a summit.
I carried snow shoes up as I didn't see how'd they be of use as I wasn't slipping and didn't start having issues breaking through until after the hut ruins.
I tried them out at Fed. Hut. and they worked fine, as the snow was ice mostly.
The teeth on the sole were great and I avoided breaking through the crust.
Got as far as the flank of Little Feathertop, then back down the bungalow track, finishing in the dark just after 6pm.
The shoes worked a treat on the way down too. Didn't feel precarious on the icy/snow.
Not saying they'd be of any use in powder,

feathertop.JPG
So near....
feathertop.JPG (104.93 KiB) Viewed 3938 times
Baeng72
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 9:18 am

You have started doing what I used to do a lot in winter before I started my journey as a learner skier.
That is go up to Mt. FT and Mt. Bogong on snow shoes in the snow season.
The next step is to pick a good weather window and snow camp at Fed. hut. Then next day take KAHTOOLA micro spikes, MSR snow shoes, a head torch and an ice axe and go up to the summit for the sunrise.
I always take a snow shovel for that kind of thing too.
If it snows a lot at night then you will have to dig your tent out the next morning.
You can do the same kind of thing for Mt. Bogong coming up from Michell hut but you will need more time for both trips.
There is a lot snow up there for June.
By August the days will be longer and the snow cover will have deepened and consolidated.
Next time consider camping somewhere nearby after a long day out on the hill .
Fatigue and driving at night are a bad combination.
paidal_chalne_vala
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2224
Joined: Sun 22 Jan, 2012 10:30 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: VNPA
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby legend » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 10:40 am

Mt StGwinear is very easy to access (eastern side of teh BawBaws). Minimal entry fee, and easy 4wd management trail to the summit and beyond. Lots of sheltered camping along the way and on the plateau itself.
legend
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon 02 Nov, 2009 10:00 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Biggles » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 5:22 pm

Some cheap, bored and destructive dingbats in 4WDs, believed to be the same mob responsible for horrendous circlework in Walhalla, Coopers Creek and Erica, destroyed the ski and toboggan run at Mount St Gwinear last weekend. The churning and breaking of fencelines was a disturbing scene. Police are involved of course. Not sure if the Gwinear is open after all this.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
—Lao Tzu.
User avatar
Biggles
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 12:14 pm
Location: Castlemaine, Victoria
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby stry » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 7:08 pm

Same behaviour just about anywhere that had vehicle accessable snow.

Not just one group. Unfortunately they are many.
stry
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1370
Joined: Mon 10 Jun, 2013 6:28 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 20 Jun, 2022 9:45 pm

If Parks Vic.had adequate funding to be able to staff Mt St. G. then properly perhaps this vandalism and destruction of others' non vehicular recreation area could have been avoided.
Thankfully places such as access routes to : Federation hut ; the Bluff Hut ; No. 3 Hut; Ganter hut and Cleve Cole hut in winter all seem to be safe from such 4 WD brain dead knuckle dragging vandals..... so far .
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Tue 21 Jun, 2022 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
paidal_chalne_vala
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2224
Joined: Sun 22 Jan, 2012 10:30 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: VNPA
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 7:11 am

One option may be to have hidden and obvious security cameras so that vehicles can be identified. Another option is solid gate or a barrier so that 4WDs cannot pass. A paint bomb dropped on vehicles would be nice, but it's probably not viable.
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 3239
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 7:54 am

There has been a bit of discussion on the ski forum as well about getting into BC. Doesn't matter if it is skiing or snowshoes, you still need to learn the same things. It has made me think a bit about preparing for bad weather and while it is good to learn things when the weather is perfect, that experience does not prepare you enough for when things turn nasty. TBH I think people should pick a bad weather time and a good (safe) place to practise. 'Safe' is an interesting concept in the mountains during a blizzard but there are spots where you have options. People need to know how to put up a tent in a roaring wind and snow storm. Training in good weather is like a boxer only ever hitting a bag. Obviously there is a starting point which should be done in good weather but you can get through that pretty quick.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 8:23 am

I'm only heading up to the snow on clear or low precipitation days with low winds for the time being.
Not least because I won't get permission from the boss.
I was stripped down to shorts and tshirt from early on and that's all I needed all the way up and down.
I'm quite well insulated but I think if it was a strong wind or decent snow that attire might be questionable. :)
I did have a fleece top, fleece gloves, beanie, ski-gloves, balaclava, attachable pant bottoms, hand warmers, back warmer If I felt cold but which turned out to be surplus weight for a day trip.

If I get around to camping in the snow, I'll be doing it beside Fed. Hut or Cleve Cole.
Somewhere I can escape to quickly if things go south.
I'm not sold on the idea of going to a resort to camp/snowshoe.
It's not the paying of entry fee, but the fact I'm no longer doing a hardish bushwalk that makes it unattractive.

Anyway, I'll take micro-spikes next time and I've purchased thick, long plastic pegs which I reckon will do in the snow in a pinch.
If not, I'll have to take some bags I can stuff with snow and bury like a deadman anchor.
Baeng72
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 2:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Snow camping and hiking

Postby Xplora » Tue 21 Jun, 2022 9:59 am

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.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 7:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Next

Return to Victoria

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 4 guests