Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circuit

Trip reports, stories, track notes. Multiple/large photos are OK in this forum.
Forum rules
Posting large/multiple images in this forum is OK. Please start topic titles with the name of the location or track.

For topics focussed on photos rather than the trip, please consider posting in the 'Gallery' forum instead.

This forum is for posting information about trips you have done, not for requesting information about a track or area.

Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circuit

Postby lbogliolo » Sun 10 Jan, 2021 11:08 pm

Since my plans to walk the Overland Track were cancelled due to the lockdown last year, I finally managed to do a solo multi-day hike to practice and test some gear. Mt Feathertop did not disappoint. Circuit was around 40km over 3 days, with around 4-5h of walking daily.

Day 1: Diamantina Hut - Mt Hotham - Mt Loch - Machinery Spur - Blair's Hut for the first night.
Relatively easy start with mild temperatures and light rain and certain points. Beautiful views in at Mt Loch, then a relatively easy but long walk to Red Robin Mine and down to Blair's Hut. Blair's Hut seemed to me to be an underrated campground. It's a lovely place, next to a river and with plenty of space and surrounded by trees. Only down side is there's a lot of horse poop around, so be careful when walking around camp. Also saw a pretty big snake on the track that day, which I only noticed when I was about a meter away and it got out of my way - I almost jumped when I saw it but as usual it was more scared of me than the other way round.

Day 2: Blair's Hut - Diamantina Spur - Federation Hut - MUMC Hut - Feathertop summit
Diamantina Spur is a slog. It is only 4km something, but very slow going, with some quite steep parts involving some light rock scrambling. Would 100% avoid this in winter. Once I got to Federation Hut I set up my tent, had lunch, and then a long nap. Late afternoon I went to check out the MUMC Hut, which is unique and well worth the trip. From there I went up to the summit of Mt Feathertop taking the shorter route from MUMC Hut - it's an unclear, unmarked and very steep climb straight to the top of Feathertop. Amazing climb and views, but I only did it because I had left my backpack at camp and was only carrying my camera and a hip pack (plus the weather was good). Would not recommend in bad weather. I got to the summit a bit before sunset but didn't hang around much as it was windy and I was getting hungry. Night at Federation hut was very windy and cold. All the gear I tested having the Overland Track in mind worked perfectly and kept me toasty warm at night.

Day 3: Federation Hut - Razorback - Diamantina Hut
Woke up to see the sun rise and walked halfway towards the summit of Feathertop for some photos. Then went back, had brekkie, packed and started the Razorback. Many trail runners early in the morning passing by. I didn't stop much on the way and got to my car in around 2:45h for a well deserved lunch in Bright.

I'll be back to Federation and MUMC huts in winter. Won't go to the summit of Feathertop unless I'm with a group and more experienced people (anyone?).
Some brief notes on new gear I tested:

- Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2: absolutely love this tent - it is easy to set up, sturdy, not too heavy and every detail is functional. I have a lighter 1p tent, but did not mind a single bit carrying a little extra weight for the added comfort.

- Ottie merino t-shirt: excellent shirt. New local brand, thought I'd give it a go and am very pleased with it. Used it for 3 days sweating constantly, it dries quickly and stayed as fresh as new every day

- Injinji socks: amazing, I will never do long hikes without them again. Super comfortable, dries super quickly, keeps my feet dry and 0 signs of blisters

- Garmin inReach Mini: extremely disappointing. I sent 5 messages to my partner and only 1 was received. At Blair's hut, where there is no phone signal, I had a clear view of the sky and the device indicated the messages were sent. My partner did not receive them and was worried af. GPS tracking worked alright, but the phone app is incredibly useless compared to other (free) options. Because 2-way messaging failed and it's pretty much what the inReach has going for it, I am thinking whether I should just carry a PLB instead? I will get in touch with Garmin to figure out why my messages didn't go through, but I am now very disappointed and distrustful (what if an SOS message fails too?).
Attachments
Luis-0999.jpg
The Razorback
Luis-0885.jpg
MUMC Hut
Luis-0872.jpg
Mt Feathertop
Luis-0876.jpg
View of Federation Hut
Luis-0908.jpg
Almost at the summit
lbogliolo
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 12:47 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby neilmny » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 5:17 am

Great report ibogliolo thanks for posting it. Welcome to the forum as well :wink:
Inreach and similar are popular with some but as you have seen they can cause more concern than benefit if they don't work or are lost.
If you had arranged with your partner to call authorities if your ok messages had not been received, it would have been a waste of emergency resources.
I thought about a messaging type PLB but having read a few accounts of issues like you had causing unnecessary stress and/or use of emergency services I decided against it.
I carry a PLB (KTI SA2GN), nice and light, Aussie made and 10 year battery. If you search PLB's etc you will find some good info and various opinions on the subject.

PS. Are your photos from a film camera?
User avatar
neilmny
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 12:19 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 7:39 am

Thanks for the report ibogliolo.
Lovely place Mt Feathertop.

I have an inReach mini. And have done the back and forth with Garmin support a few times since it failed completely on the last day of the Overland in Nov. 2019.
I could get Optus signal on the mobile before Narcissus Hut, but no two-way messaging all day from Windy Ridge to Lake St. Clair on the Garmin.

I have found something that may work. Or may not.
You can send messages to both SMS (mobile) and email.
When I send to both, the SMS is delivered, so far without fail (and email also delivered), and usually quite quickly, even down in steep valleys.
If I just send SMS, it's a toss of the dice if the message will be delivered, even when it says it's been sent.

So, I send a message to my partner's mobile & email and all good (touch wood).
If you get a message on your Earthmate app saying 'couldn't send tracking points/message', just reboot the inReach and it seems happy again.
It's a pretty crap device for the money you pay, but when it works, it's good.
Not sure if it's a bug in the software, or just coincidence that the above has worked in several locations since I've been doing it? So, test and see if you want.
Last edited by Baeng72 on Mon 11 Jan, 2021 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Baeng72
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 3:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby Xplora » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 7:40 am

Thanks for the report and another welcome to the forum. I don't underrate Blairs as a camp area. It is one of my favourite spots. Horses would not normally camp there as the Diamantina yards are not far away but there is a bit of horse traffic as Westons Spur is the way up for horses. They no doubt have a stop at Blairs for a look but it would be nice if they kept the horses out of the camp area. Feathertop in winter is not difficult but you need to be careful of the dangerous cornice. It is pretty obvious as you walk up. There is no way you would do it in bad weather anyway. The track to MUMC hut can be a bit icy where the spring crosses it and the slope could induce a slip. A good place to put crampons or microspike on even if your snowshoes have a metal edge or toe. Going down Diamantina in the winter is also easier but you chose to go up then you would probably be over the scramble before the snow line.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1206
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 8:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby lbogliolo » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 9:06 am

Thanks for the welcome! neilmny, I did some research on PLBs and the KTI is the one I have my eyes on. My partner would only call emergency if I didn't show up after 3 days, but even then the main reason I got the inReach is to be able to send and receive messages where there is no phone signal..if that doesn't work then for emergencies I agree I'd be better off with the KTI PLB. Photos were taken with a digital camera, but I like to apply a film look to my photos in lightroom.

Baeng72, thanks for the tips, I will be testing my inReach this week and try sending SMS + email from now on instead of just SMS. Besides that issue, I have found the Earthmate app so terrible when compared to the many other mostly free options for navigating with topo maps and gps.

Xplora, to go up in winter do you reckon snowshoes + microspikes would be enough or do you need proper crampons? I would have gone last year if I could, can't wait for the next winter season. Also, what would be the easiest route to go up in winter? Bungalow Spur?
Cheers!
lbogliolo
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 12:47 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 9:18 am

lbogliolo wrote: I will be testing my inReach this week and try sending SMS + email from now on instead of just SMS. Besides that issue, I have found the Earthmate app so terrible when compared to the many other mostly free options for navigating with topo maps and gps.

No worries, hopefully it works for you.

I use Avenza maps for tracking/navigating.
But I do turn tracking on the Garmin so my partner can see that I'm moving (slowly) and haven't died.
The messages have location info too, so she can click on the location info in the message and see where I was when the message sent.
Baeng72
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2019 3:29 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby Xplora » Tue 12 Jan, 2021 6:38 am

lbogliolo wrote:Xplora, to go up in winter do you reckon snowshoes + microspikes would be enough or do you need proper crampons? I would have gone last year if I could, can't wait for the next winter season. Also, what would be the easiest route to go up in winter? Bungalow Spur?
Cheers!


I don't have microspikes, only crampons but for the small amount of time you would use them I believe mircospikes would be sufficient. Crampons are heavy and a real pain to pack but a life saver also in steep country when it is icy. Bungalow highway is the easiest way unless you pay resort entry fees. Snowshoes would not be needed until 1400m in a good year. You could get snow lower but it would not last long. If you are fit then you should try Nth West Spur. Much nicer but get an early start. MUMC is also a better place to stop than Fed hut in winter if you like it peaceful but there is no fire.
Xplora
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1206
Joined: Sat 01 Aug, 2015 8:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 2:28 pm

Give the Northern Razorback up to Mt. FT a go before the snow comes. Pick a clear and settled day and start early from the Seasonal Closure gate/ Picnic Table. The Bungalow spur is the most sheltered way to Fed. hut in white season. A number of times in winters past , it was not possible proceed any further than Fed. hut. The conditions in white season will dictate what is possible and what is safe. The NW spur is a slog!
paidal_chalne_vala
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1783
Joined: Sun 22 Jan, 2012 11:30 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: VNPA
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Trip report - Diamantina Hut to Mt Feathertop 3-day circ

Postby paul_hianz » Tue 19 Jan, 2021 3:20 pm

lbogliolo wrote:Ottie merino t-shirt: excellent shirt. New local brand, thought I'd give it a go and am very pleased with it. Used it for 3 days sweating constantly, it dries quickly and stayed as fresh as new every day


Great write up and amazing pics! And thanks for the shoutout about Ottie! :)
paul_hianz
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu 02 Jul, 2020 4:21 pm
Location: Victoria
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male


Return to VIC Trip Reports & Track Notes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest