Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 03 Jun, 2022 7:57 pm

I was just mentioning it for access to the Crosscut via Circuit road before it's all shut down.
Yesterday, this page mentioned access to Circuit road via Carters & Mt No3 roads, but that seems to have been removed today. https://www.mtstirling.com.au/we-are-opening-early/
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 8:43 am

All access to Terrain past TBJ will close today so that Mt. Stirling can start the XC ski resort operations a week early. For this week only Mt. Stirling is offering $30 day entry passes each day
until the Friday of the June Long Weekend.
The terrain on the Cross Cut saw would have quite a bit of snow and ice on it . If you cannot use crampons and an ice axe then IMHO you should stay away from there in white season.
It is so easy to XC ski or snow shoe around the Circuit road from TBJ to Howqua Gap hut when they have enough snow on the road and it is groomed , have lunch at the hut and ski back
or snow shoe shuffle back . It is perfect for beginners and a 16 KM XC ski or snow shoe trek in
a day will be great exercise.
There is a big snow fall coming on Sunday and Monday . After that the ski season at Buller/ Stirling will be pumping !!!

Why not drive up to Mt. Margaret gap , coming in from Buxton and snow shoe up to Keppel's hut and camp there for a night?
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Sat 04 Jun, 2022 6:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 3:37 pm

I've missed the boat to get to Crosscut.
I was just mentioning that with the early season start, and gate closures that only way to get to Circuit road is via Carter's or maybe not as website changed.
If someone wanted to go, ask DELWP I guess?
I'm not gonna give XC ski a go at this time, but you should get paid for your promotional efforts! :)

If more big snow is coming it's gonna be out of my abilities in the high-country.
I was thinking as a fall back a loop involving Bungalow/Razorback/Bon Accord or Staircase/Cleve Cole/Eskdale.
But sounds like last weekend was last chance.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 4:36 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:The terrain on the Cross Cut saw would have quite a bit of snow and ice on it . If you cannot use crampons and an ice axe then IMHO you should stay away from there in white season.


The difference between speculation (pun intended) and doing it. I didn't find any need for crampons or ice axe on the Crosscut in full snow. MSR Snowshoes worked just fine.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 4:45 pm

Baeng72 wrote:If more big snow is coming it's gonna be out of my abilities in the high-country.
I was thinking as a fall back a loop involving Bungalow/Razorback/Bon Accord or Staircase/Cleve Cole/Eskdale.
But sounds like last weekend was last chance.


I think you under sell yourself. You have been doing lots and maybe it is time for you to wet your toe into some snow camping. I reckon a trip up Bogong to CC hut would be great for a first effort. Start with snowshoes and pick a good weather window. Even if you go solo there is bound to be lots of other people out and about. It is a great experience but you may need to think about gear if you are setup for summer walking.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 6:47 pm

I recommend the OP do an overnighter in snow camping with snow shoes at Mt. Stirling. There are many cozy huts with firewood and a ski patrol. Plus the chances of getting lost in dense fog are not great since the trail network is well sign posted and the sign posts are numbered.
The distance back to the car from Bluff spur hut is not that far so if things go a bit cold and miserable then the exit point is easier.
I always took winter snow shoe trekkers and snow camping newbies out to Mt. Stirling when I was actively leading groups with VNPA.
On a clear winter's day the summit of Mt. Stirling offers a great view of the Cross Cut saw covered in snow.
Trekking up The Staircase and/ or The Eskdale spur on Mt. Bogong in deep snow takes much longer than most people would imagine and can be a fitness test in snow shoes with a winter pack.
I started with snow shoes and snow camping in winter before I changed to ski activities.
I am sure some other people also dabbled with snow shoes before seeing Nordic skiing as being more fun , faster and more efficient.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 04 Jun, 2022 6:58 pm

I do like the idea of learning how to snowshoe.
Plodding around Hotham and Pole 333 last May in snow almost up to knee deep was a pain when the novelty wore off.
I've done a quick search on the cost and they seem cheap until you realize the ones that show in searches are for a maximum weight equivalent to one of my tree trunk legs. :)
The ones I've seen to handle my size + pack are bit more expensive.
Any tips on a good, but not over the top expensive, pair to start with or should I look into hiring?
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 6:15 am

Baeng72 wrote:I do like the idea of learning how to snowshoe.
Plodding around Hotham and Pole 333 last May in snow almost up to knee deep was a pain when the novelty wore off.
I've done a quick search on the cost and they seem cheap until you realize the ones that show in searches are for a maximum weight equivalent to one of my tree trunk legs. :)
The ones I've seen to handle my size + pack are bit more expensive.
Any tips on a good, but not over the top expensive, pair to start with or should I look into hiring?


I think you have it in you to keep doing winter walks in the snow so buy a pair. If you change your mind there is a good market for them second hand. If you buy second hand make sure you check the straps as they do deteriorate over time. Carrying a spare helps. You will be heavy still with a pack on so good floatation is needed. Snowshoes don't stop you sinking altogether. I have been in deep powder where it was actually better to take them off. Sank deep and then snow fell on the snowshoe so I was lifting more weight out each time but that is rare. Maybe you could borrow some for your first adventure.

Can't really help with what is around in the snowshoe market now. Mine are very old. I have heard some mixed reports about the extensions to MSR shoes (tails) that give more floatation but no real experience. This is an old thread but might be helpful https://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=724 or this https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/yowie-snowshoes.5743/

I am not sure if Yowie shoes would cut it with the weight. I would go for a moulded plastic myself as I don't trust those with the base riveted to a frame. A toe crampon is very handy.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 10:00 am

Get MSR revo explore snow shoes with the heel lifter thingy. You can thank me later.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 12:07 pm

Way off topic now, apologies for that!
I've looked at the msr evo trail, seems a basic model, if a little short lengthwise to do a heavy load.
But out of stock it would seem.
The msr revo is pretty steep cost and also sold out at places like Bogong.
Anyway, bit of a non-starter at the moment, unless I go with something dodgy looking off Amazon.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby GBW » Sun 05 Jun, 2022 10:46 pm

Baeng72 wrote:Way off topic now, apologies for that!
I've looked at the msr evo trail, seems a basic model, if a little short lengthwise to do a heavy load.
But out of stock it would seem.
The msr revo is pretty steep cost and also sold out at places like Bogong.
Anyway, bit of a non-starter at the moment, unless I go with something dodgy looking off Amazon.


Hire a pair.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 5:56 am

GBW wrote:
Baeng72 wrote:Way off topic now, apologies for that!
I've looked at the msr evo trail, seems a basic model, if a little short lengthwise to do a heavy load.
But out of stock it would seem.
The msr revo is pretty steep cost and also sold out at places like Bogong.
Anyway, bit of a non-starter at the moment, unless I go with something dodgy looking off Amazon.


Hire a pair.

At $60 for 4 days it could be worth it for your first time. Not sure what Rays at Myrtleford hire out. Don't buy crap shoes.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 4:14 pm

Renting snow shoes can be hit or miss. Yowies are rubbish. You can attach tail extensions to the MSR REVOs so that your floatation over the snow with a heavy back pack increases.There is another brand which some places such as Erica Ski hire rent out which are also poo....I forget their name but they were so bad I preferred post holing up the Eskdale spur in Kahtoola microspikes than actually persisting with those pieces of poo.... Tubbs or TSL , something like that . Both were rubbish brands and designs.
If it is not MSR then find another
snow gear rental shop. Bogong equipment and the Wilderness shop should rent MSR snow shoes out.
Even a day trip to Mt. Stirling , up the Bluff Spur track and back down the River Spur and back to the car is good fun and car camping at the much improved Carter's road camping area just off the Mt. Buller road would be a good starting point. There is a lot of snow at Mt. Stirling at present. I am planning to XC ski there on Monday June 13th . The snow forecast for Mt. Stirling looks very good for the next seven days!.
You will need snow poles to hike with when using snow shoes . Bushwalking poles mostly do not have snow baskets.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby north-north-west » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 4:40 pm

I found the Yowies to be a good introduction to snowshoeing, just a bit annoying in the way snow and ice balled up on the cleats. Then went to MSR Ascents. Would love Evos or Denalis, but not enough snow down here to justify it.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 8:40 pm

Thanks for advice.
Hiring is out. I checked it and it's a pain. I'd need to go into the city to pick them up before a weekend, then similar time to drop them off after a weekend during business hours. I'm not sure I could get that past work and it would be a hassle.
And picking them up on the way would mean I'd have to time it to get to pick-up/drop off during business hours, not sure that'd be easy.
I'd rather plod knee deep in snow that waste hours going to the city. At least I'd be close to nature. :)
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby GBW » Mon 06 Jun, 2022 9:45 pm

Baeng72 wrote:Thanks for advice.
Hiring is out. I checked it and it's a pain. I'd need to go into the city to pick them up before a weekend, then similar time to drop them off after a weekend during business hours. I'm not sure I could get that past work and it would be a hassle.
And picking them up on the way would mean I'd have to time it to get to pick-up/drop off during business hours, not sure that'd be easy.
I'd rather plod knee deep in snow that waste hours going to the city. At least I'd be close to nature. :)


Have you contacted any of these places?

https://www.fallscreek.com.au/plan-your ... nt-rental/
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 07 Jun, 2022 9:35 am

Mt. Stirling has more fresh snow at TBJ now than you will see for quite a while.
Just ring the ski hire at TBJ and book some gear. The Circuit road to Howqua gap will be skiable / snow shoe trekking friendly. I will be there on Monday!.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 07 Jun, 2022 9:48 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Mt. Stirling has more fresh snow at TBJ now than you will see for quite a while.
Just ring the ski hire at TBJ and book some gear. The Circuit road to Howqua gap will be skiable / snow shoe trekking friendly. I will be there on Monday!.

That's an idea. I haven't worked out when or what I'm going to do, but all this advice is useful.

Your post answers a question I had. TBJ is somewhere between 1200 & 1300 m if Google is accurate, so snow is down to that level.
So, if I were to head up Staircase I could start to find snow before Bivvy hut... I'd be swimming in it near the summit! :)
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 07 Jun, 2022 9:49 am

GBW wrote:
Baeng72 wrote:Thanks for advice.
Hiring is out. I checked it and it's a pain. I'd need to go into the city to pick them up before a weekend, then similar time to drop them off after a weekend during business hours. I'm not sure I could get that past work and it would be a hassle.
And picking them up on the way would mean I'd have to time it to get to pick-up/drop off during business hours, not sure that'd be easy.
I'd rather plod knee deep in snow that waste hours going to the city. At least I'd be close to nature. :)


Have you contacted any of these places?

https://www.fallscreek.com.au/plan-your ... nt-rental/

No I haven't, but if I decide to take a walk near Falls I'll look them up. Thanks!
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 07 Jun, 2022 2:13 pm

Start this winter snow shoe lark at Mt. Stirling. You can build up to winter trips at Mt. Bogong from there. At present Mt. Stirling is going gangbusters when
it comes to snow.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 27 Jul, 2022 9:10 am

As Xplora might say, procrastination is a wonderful thing.
Anyway, inspired by a comment that walking down from the XCut into the Terrible Hollow and up via Devil's staircase in driving rain would be a reasonable warm up for a Western Arthurs Traverse (unfair I think as WAT is well tracked), I thought I'd look around for older maps of the Howitt area to see what tracks have fallen into disuse, been swallowed up by blackberries.
I found a topo map 1st edition from 1977 downloadable here: https://ecat.ga.gov.au/geonetwork/srv/a ... 144fdd4fa6
It has surprisingly little in the way of walking tracks and doesn't even include the Queen's Spur Road (was that after '77?).
There's the 4WD track to the bottom of Picture Point Spur and the track that goes further up the Howqua north branch, as well as one that heads towards Mt Magdala, but no Helicopter Spur, nor Queen Spur (not pictured) walking tracks.
And something I've noticed on other maps is that Mt Magdala is sometimes called Mt Majorie, in this case, Mt Magdala seems to be King Billy 1. Weird.

howitt-clip.JPG
Howitt Topo

I also found another map of Howitt, which is pretty unclear it also has Magdala called Majorie and King Billy 1 as Magdala. (Map downloaded from: https://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/ ... nce_8223_2)
On this one, there's a road running straight along the XCut (not contouring like Queens Spur road did/does).
Also, a track or walking track straight down from VG Hut to the Wonnangatta via Devil's Staircase (or at least abutting Devil's staircase) to join the old Wonanngatta 4WD/logging track that starts at Catherine Saddle.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 27 Jul, 2022 3:50 pm

Maps go out of date quite quickly. Alas
only the man who makes ROOFTOPS maps himself will continue making up to date maps of The Victorian Alps
IMHO . AFAIK Spatial Vision are going digital ,not issuing new hard copy maps and I doubt they are sending people out into the field to update their maps. I have found a number of errors on SV maps that reflect a different reality to their version of the terrain and now former foot or vehicular routes.
Incidentally some people on the ski website recently came in from Lake Cobbler and snow shoed their way to VG hut at Mac. Springs in deep fresh snow. The next day they came all the way back and found that those who came with ski gear strapped to their packs could XC BC ski from Mt. Spec. at least 1/3 of the way back down along the Mt. Spec. jeep road.
:-)
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Xplora » Wed 27 Jul, 2022 6:53 pm

I think you will find errors in most maps, Rooftop included. Naming errors are very common. In these two maps there is an error in the Vallejo Gantner hut name. Interesting to see Mt. Marjorie and you should research the history of that. Good find. Queens spur track may have been put in later as a logging or fire road. Who knows?
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby GBW » Wed 27 Jul, 2022 8:43 pm

Baeng72 wrote:I also found another map of Howitt, which is pretty unclear it also has Magdala called Majorie and King Billy 1 as Magdala. (Map downloaded from: https://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/ ... nce_8223_2)
On this one, there's a road running straight along the XCut (not contouring like Queens Spur road did/does).
Also, a track or walking track straight down from VG Hut to the Wonnangatta via Devil's Staircase (or at least abutting Devil's staircase) to join the old Wonanngatta 4WD/logging track that starts at Catherine Saddle.


That dot-dash line looks more like a boundary than a track. I've also seen Mt Marjorie on older maps somewhere maybe Hema
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 28 Jul, 2022 6:12 am

GBW wrote:That dot-dash line looks more like a boundary than a track.

That would make more sense than a track that would be near impossible to walk/drive along the XCut side.

I tracked down the referenced article in which the 2nd map comes from, but not much of interest unless you want to nerd out on then ('62) state of the art understanding of Geology of the High Plains. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/pag ... 7/mode/1up
The article following that might be of interest to historically minded folks regarding the discovery of the Bogong High Plains. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/pag ... 5/mode/1up
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 19 Aug, 2022 8:08 am

OK brains-trust, how close to Lake Cobbler can I get in a 2WD?
It looks like not a terrible walk to Mt. Spec from the lake.
I vaguely recall something about driving OK for 2WD until a steep section near the lake.
Is that the case, and is it the area in the red rectangle?
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby north-north-west » Fri 19 Aug, 2022 8:30 am

The only part that is an issue to 2WDs is the sideroad into the lake - there's an awkward bit on that which might cause problems although I always got in. Unless there's a *&^%$#@! of snow and ice on the road, of course. The rest of it can be rough and treefalls can occur year-round, but it's usually a fairly straightforward drive.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 19 Aug, 2022 8:41 am

north-north-west wrote:The only part that is an issue to 2WDs is the sideroad into the lake - there's an awkward bit on that which might cause problems although I always got in. Unless there's a *&^%$#@! of snow and ice on the road, of course. The rest of it can be rough and treefalls can occur year-round, but it's usually a fairly straightforward drive.

Thanks!
Where's a good place t o park?
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 19 Aug, 2022 9:12 am

Taking a 2 WD to Lake Cobbler from Whitfield : I would park at the top and not try to descend to the creek crossing and camp site near the basic Lake Cobbler hut. Take a chainsaw.
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Re: Advice for accessing the Crosscut Saw

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 19 Aug, 2022 9:15 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Taking a 2 WD to Lake Cobbler from Whitfield : I would park at the top and not try to descend to the creek crossing and camp site near the basic Lake Cobbler hut. Take a chainsaw.

So, is that the T intersection, where you could either head down to the lake on the side-road, or continue on the 4WD track toward Mt. Spec?
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