Beginner Winter Hiker

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Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby han_banan » Wed 17 Jan, 2024 5:09 pm

Hello!

I am seeking some advice. My friend and I are keen on trying out a hike in Winter. I'm a lover of snow but unsure how to navigate it on hikes and camping. Are there any relatively easy Winter hikes (Multi-day!) that anyone would recommend? I've a 4 season (gosh, I best check this) backpacking tent.

Previous hiking experience, inexperienced winter hiker!

Would simple day hikes be best and find accommodation in the warmth haha. I'm mindful of the extortionate prices during our ski season.

ANY advice much appreciated.

Thanking you!
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Ant71 » Mon 22 Jan, 2024 7:18 pm

Might not be what you are looking for but you could look at doing the Corker Trail in Barrington tops. You would have to pick the right day or days to get snow. You can do it as an overnight or as a long Day walk. Just a thought
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Xplora » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 6:39 am

han_banan wrote:Hello!

I am seeking some advice. My friend and I are keen on trying out a hike in Winter. I'm a lover of snow but unsure how to navigate it on hikes and camping. Are there any relatively easy Winter hikes (Multi-day!) that anyone would recommend? I've a 4 season (gosh, I best check this) backpacking tent.

Previous hiking experience, inexperienced winter hiker!

Would simple day hikes be best and find accommodation in the warmth haha. I'm mindful of the extortionate prices during our ski season.

ANY advice much appreciated.

Thanking you!


Welcome to the forum firstly. It is quite a distance to drive from Sth Australia so you would want the experience to be good but more importantly it should be safe. Barrington Tops is great in the winter but snow is not reliable. Distance might kill that. I don't want you to think I am playing the gate keeper but it would be better for you to speak a bit more of your experience and the gear you have other than a tent. You have posted in the NSW thread so I am assuming you are thinking of Kosci. There are some Victoria options also.

Navigating on snow is simply navigating but there may not be a track marker. Some areas have snow poles and these are numbered. You can get maps with the pole line indicated and the number of some poles to assist. It would be good if you had some solid navigation skills and were confident off track but there could be some options that will get you toes wet without taking way out into the wild. My first thought would be Bungalow Spur from Harrietville. Federation hut will have a few people around in winter so unless your name is Tim Holding (google that) you will have others nearby if you get into trouble. Base camp there and take a walk up Mt. Feathertop but be mindful of cornices. You can also walk along the Razorback toward Hotham. Maybe don't try to reach Hotham and get back to camp in a day. It is only a short walk down to MUMC hut on the NW spur but be mindful of ice. There is a spring that freezes over the track and a slip there would not be nice. I actually used crampons to get over it once. No resort or park entry fees to pay and you should have phone reception.

Snowshoeing is pretty much the same as walking but with more effort so don't expect big distances. There is a whole lot of stuff you are going to have to learn and a few items of kit that will make things easier. Snow pegs for your tent for instance. Not sure how much you have researched already and don't want to assume you know nothing so come back with what you think you should take (or have) and we can review it. Much of the stuff you carry in winter stays in the pack the whole trip but I have had to use it all at some stage.
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Ant71 » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 10:12 am

Hi Xplora Good pick up I didn’t see that they were from SA or I wouldn’t have suggested Barrington glad you were onto it :D :D :D
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Biggles » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 12:39 pm

Familiarity with navigation by GPS in poor visibility in winter e.g. snow and the environment you are traversing would be a prerequisite over the season rating of your tent (what else do you have suitable for winter, specifically?). Coordinating GPS with a hard copy map and getting safely out of situations like sudden whiteouts or storms would be the first thing to touch base on.

It's a bit of a long hike from SA to Victoria's alpine country. I note you are interested in snow, but bushwalkers also do the Great Ocean Walk in winter, seeking the quieter times over the hectic and rather dirty summer-autumn period. The Grampians/Gariwerd can be very wintery but only the higher, exposed peaks get snow, and then not very frequently.

Nothing to be gained convenience- or economy-wise from going into the ski resorts (Hotham, Falls) without being proverbially screwed for a pretty penny.
But there are el cheapo (kind of...) alternatives; you will still be pinched a penny and a pound for entry fees.
Mount Stirling, opposite Buller, may be of interest; simply park the chariot at Telephone Box Junction and walk (or ski-walk-ski-walk) to Bluff Spur Hut, and camp in the immediate environment, as is so very popular (and fun!) in winter. You have the attractiveness of snowy alpine scenery all around and the robust refuge of the hut if you really get ... ahhh ... cold feet! :lol: Stirling had a miserable winter period last year, closing early. It is sometimes necessary to walk 3 to 4 or more kms to get on skiable snow. From Bluff Hut, Stirling Summit and it's iconic snowgum (which has sprouted healthy, bushy babies!) is within reach, though best only in clear conditions. There are other back country skiing/overnighting destinations, but Bluff Hut would serve as an excellent introduction for orienting yourself and equipment (strengths and weaknesses, and stuff you forget to pack!) to the different alpine environment, snow or no snow, and the very changeable weather that is a characteristic.
Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
—Oscar Wilde, 1890.
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Xplora » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 3:39 pm

Ant71 wrote:Hi Xplora Good pick up I didn’t see that they were from SA or I wouldn’t have suggested Barrington glad you were onto it :D :D :D


I have had snow on Barrington Tops but walked in from Gloucester Tops that time. It wasn't much snow but still nice.
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 3:42 pm

Do a search for Snow Camping 101
There's a collection of links in that thread. Even Falls Creek and Mt Hotham are not really reliable but late season is usually better snow conditions. Wn winter haunt of the Pretty Valley hut area is an easy hour or two on skis in good weather and can take all day plus in bad. Weather is the great factor in our white country and you do need to be reasonably well prepared. While it seldom gets really cold there have been exceptions.
I recommend a set of clothes and a sleeping system that will cope with around -18C, but lots of ways to do that some lighter than others
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 23 Jan, 2024 3:57 pm

From SA, the Mt. Buller area might be closest with some snow in Winter.
A simple day hike is to park at Sawmill Settlement/Mirimbah, walk up Klingsporn Spur, then onto Mt. Buller resort, and return.
You can camp on Carter road campsite I think.
There's also free snow camping at Mt. No. 3 which starts at the end of Carters Road.
I've very little experience with snow camping.
I've camped on Mt. Speculation in snow a couple of times, but with tracks closed, I had to park near Lake Cobbler and walk 13km to Mt. Spec, but that's a long, convoluted way to do things.
A bit farther away...
I've day walked up Bungalow Spur for some snow shoeing and a quick look at Mt. Feathertop with nice snow.

Mt. Bogong is nice, but avoid the Staircase Spur unless you want a slog. You can drive around to Camp Creek Gap, and 2 hours walk up to Michell Hut where you can camp (1600m so should be snow), or onto Cleve Cole if up for more walking.

I reckon Xplora's suggestion of Mt. Feathertop via Bungalow Spur staying at Fed. Hut would be a good plan for intro snowing..
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 25 Jan, 2024 7:52 am

Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby Hannahjay » Sat 27 Jan, 2024 3:42 pm

Hi all,

Thanks SO much for the advice. Much appreciated!

We did Feathertop, razorback, MUMC and Diamantina Sour. We had the BEST time. It was just after winter so perfect temperatures. Maybe we should stick with this kind of weather before I overcommit to a snow hike with no navigation experience haha.

I was thinking Kosci so I'll have a browse through those forums as well as doing some more research on what you've suggested above.

Thank you!
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby phs » Sun 25 Feb, 2024 8:43 pm

Feather top would be good one to start on, Tasmania can get snow any time of year, but it get wild in those mountains.
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Re: Beginner Winter Hiker

Postby inwaver » Wed 28 Feb, 2024 9:58 pm

han_banan wrote:Hello!

I am seeking some advice. My friend and I are keen on trying out a hike in Winter. I'm a lover of snow but unsure how to navigate it on hikes and camping. Are there any relatively easy Winter hikes (Multi-day!) that anyone would recommend? I've a 4 season (gosh, I best check this) backpacking tent.

Previous hiking experience, inexperienced winter hiker!

Would simple day hikes be best and find accommodation in the warmth haha. I'm mindful of the extortionate prices during our ski season.

ANY advice much appreciated.

Thanking you!

You can do a four-day guided walk along the stunning coastline of Western Australia, from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin.
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