AAWT Big River Chain

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

AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Thu 22 Jul, 2021 3:27 pm

Hi all,

Looking for anyone that has up to date info on chain across Big River, looking to cross it in following week, if we're allowed
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 22 Jul, 2021 7:15 pm

All it takes is one log at high water and the chain is gone for the winter. Also, you could get to Big River via T Spur or Duane Spur and find that the water level is too high. After mid-October the water levels are generally easier, and the chance of a log breaking the chain are greatly reduced. Consider Quartz Ridge and Timms Spur until spring.

The predecessor of the AAWT was the Alpine Walking Track, with one option going over Bogong, down Quartz and up Timms. Most experienced people with a view on the matter consider the Quartz route to be an acceptable variation, just as there are variations in other places, notably Schlink Pass to Mackays Hut, heaps of options. The AAWT from Valentines Hut to Mackays Hut has significant river crossings, best avoided in winter by staying high.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 7:42 am

Thanks for the info
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Xplora » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 9:32 am

Franz Tee wrote:Hi all,

Looking for anyone that has up to date info on chain across Big River, looking to cross it in following week, if we're allowed

The chain was not repaired and currently you would not get across without it. You could well have trouble with it anyway. The river would be mid thigh although the big dump of snow expected may stop some runoff into the river for a bit, the lower snow will melt quickly and that will cause the river to rise again.

The crossing at the Big River Firetrail will be lower but could also be problematic just now. The next alternative would be the Grey Hills if you cannot cross the river.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 9:50 am

Hi Xplora,
We're going to try Timms Spur, & like the idea of Grey Hills as a backup,
Last time I went down Quartz Ridge there was a lot logs to hop over, hoping it's not as bad as 2016
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby peregrinator » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 10:19 am

Franz Tee wrote:Hi Xplora,
We're going to try Timms Spur, & like the idea of Grey Hills as a backup,
Last time I went down Quartz Ridge there was a lot logs to hop over, hoping it's not as bad as 2016


Franz, see this report from 2017:

viewtopic.php?f=37&t=24526&p=321440&hilit=quartz#p321440

I haven't been there since then, so you'll get what you get.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 10:25 am

Onya Parks Vic,
That'll make it a lot easier,
Thanks Xplora
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 12:00 pm

In late summer a friend went over Grey Hills and up Quartz Ridge. His words:
"Grey Hills (loved it, track mostly clear), up Quartz Ridge (which I enjoyed, saw your suggested camp site, a nice one)".
So it seems that this is viable in winter. Note that snow will make the trees sag over the track. If going via Grey Hills there's a campsite on the east side of the start:
"off Spion track, down towards Crowsnest but tucked in behind the hill with a good soak down to the right, so didn't need to go down to Big River for water. Glorious spot for a camp if the wind's okay."
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Fri 23 Jul, 2021 12:07 pm

Lophophaps,
Thanks for your information
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Xplora » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 7:49 am

The crossing near Timms spur is much wider and the river does not run as hard as T spur crossing so you may get across. Quartz is safe enough in winter. Maybe a couple of dodgy bits if icy. Keep an eye out for cornices on the way down Quartz. Don't attempt this if the weather is bad. Just go to CC hut and sit it out until it clears. Or hang at Bivouac or Michell. I have done it in a whiteout and would not recommend it. Recommended reading prior is the story of how Cole and Michell died.

I would personally do the Grey Hills but Lops is right. May be some snow weighted branches. Much nicer walk though. Depends on the objective and the individual. Hope you can do it. Ropers is a nice place to stop and may be a good option that you would not get if you went the Grey Hills.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 10:28 am

Thanks Xplora,
Keeping eye on lockdown & weather, both pretty fickle,
Good to have options
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 10:29 am

Xplora wrote: Recommended reading prior is the story of how Cole and Michell died.

Not clear how Michell died in 2012.
https://pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf ... 8-2012.pdf
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby stry » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 2:52 pm

Xplora wrote:The crossing near Timms spur is much wider and the river does not run as hard as T spur crossing so you may get across. Quartz is safe enough in winter. Maybe a couple of dodgy bits if icy. Keep an eye out for cornices on the way down Quartz. Don't attempt this if the weather is bad. Just go to CC hut and sit it out until it clears. Or hang at Bivouac or Michell. I have done it in a whiteout and would not recommend it. Recommended reading prior is the story of how Cole and Michell died.

I would personally do the Grey Hills but Lops is right. May be some snow weighted branches. Much nicer walk though. Depends on the objective and the individual. Hope you can do it. Ropers is a nice place to stop and may be a good option that you would not get if you went the Grey Hills.


Helpful as always Explora :) Just a gentle correction - Michell didn't die in the Cole/Michell/Hull incident. He fared the best of all three.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 3:02 pm

Can I ask, how does everyone keep their boots from freezing and what's everyone's tips and tricks when snow hiking?
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 4:04 pm

Franz Tee wrote:Can I ask, how does everyone keep their boots from freezing and what's everyone's tips and tricks when snow hiking?


I've found that walking in summer is a good way to stop boots freezing. In winter my ski boots are on the pack which is on a groundsheet in the tent vestibule, with a blizzard jacket over the top to stop spindrift. Make sure that the laces are loose and that the openings are as wide as possible. The boots may or may not freeze. Some people keep boots in the sleeping part of the tent. I'm not keen - boots are big, lumpy, potentially dirty and potentially wet.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 6:33 pm

Lophophaps,
Haha, Thanks
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Bill P » Sat 24 Jul, 2021 9:16 pm

Thanks for that obituary Baeng. I wonder to what extent his early outdoor prowess contibuted to his business success and his long life.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Xplora » Sun 25 Jul, 2021 7:27 am

stry wrote:Helpful as always Explora :) Just a gentle correction - Michell didn't die in the Cole/Michell/Hull incident. He fared the best of all three.


Very correct. Writing in a hurry and it came out wrong. The descendants of those who led the search are good friends and I have had many a dinner at the old Batty house. Some great pics on the wall. Some good tales told but none alive now from back in those days.

For your boots, a plastic bag and put them in the tent. Probably will still freeze but not as bad. Wear them to bed is the other option. It doesn't really bother me too much apart from the stiff laces. As for walking in the snow. Expect slower pace and shorter distances if the snow is soft. Early mornings, when the snow is solid, you can move pretty quick. It can be quite exhausting so keep a nibble bag handy on your hip belt. I use a small camera bag. Means you can keep fuel going in but no need to drop the pack. Melting snow for water takes a lot of fuel. Try to avoid it. Take Tia Maria, fill your cup with snow, pour tia over snow and eat. You could pick whatever works best for you if you don't like Tia Maria. At 4pm (or very soon after that) every day it gets really cold really quickly this time of year. Have fun, stay safe, don't eat yellow snow. That would be my list of tips.
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Re: AAWT Big River Chain

Postby Franz Tee » Sun 25 Jul, 2021 12:28 pm

Hey Xplora,
Thanks for all the info, much appreciated
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