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Trip Report AAWT Winter Traverse 2018

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Outdoors, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Outdoors

    Outdoors Hard Yards

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    Hi Folks,
    Terra's rekindling of John Robertson's query about the AAWT in winter has prompted me to spend the last couple of days putting together the photos and writings that my brother and I have from our trip last year. I've barely looked at the photos since and have viewed almost none of the 250GB of 4K footage that we have. Hopefully oneday I'll find the time to put a video together as I am pretty sure we got some nice footage. During the trip I was focused a lot more on getting video than stills but have now edited the photos and put them together online. If you are interested in the AAWT in winter you might like to briefly check out:

    https://markoates.exposure.co/australian-alps-walking-track
     
  2. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great read, great photos.

    Very, very cool & epic. Picked a good season.

    How were the feet afterwards? Weight loss was noticeable well & truly in the photos.
     
    Chaeron and Outdoors like this.
  3. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I spent a very pleasant time reading about your adventures. I've done almost all of that route, but mostly just in summer and at about half the speed you guys moved at.

    It bought back horrible memories of struggling in torrential rain through nearly impenetrable jungle in the valley east of Mt Wills, pleasant memories of having Craig Doubleday as a guide on a few package hiking tours I ran (based at Thredbo, Falls and D.P), the coldest night of my life at Oldfields Hut and the perfect bliss of seeing the Crosscut Saw under heavy snow.

    Thanks for writing such an enjoyable trip report.
     
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  4. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Epic
    :thumbs:
     
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  5. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    great report and incredible effort!
     
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  6. neilmny

    neilmny Addicted

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    Great report and photos Mark.
     
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  7. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for sharing Mark,

    I really enjoyed the story and the wonderful photos. Congratulations on an awesome achievement.

    I’ve skied Falls to Hotham in a day so can appreciate what your longer days involved, and enjoyed your take on Nelse, Feathertop and Bogong which I’ve also skied.

    Your report inspires me to get into NSW onto the Main Range and up the Crosscut Saw in winter as I’ve done in summer, as well as do a more extended tour this winter.

    I loved the upbeat, simple style of your writing - very encouraging.
     
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  8. Outdoors

    Outdoors Hard Yards

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    Thanks Chaeron and Everyone. Really appreciate the kind comments!

    Rabid K9 - feet were definitely a huge issue and admittedly still suffering slightly. Andy never had bunions prior to this trip but now does. I already had bunions but they got much worse on the trip and now cause me problems where previously they were not really an issue.

    Cheers All
     
  9. Undies

    Undies Pizza! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Awesome TR and photos! Love your work.
     
  10. NewTurns

    NewTurns One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Whole different level of Trip Report.
    Had a quick read at work but saving for a quiet read to savour!
    Thanks
    If you sold tickets to launch a vid one day you deserve to fill the Enmore Theatre and then some.
     
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  11. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Only word for it really.
     
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  12. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Poor feet. Must have had a thrashing!! How often did you manage to get your boots dry? Looked like a lot of those nasty near freezing conditions. Andy (I think) looking surprisingly relaxed on some of those brisk river crossing.

    Pack weights?

    Have suffered a little from 'non freezing cold injuries' to feet on winter trips in Tassie before, surprised about how severe it could be & how long took to recover.
     
  13. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks, amazing and inspiring report. As already said, truly epic and legendary.
     
  14. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    An amazing experience, well written with superb pics. Look forward to the film one day. I am in awe of your constant smiles, not sure I'd always be finding the conditions and early starts something to smile about.

    Can bunnions be successfully operated on these days? My mother suffers them and they really cause her grief. She wishes she'd done something about them decades ago
     
  15. John Robertson

    John Robertson Hard Yards

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    btw...to Mark and Andy Oates...a huge, huge congrats for what you both achieved last year...Like many others, I followed your journey closely and learned so much from your daily posts. Not many have done what you have done! You guys are legends! Thanks for your inspiration.
     
  16. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thank you very much for the inspiring article and great photos.
     
  17. luke1234

    luke1234 One of Us

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    Just incredible!!
     
  18. Outdoors

    Outdoors Hard Yards

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    Thanks heaps to all those who have commented above! At some stage I'll try to reply properly with some answers to a few questions that have been asked. In the meantime... It's a year ago today that my brother Andy and I set out to complete our 2nd winter traverse. Due to life being so busy I hadn’t even looked at more than a couple of minutes of our video footage until a few days ago. I have decided though that it is about time I actually did something with the many hours of footage we took. As such my plan is to produce a short 2 to 3 minute video for each of our daily adventures.

    This means I wiIl be aiming to edit and upload one each day for the next 35 days. Given I am back at work after 3-months away overseas and I will be involved in several school camps during this time it is going to be a major challenge for me. As such the edits are likely to be quite rough but hopefully they tell our story in a way that words and photos can’t. Eventually too I'll be posting some photos, thoughts and videos about the gear we used for this trip.

    You can check out a super short trailer of what you can expect via:

    I won’t be posting any more links or videos up here but will be embedding them daily into my website about our journey which can be found at: https://markoates.exposure.co/australian-alps-walking-track

    The first episode, Day 1, is also now live at:
     
  19. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I am really enjoying your day to day videos, great work.
     
  20. Outdoors

    Outdoors Hard Yards

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    Much appreciated GS! Interestingly I feel that less people are into ski touring these days but more people are into backcountry downhill skiing. Happy that I am now half way through editing the episodes. Finding it a little bit hard to stay motivated as each daily vid normally takes me 3-4 hours. That said I am enjoying the opportunity to reflect on the trip and comments such as yours help. I know that the daily format doesn’t suit everyone but it was too daunting a task to try and edit all the footage into one short but complete story. The series probably only appeals to a small group of skiers but its been good to do them and I think they offer a different perspective to the still images and writings I have published. Cheers
     
  21. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just to add..... very awesome :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
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  22. Undies

    Undies Pizza! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, loving it. Thanks so much for sharing!
     
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  23. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    keep em coming @Outdoors ! Was good to hear the story first hand from Andy when we were doing the SAR for alpine challenge last year
     
    Outdoors likes this.
  24. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    You're very welcome!

    I still very much like ski-touring, unfortunately my other life seems to be in the way these days so being able to tour vicariously through your videos is the next best thing!
     
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  25. art

    art One of Us

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    Planning to binge watch when you are done
     
  26. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    @Outdoors Looks like you got all of the newest and greatest gear for the trip - dyneema composite everything. Looks like all your clothing and equipment handled the moist depression well
     
  27. Ramshead

    Ramshead One of Us

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    Hey @Outdoors just a quick note to say I'm loving your TR and vids. Working my way through the vids at night after work, savouring em one or two at a time rather than bingeing.

    Am planning for AAWT this summer. Got time off work, and upgrading boots, tent etc. I've never hiked more than a few days at a time, but like many on this site have a Aust mountain obsession. Your calm, both of you, in the face of fallen trees and heavy snow and rime and ice and fog and gales and rain and deep river crossings is pretty inspirational. Makes me think that anything I encounter this coming summer short of a bushfire can be dealt with Onyas!

    Oh, and if you could name one item to take on a long trek like the AAWT, summer or winter, that I haven't thought of, what would it be?
     
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  28. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sherpa?

    LOL
     
  29. Ramshead

    Ramshead One of Us

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    you volunteering?
     
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  30. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Quote is in the mail
     
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  31. Outdoors

    Outdoors Hard Yards

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    Thanks Ramshead :)

    Doing the AAWT this summer will be awesome! Should be some great snow drifts around well into late summer. One of my favourite memories of walking it when I was eighteen was of exploring underground/undersnow (for only a very short distance) a couple of the creeks that created tunnels underneath the snow above Thredbo.A surreal experience. I also though remember the flies but with no fondness!

    Which one item I’d recommend is a good question. Obviously its completely different for everyone. :)
    Not so much an ‘item' but perhaps one thing that relates to our calmness in the face of some challenging situations is the knowledge that we chose and want to be there, that we actively wanted challenges and that discomfort is only temporary.

    But to answer your actual question. For me at the moment it is perhaps a ‘decent camera’. I have been lucky enough to spend much of my life in the outdoors through work and personal trips but I feel as though it is only now that I have the capacity to truly capture the beauty of the mountains out there and share them with others so that they can actually comprehend my experiences. This is thanks to getting a really good camera (Sony A7iii) the week before this trip. So often in the past I have taken photos and videos and people go ’that’s nice’ but now I feel that they can see it more similarly to how it felt to me at the time because it's so easy to capture incredible photos and footage these days.

    If I think about one item on a winter trip and one item on a summer trip I’d have to say that for summer I think it would be having a haven from the flies at lunchtime. These days I’d quickly throw up the inner mesh tent of my pyramid tent at lunchtime by hanging it under a tree to seek refuge from flies crawling over my face and back constantly. I’ve spent a bit of time in NZ and used this strategy with the sandflies and it changes the experience from surviving to thriving.

    For winter, I think it would have to be Yeti gaiters. When you are putting on and taking off boots day after day (sometimes frozen ones) and often several times a day due to transitioning between hiking and skiing the ability to quickly jump into boots that have gaiters attached and that seal out the snow is a godsend. I’ve used them in the snow for at least 28 years and love them. That said the latest version does not work on my lightweight boots anymore as Berghaus have changed the rubber rand to be super strong and to really only work with mountaineering boots or fully shanked rigid hiking boots. For this trip I made my own out of some old pairs I had :) Oh - and a decent headtorch!!!

    And the one item overall for all my outdoor trips is perhaps 'Never Tear Paper' which is water resistant (almost waterproof) and tear resistant. Whether I am paddling on a river or in the mountains one of my pockets will always have Never Tear in it with either a map, track notes or student medical info printed on it. It is available in A4 and A3 at Xerox shops but my brother tells me a cheaper alternative available online is Monsoon Water and Tear Resistant Paper (although I have never used that brand myself). We had the entire AAWT trip notes printed on it plus small map sections for when we didn't want to carry a full map. Saved a lot of bulk, weight and hassles.

    Sorry, I don't do short answers :)
     
  32. Ramshead

    Ramshead One of Us

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    Mate that is a bunch of great info there, thanks for taking the time. Really appreciate it. Love your work
     
  33. Amelia1810

    Amelia1810 One of Us

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    Started watching the series on the train this morning. Great to see the conditions you're going through and the day to day life of a thru-hike.
     
  34. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Amazing.Thanks for sharing.