AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Thu 23 Apr, 2020 5:30 pm

Hello all,
I'm currently in the early stages of planning for a solo STH-NTH thru traverse of the AAWT starting early March and completing around mid Apr next year. At this stage I'm looking at the route planning and am using the the Chapman/Siseman "bible" as my main reference. I'd consider myself quite fit and reasonably experienced at multi day hikes, both on and off track, although the longest I've done to date is 9 days continuous which is well short of what the AAWT will take. I've based most of my daily projections straight from the section information in the good book and was wondering from those of you who have achieved this-are the timeframes in the book pretty accurate for someone with above average fitness and experience?? In addition I could use some sage advice on whether topo maps are definitely required for all sections of the route? the maps in the good book are pretty adequate and I've made pretty good track notes on areas where good escape routes exist if needed, using the Alps touring maps to identify intersecting roads and tracks. I don't really want to carry excess maps if I don't need to so any advice is very appreciated. I will no doubt have many more questions and I can't tell you how invaluable this forum is so I say thanks in advance for all your help
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Mark F » Thu 23 Apr, 2020 10:31 pm

My thoughts are that I would allow a little more time on the Walhalla - Hotham leg and a little less for Thredbo - Tharwa when compared to Chapman when planning. One of the key things I have found on very long walks is not to push too hard especially at the start. Two or three hard days in a row reduce your chances of finishing. Allow time for bad weather and low mood. Many have several rest days but personally I prefer to have half day breaks or if having a day off will be doing a side trip. For an autumn attempt you need to plan carefully around water availability especially for Walhalla - Hotham.

As for maps there are a couple of useful threads on here. One way to limit map weight is to place maps for each section in your food drops and leave the maps for the previous section for when you collect the debris. Also consider photocopying sections of maps which are unlikely to be too challenging navigationally such as most of NSW. Many of us use electronic maps on our phones or mapping gps units backed up with paper.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Fri 24 Apr, 2020 9:26 am

Thnaks for the great advice Mark. My timeframe is certainly not locked in so if the early legs end up taking a little longer then that won't affect my schedule to much (to be honest I don't really have a schedule, I just want to enjoy the walk). I have anticipated around 30 days of actual travel however there are at least 3 days of side trips to add on and if I need to bunker down due to bad weather then I can do so. I'm interested in everyones thoughts on best locations for water drops along the rumpff saddle to Hotham section. I'm comfortable carrying around 5 litres a day, so I'm thinking a drop at Rumpff saddle and another at Chesters yard might suffice. If the new tank at Barrys saddle is empty where would the next best place be?
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 24 Apr, 2020 12:06 pm

The long lead-time will prove useful as you will be able to sort a number of details.

Paper maps backed up by a GPS should work. If you take photocopies then these can be burnt or buried, or left in huts. After Hotham it's reasonably straightforward, although there are some sections where feral horse and other tracks make it confusing. I strongly suggest taking maps showing escape routes. A road map may suffice. You could write down escape route details and leave these with the escape route maps in each food drop.

John's track notes are pretty accurate, although there have been quite a few changes since publication. There's an article in BWA February 2019 about the AAWT, with track information that may assist
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... VI0OC1QdlU

Thirty days is possible, but may be pushing it a bit. Once you reach Johnnies Top it gets easier.

You need to check that the water tanks in the Barries and elsewhere are not burnt and have potable water. There was a lot of ash in the air a few months ago. There's been talk of tanks being put in at The Knobs and Viking Saddle, making those days far easier. The next tank after Barry Saddle is East Riley Road, 10 kilometres, with no camping at the tank, too steep. I'd pick up enough water for that night and the next day, go down to the road, then continue on a gentle climb for about 600 metres to the crest. South Selwyn has a tank with nice camping in trees. If you are in the vicinity, consider putting in a food and water drop at the bottom of the Johnies Top climb. The last potable water is the Mitta Mitta, and it's longish day from there getting to Johnnies Top, with a big climb.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Fri 24 Apr, 2020 7:08 pm

Many thanks for the advice. The 30 days is by no means locked in it's just an estimate based on Chapmans individual leg times and my estimate of doing around 10 hrs a day (dependant on decent spots to finish the day out and camp). Thanks for the link, I will have a read tonight. I'll be checking in with NPWS, and on this forum, closer to the date to get accurate track conditions and hopefully a good update on the water situation before contemplating setting out. Thanks again
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Mr Bean » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 12:34 pm

My partner and I did Rumpff Saddle to Mt Howitt (5 days) in January 2019. Then Mt Howitt to Mt Hotham (7 days) in April 2019. The thing we noticed on the 7 day trip was the lack of water. While the tanks along the Barrys were ok, the other sources of water (springs / creeks) had mostly dried up. The section from Rumpff to Howitt were particularly challenging in January, with longer walks to search for water (Low Saddle had none and we walked down to Barkley River West Branch, which was easy) and the trek down Nobs Track to Clear Creek was a hard slog, but that's the only choice we had at the time.

We hope to do this 12 day section again next Easter, 2021, with 2 food drops, then the full walk later in the year.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby GBW » Mon 27 Apr, 2020 2:49 pm

Good idea to leave some water at Rumpff Saddle. I was at Low Saddle in Jan 2015 and found water as marked in Chapmans book (page 72) at GR 503683. Also down Nobs track as marked (page 73) GR 569722, Chesters Yard and Mac Springs. This obviously varies year to year depending on rainfall over the summer and leading up to your walk. Plenty of water in NSW apart from Witzes. Good luck.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Wed 06 May, 2020 4:52 pm

I've been planning out my food drop locations and was hoping some of the gurus on here could critique my plan and give me any advice on accessibility, location choice etc for the March April period. They are placed at around the 5-8 day mark (according to my current intinerary). Locations as follows:
Rumpff saddle - food and water
Twins Rd, south of the great Great Alpine Rd - food and water
Taylors crossing - food
Cascade Hut - food
Kiandra, somewhere near 4 mile hut - food

Any advice or feedback is highly appreciated
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Mark F » Wed 06 May, 2020 6:07 pm

Better to put the drop planned for Taylors Crossing where the AAWT crosses the Benamba-Corryong Road and add water to the drop. There is a thread on here about the merits of both drop locations but Taylors Cross does get a lot of visitation including by people with dogs that may well sniff out your stash. Having a drop with water at the bottom of the long climb to Johnnies Top is preferred and doesn't alter the drop trip navigation.

Cascade Hut. It is a long up and down walk to place it. May be better at the yha in Thredbo if you plan a day off in town.

4 mile hut is no more and a drop near there works better for N-S trips - it saves carting the food up from Kiandra and you can't camp along the route there anyway. I usually walk in a drop from Selwyn and leave it at the junction of the Selwyn and Tabletop Trails. For S-N trips somewhere just North of Kiandra or in Pollocks Gully is standard.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 06 May, 2020 10:24 pm

Mark has good advice. The water tank at The Twins is a few hours from the Great Alpine Road, so while water at the GAR is nice it's not critical. If you are staying for a night at Hotham, the lodge can hold food for you. Failing that, consider stashing the food drop near Mount Loch a little past the AAWT junction. Parties tend to stop at places like junctions, so going a hundred metres towards Loch then off the track may work. Another option is to go nearly to Derrick Hut and going off the track. Derrick Hut is the first sheltered campsite after Hotham.

I agree about putting a drop at the Benamba-Corryong Road. The last potable water is some way back, and there's a big climb. You may be able to drive to Johnnies Top in a 4WD - it's very steep in places. There may also be a locked gate. If possible, put food drops on the highest points or where you will camp, maybe both.

Cascade Hut is too far from the Alpine Way for a food drop. Thredbo has a Post Office, or the Youth Hostel may hold a parcel. At the expense of multiple river crossings, consider somewhere past Hayes Gully instead of Kiandra or Four Mile Hut site. If you have no time for this then Pollocks Gully is good, perhaps near the gate or a little higher.

Take photos, make notes and mark on the GPS. For a reference, have a feature that will be there when you collect. You could have something like "From the junction head NW towards (name) for120 metres until a large rock is reached. Go on a bearing of 45 degrees true for about 50 metres and look for a large stringybark. The food Drop is to the south of the tree."

As a backup, you could leave a line of markers at intervals of 5-10 metres with the food drop off the end. Go at least 10 metres and preferably more from the AAWT, but make it easy for you to find.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Xplora » Thu 07 May, 2020 7:43 am

100% agree with NO drop at Taylors crossing. We live near it and both sides of the river are visited by various kinds who would have no problem taking what they wanted from your drop. Some people do a drop at Mt. Wills but it is a 3km uphill and it is visited often also. Sunnyside is another option but check for ticks after coming out of the scrub to hide the drop. You can post a drop to Glen Wills retreat (or leave it there) if you stay a night or consider a rest. Good rates for AA walkers and it is only a short walk from the AAWT.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Anotherjonesy » Thu 07 May, 2020 11:48 am

Any knowledge on the beloka log track these days xplora? We used to camp at beloka every year, I went wandering up those tracks a few times when I was younger up towards Johnnie's top and remember them being good enough for 2wd in ok weather? I'm going to have a look up there when I do my drops, or use the old shack we camped at if I can access to it (off trail).

Anyone used the supermarket in Thredbo to resupply? Are they good enough or only have bare essentials ?
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Fri 08 May, 2020 7:39 pm

Thanks for all the advice so far. I've definitely binned the idea of leaving a drop at Taylors Crossing, I'll take your sage advice and drop near the Benambra-Corryong junction which makes more sense given the long climb ahead. Looks like the wife will be joining me for a couple of days to do the Dead Horse gap to Whites River Hut section so the drop near Thredbo is taken care of (assuming she doesn't chicken out and leave me stranded :shock: ). I think I'll take Marks advice and drop near the junction of Selwyn Rd and the tabletop. If anyone can see anything glaringly wrong with the plan please don't hesitate to comment. On another note I've been putting together a prelim gear list using the lighterpack website and was hoping you would all give it a lookover for comment and anything that's blatantly stupid in there. I'm fairly well setup already however I've never done any Alpine stuff before so would greatly appreciate your input. Baseweight was a fraction higher than I predicted, was hoping for something a little closer to 10kg. With my 7 day food stocks per leg (I like to eat well even if the drops are 5-6 days apart) and water it's looking like 20-22kg. If anyone has any suggestions on reductions I'd appreciate it
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Mark F » Fri 08 May, 2020 10:08 pm

Not sure where you mean by Selwyn Rd but here is a map of where I was talking about. You park where the trail leaves Kings Cross Rd and walk 3km to the drop site. Only takes an hour in and out and is a good break from the driving.

Selwyn map.jpg
Selwyn drop map
Selwyn map.jpg (103.43 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


I had a quick look at your gear and the "Big 3" (pack, tent and sleeping bag) at just over 6kg is the main area where you could easily cut weight. Have a read of other threads on gear, there are some useful ones in the Cradle Mtn section as well as for the aawt. You could also cut 1kg out of your cooking set up.

Anotherjonesy - the Thredbo supermarket is really a corner shop geared to the resort crowd. Given that you would be buying for 7 to 14 days I wouldn't risk it.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby ChrisJHC » Sat 09 May, 2020 11:06 am

Over 1.1 kg for your stove and a cooking pot seems excessive.
Does that include fuel?

Agree that the “big four” are also heavy but sometime comfort is worth a little extra weight.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Xplora » Sat 09 May, 2020 11:18 am

Anotherjonesy wrote:Any knowledge on the beloka log track these days xplora? We used to camp at beloka every year, I went wandering up those tracks a few times when I was younger up towards Johnnie's top and remember them being good enough for 2wd in ok weather? I'm going to have a look up there when I do my drops, or use the old shack we camped at if I can access to it (off trail).

Haven't been up Beloka way for a while. Know someone who did a food drop that way last year and had no trouble. These roads are usually well looked after.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Angry155 » Sat 09 May, 2020 3:24 pm

Thanks for the feedback it’s invaluable. For Mark; I meant to put Selwyn Trail not Road and thanks a lot for the map. That’s pretty much spot on for where I was thinking of dropping it. For Chris; the stove weight does include fuel, should have factored that in separately, stove weight alone is around 600gm. It’s a little larger than some of the other “jet boil” type stoves as it has a larger capacity for when I’m out with my family on multi dayers. As for the big 3 I’ll probably sacrifice the extra effort to keep them. They’ve seen me through quite a few trips and never let me down, albeit never an AAWT. I’m heading out into Budawang in a week so I might throw some extra luxury weight in there to bring it up to the estimated aawt weight and see how it goes. Thanks again all.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 09 May, 2020 10:44 pm

Some comments on the gear.

I agree with Mark - the pack, tent and sleeping bag are a bit heavy. Consideration should be given to having a lighter bag, an extra set of thermals for sleeping, and a change of socks. Instead of a down jacket I have multiple thin layers. Even on the coldest days in summer I have a long sleeve thermal top, cotton shirt, blizzard jacket, light balaclava and thermal lid. I have thermal gloves for cold and gardening gloves to keep off the march flies. My broad brim hat with a big flap at the back keeps flies and sun off me. My blizzard jacket is totally windproof with pockets for maps, and is long enough so I can sit down without getting a wet bum. I rarely carry overpants. I have long gaiters, cordura backed with ballistic fabric, hopefully snake-proof. Two socks is good, one for each foot.

I use a day pack as a pillow, 64 grams. You may have to camp some distance from water, picking up water in the evening for that night and all the next day. I have two wine casks each of four litres, in light nylon bags that I made. If water sources might be uncertain then I take a third wine cask as a backup, in a plastic bag. This is 12 litres for 160 grams. Consider taking extra capacity in case one water container is punctured. I retire wine casks as soon as they show signs of age, and am very careful about where I put them on trips. No punctures to date.

You cannot post fuel, and I doubt if the small store at Thredbo has gas. They do have meths.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby nofrills » Sat 16 May, 2020 3:16 pm

Hi Angry155 - I'm also conidering a hike in the upcoming season but was thinking about spring rather than summer - November.

I understand there are certain sections closed due to the fires - have you information that this will be resolved by end of year?
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 17 May, 2020 1:58 pm

Nofrills, bushfires followed by COVID-19 means that agencies are struggling to manage. On balance of probability Parks Victoria, NSW Parks and Wildlife and ACT parks do not know when they will reopen. See these.
https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
https://www.environment.act.gov.au/park ... ional-park
There are stickies in the NSW and Victoria forum areas dealing with closures.

You will need to put in food drops, and that could be hard in the short window after winter and before your walk. Also, some Victorian roads are closed until the Melbourne Cup Day weekend, starting 31 October.
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Re: AAWT in Mar/Apr 2021

Postby nofrills » Mon 18 May, 2020 11:35 pm

Lophophaps - thanks for the insights. I think you helped me a few years ago with my Overland trip. :)
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