Question Any suggestions for 5 day walk Mt. Howitt region?

philthree

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Would anybody care to suggest a route for a 5 day walk ( in December) taking in some (or all ) of Mt. Howitt, the Crosscut, Lake Cobbler , Mt Speculation, Hells Window for a small group of experienced walkers.
Prefer to stay on track (experienced but NOT super fit). Prefer not to undertake a car shuttle but would consider it.
Apols if this thread should be posted elsewhere.
 

hongomania

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Would anybody care to suggest a route for a 5 day walk ( in December) taking in some (or all ) of Mt. Howitt, the Crosscut, Lake Cobbler , Mt Speculation, Hells Window for a small group of experienced walkers.
Prefer to stay on track (experienced but NOT super fit). Prefer not to undertake a car shuttle but would consider it.
Apols if this thread should be posted elsewhere.

Start at low saddle road and follow the AAWT to king Billy; then out to howitt, crosscut etc. Can drop car off at camp creek or lake cobbler if no 4wd. Leaves option for day trip to razor/viking too
 

GS

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Another option is Park vehicle at Upper Howqua, walk up Stanley Name Spur, then loop via Spec, Razor, Viking, Terrible Hollow, Howitt and down Howitt Spur or walk towards Bluff and down Helicopter Spur. Could do Cobbler as side trip from Speculation
 
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ecowain

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Another option is Park vehicle at Upper Howqua, walk up Stanley Name Spur, then loop via Spec, Razor, Viking, Terrible Hollow, Howitt and down Howitt Spur or walk towards Bluff and down Helicopter Spur. Could do Cobbler as side trip from Speculation

I walked pretty much this a few years ago, lovely walk.

We went up helicopter, along the tops howitt, spec etc, Viking, then walked up the fading wonnangatta track to climb up devils staircase, then down howitt spur back to the car.

It was all on good tracks except the bit on the Wonnangatta / devils staircase, and they were straightforward off track with a bit of scrambling.
 

GS

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I walked pretty much this a few years ago, lovely walk.

We went up helicopter, along the tops howitt, spec etc, Viking, then walked up the fading wonnangatta track to climb up devils staircase, then down howitt spur back to the car.

It was all on good tracks except the bit on the Wonnangatta / devils staircase, and they were straightforward off track with a bit of scrambling.

And starting/finishing beside a river is always good when the weather is likely to be warm.
 

Xplora

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Were you looking to keep the days shorter in terms of distance? Being not so fit, does that mean you are looking for less vertical or are you happy to just plod up but cover less ground. Being experience makes a difference as you know how to pace yourself and should be mentally prepared. Some of the routes suggested involve some pretty good climbs with scrambling but are very good. The Crosscut is about a day for those less fit but usually about 5 or 6 hours. Cobbler to Camp Creek (or Mt. Spec via Koonika) is also a long day and on roads for much of it. From the lake you could head to the summit of Cobbler then along the plateau to join up with the Lake Cobbler road near Speculation Road. A 4wd is handy in this area also but you would not need one to get to the Upper Howqua camp area and from there you have the choice of Helicopter spur, Howitt Spur or Stanley Name. Do not consider Queen spur to Mt Buggery up or down. Howitt Spur would be the easiest followed by SNS but not much in either way. There is a false track which near the start of Howitt spur which may appear to be a bit more obvious than the right one. It leads up a creek line.

Would also need to know if your five days includes any travel to the start or will you be able to do 5 full days walking. Getting to some start points can take up half a day easily.
 
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mr

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yeah the lake cobbler road took us way longer than we thought it would to get in, 5hrs from melbourne i think
 

philthree

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions / advice.
  • 5 days is walking days (travel is prior to )
  • days of 6 - 9 hrs walking & climbs are fine at a 3 - 5 km/h pace (we aren't "tiger" walkers)
 
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Xplora

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions / advice.
  • 5 days is walking days (travel is prior to )
  • days of 6 - 9 hrs walking & climbs are fine at a 3 - 5 km/h pace (we aren't "tiger" walkers)
If you can do 5 kph up those hills with a full pack then you are pretty good. I usually average 3 kph over the entire day with stops. To play it safe then 18 - 20 km days would be the go and leave a bit up your sleeve. With this info then I think you have a good range of walks already posted. A bit of tweaking here and there. You could chuck in a day where you walk out from camp with the basics. Mac Springs is a good base to do Magdalla if you don't go in that way. It would be worth seeing.
 
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philthree

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Skifree (& others)I am leaning towards Skifree route suggestion as it takes in the features we are looking for, distance / difficulty with reasonable access, couple of questions if I may:

- descending South Viking via track to the Wonnangatta Rvr. Am I right to assume that it is suitable to camp where this track bottoms out and meets the Wonnangatta Rvr?

- to ascend Howitt (to camp at Mac Springs) Zeka Spur track (long, hot, dull....?) OR follow tk beside Wonnangatta Rvr to Terrible Hollow / Devils Staircase (off track section) ?

Ps I am using Buller Howitt 1:50,000 SV O' Rec map & Vicmap Howitt - Selwyn 1:50,000
 
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skifree

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- to ascend Howitt (to camp at Mac Springs) Zeka Spur track (long, hot, dull....?) OR follow tk beside Wonnangatta Rvr to Terrible Hollow / Devils Staircase (off track section) ?
We did Zeka Spur with the final bit off track, I thought it was a very pleasant climb.

The Won is full of Blackberries.
 
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philthree

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Yeah I am probably more likely to average 3 km/h over the full day with a 5 day pack (my mistake).

Thanks Skifree for the advice; so its ok for camping at the bottom of the spur (Wonnangatta rvr) & climbing the Zeka not so bad.


ps If we get there I will get you to call your old iphone as we pass by the Vikin No promisies though !
 
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ecowain

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The bottom of the spur down from south Viking was feral with weeds when we were there. E found better spots along the banks upstream. But that wouldn’t work if you were planning zeka spur, if I remember correctly.

Travel in the river was better in places. Track was average. We enjoyed going up devils staircase, but we enjoy scrambling. We don’t like roads, so zeka spur wasn’t attractive to us.
 

skifree

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I don’t remember too much road on Zeka, I think we extended the off road top & bottom with a bit of follow our noses and that looks interesting nav.
 
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echidna

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Another option is Park vehicle at Upper Howqua, walk up Stanley Name Spur, then loop via Spec, Razor, Viking, Terrible Hollow, Howitt and down Howitt Spur or walk towards Bluff and down Helicopter Spur. Could do Cobbler as side trip from Speculation
That's the one I'd go with. As long as you included the Howitt, Spec, Razor, Viking circuit which is 3 pretty solid days you could add the extra days with side-trips or entry / exit.

You don't have to take Zeka track, just follow the spur, much nicer.

From many, many years ago, dawn from the Viking. Only a cheap camera, I keep the real one upstairs.

upload_2020-11-15_19-37-48.png
 

echidna

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It is a bit of a slog out of the river but smooths off towards the top. I wouldn't recommend the circuit if things were in the 30's. But the 2nd time I walked it there was a thunderstorm and torrential downpour, which was awesome.
 
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philthree

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Thanks for the suggested route & sharing the geat pic Echidna from the Viking ( looks like the tide was in that morning!). Agree Chaeron I would be looking for alt' routes once the temp approaches the mid 30's especially with an accompanying strong Northerly wind, 1/2 way up a spur in the Wonnangatta is no place to be with the likelihood of a bushfire. I will check in with the rest of my walking group to see how they feel about heading into the Wonnangatta River Valley Vs staying high.

As always the information and opinions by each of you is very valuable and much appreciated!
 
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Chaeron

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Thanks for the suggested route & sharing the geat pic Echidna from the Viking ( looks like the tide was in that morning!). Agree Chaeron I would be looking for alt' routes once the temp approaches the mid 30's especially with an accompanying strong Northerly wind, 1/2 way up a spur in the Wonnangatta is no place to be with the likelihood of a bushfire. I will check in with the rest of my walking group to see how they feel about heading into the Wonnangatta River Valley Vs staying high.

As always the information and opinions by each of you is very valuable and much appreciated!
Really lovely dipping into the Wonangatta off the Viking! Not to be missed.

I followed an alternate ridge line down off the Viking, some interesting GPS navigation at times in thick bush, but awesome terrain. All very doable.

7A9C2D55-A676-430A-9E67-F1F001D7DAF1.jpeg


GPS and PLB recommended... gives you a latitude of freedom.
 

philthree

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Some more advice please: Access to King Hut, is it ok for 2wd to travel King Basin Rd via the Circuit Rd ? also Access to Upper Howqua Camping Area suitable for 2wd ? Bindaree Rd via Circuit Rd. I am hoping we could place a car at each location for start / finish.
Water availability Mt Speculation (campsite shown north of the summit) spring/ creek / water in the gully ? I was nearly 10 years ago and I recall getting water somewhere nearby.
 

CaptainC

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Some more advice please: Access to King Hut, is it ok for 2wd to travel King Basin Rd via the Circuit Rd ? also Access to Upper Howqua Camping Area suitable for 2wd ? Bindaree Rd via Circuit Rd. I am hoping we could place a car at each location for start / finish.
Water availability Mt Speculation (campsite shown north of the summit) spring/ creek / water in the gully ? I was nearly 10 years ago and I recall getting water somewhere nearby.
Upper Howqua camping area - no problems with 2WD access. Can't remember about King Hut. Mt Speculation campsite has always been reliable for water.
 

Xplora

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The most reliable water is at Camp Creek campsite which is on the Speculation road should you have any issues.
 
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Chaeron

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King Hut should be OK for 2WD via the Bindaree/ Circuit route you describe - well graded road which has had recent attention graded last summer (not sure of last 8 months.

https://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=19071

Beyond that into the King Valley or up the Spec road to Staircase definitely 4wD - not feasible for 2WD due to river crossings/ steep rocky sections.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Some more advice please: Access to King Hut, is it ok for 2wd to travel King Basin Rd via the Circuit Rd ? also Access to Upper Howqua Camping Area suitable for 2wd ? Bindaree Rd via Circuit Rd. I am hoping we could place a car at each location for start / finish.
Water availability Mt Speculation (campsite shown north of the summit) spring/ creek / water in the gully ? I was nearly 10 years ago and I recall getting water somewhere nearby.
Access to King hut is IMHO marginal in 2wd. Easy for AWD SUV. Trees do fall down around there so take a chain saw if you park at King Hut . You may need to cut your way out/in. Access for The Circuit road and Bindaree road is fine for 2 WD but watch for rocks /timber etc.. Anywhere past King Hut along towards Pineapple flat and King Basin Road is a case of NO GO in a 2WD city car.
Water at Camp Creek at Mt. Spec. is reliable. The water flows under the road just before the end of the 4 WD Spec. road. Recent reports tell me that the "Road" from Lake Cobbler to Mt. Spec. has become much worse but for lifted 4 x 4 users with the skills the " Staircase " on the Spec. road has been fixed after much work & labour by PV and DEWLP.
 
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