Anyone interested in a trip to Mt Howitt this winter?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Cam Walker, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    hi all
    was thinking to do a quick trip into Mt Howitt from August 4 - 7. Given this is a short period of time for a big trip, I was planning to spend 2 nights maybe on Mt Lovick and do a long 'there and back' day to Howitt, if conditions allow. Drive up to the Howqua on the 3rd, and probably head in via Bluff saddle rather than over The Bluff itself.

    If anyone's keen pls get in touch: cam.walker@foe.org.au
    (and let's hope we have some proper snow soon!)
     
  2. Seth

    Seth Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2000
    Messages:
    35,555
    Likes Received:
    12,835
    Are you going to install a memorial plaque of some description?
     
    Chaeron, piolet and CarveMan like this.
  3. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    Hopefully not. Just going for a ski.
     
    Chaeron and ladycamper like this.
  4. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    oh, I just saw the other thread about plaques. Now I get it.
     
  5. Boodwah

    Boodwah Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,466
    Likes Received:
    3,812
    Hey Cam, I would LOVE to do this trip. Unfortunately we're up at DP that WE. I had loosely thought about much the same trip with one of my kids 7-10/8... Cheers Mike
     
  6. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    Maybe we'll see you on the way out! I do have some folks lobbying for DP that weekend so may end up there if I can't get a crew for Howitt trip....
     
  7. almontyrat

    almontyrat Well-Known Member
    Season Pass Silver

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    387
    I'll be at Hotham from the 7th to the 13th Cam if that is any influence.....
     
    Cam Walker likes this.
  8. Tanuki

    Tanuki Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,202
    Likes Received:
    1,309
    I'd love to as well, but am also at Hot-ham for that week
     
  9. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    So, Hotham is looking good that weekend ...
     
  10. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,445
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    My dream is to snow shoe from the Howqua River up to Mac Springs in white season.It looks more likely that I will be going up Mt. Bogong at that time in August.
     
  11. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    I snow shoed in there years ago, its a great trip up the Howitt Spur, hope you get there soon.
     
    ladycamper likes this.
  12. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,777
    Likes Received:
    1,769
    Team Bears could come scout the area for picnic table locations?

    Nah relax!we just stirring.....As Mt T says it's strange country up there ....very voodoo like....that little wall that connects Mc Springs to Howitt always amazes me.
     
    Chaeron and ladycamper like this.
  13. ladycamper

    ladycamper Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    3,042
    Likes Received:
    493
    Interested in possible trip up to Bluff or Lovicks Hut, extending if I feel alright or weather allows.
     
  14. Thomas WHiteside

    Thomas WHiteside Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    86
    me and my mates potentially keen, though might be at hotham those dates. will get back to you.
     
  15. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,445
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    One possible plan of attack might have to wait until August 2018 .From 8 mile flat , it is almost two days of walking along the Howqua river in short winter daylight hours to get to the bottom of the Howitt spur. That would mean driving up to 8 Mile flat and leaving the car opposite the locked gate at 8 Mile flat campsite from Melb. and walking into Ritchie's hut. That would be day one.
    Day two would be walking up to the Upper Howqua where the two branches of the river meet, about one hour on foot, an hour past the car camping area at the Upper Howqua. There is a good walk in camp site at that place.
    Day three would be the ascent up the Howitt spur with full snow camping / ice trekking gear and possibly crossing Mt. Howitt summit area in a whiteout and gale force winds :-0 , heading EAST for the Vallejo Gantner A- frame hut at Mac Springs.
    Day 4 would be the return down the Howitt spur track and head for Bindaree hut to camp.
    Day 5 would be hiking back to 8 Mile flat and drive home in the dark.
    It is quite a mission but to get a series of photos of the Crosscut Saw cloaked in snow would be more than enough evidence that life is good ,once you get away from all the bull sh*t that surrounds us day to day.
     
    #15 Mister Tee on snow shoes, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    ladycamper and Ubiquitous Steve like this.
  16. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    Mr Tee, I've been into Howitt that way and its great. But I've also snowshoed in from Bluff Saddle/ Bluff hut and thats (in a good winter) usually snow covered all the way. Its about the same number of days, and if you want a good snow fix I'd recommend that over following the Howqua, which only gives you a few hours 'on snow'. But you really can't go wrong up there, so much great country. And yes, the Cross Cut Saw on a clear day is an amazing and incredibly beautiful.
     
  17. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    excellent!
     
  18. Cam Walker

    Cam Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    105
    ok, great.
     
    ladycamper likes this.
  19. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,777
    Likes Received:
    1,769
    Yes I think we all agree the landscape in there is special.....the colour in summer is nice too....Red Rock Saddle and Stanley Name Spur...and the way it pops out on the Crosscut Saw.....probably our memory of Howitt Spur has faded....but it's beautiful scenery up there....

    And I think I was always looking into Terrible Hollow half expecting a prehistoric animal to come out and chase me away!!
     
  20. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,445
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    Recent reports suggest that the foot track from the Mt. Stirling Circuit road along the Stanley Name Gap to Red Rock Saddle and Mt . Thorn route ( and subsequently up the Stanley name spur ) has become a bush bash to end all scrub bashes and is very slow going. That route has not been cleared or maintained for years.
     
  21. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    450
    It's a big trip anyway you come in, isn't it?

    I walked Stanley Name Spur 30 yrs ago in Summer, and it was pretty miserable even then! What about a fat bike over the Howitt plains to get to VG hut, chuck a quick memorial plaque up, and it's only a few hours to the summit?

    Every route into Howitt is difficult, but the Cross Cut Saw looks amazing skiing.

    A
     
    Chaeron and Tanuki like this.
  22. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,777
    Likes Received:
    1,769
    Gee Andrew A your surely not wanting a plaque ....

    Oh the domino theory....let one plaque up then that obviously will open the flood gates...we do love your reasoning....

    Approach along Stanley Name Spur,King Spur or Queen Spur certainly was not difficult thirty years ago...

    One could get the 4x4,up on to SNS and park it......then an easy walk towards the cross cut Spur.Even from Circuit Rd via Red Rock it was not that bad either.

    But Xplora would like the new overgrown challenge if that is the case.After all its all part of the experience.Maybe it's been declared a wilderness reference area to cut down on track maintenance or something.
     
    ladycamper likes this.
  23. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    450
    No, Steve, I've made it clear there are no plaques for me.

    A
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  24. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    65
    I went 25 years ago via Bluff saddle , Lovicks Hut,Mt Magdala the hardest trip I have ever done and that was a good snow year.
    Why = its up and down ,some is low altitude, some rocks and soft slush,navigation finding the ridge leading to Magdala is difficult in poor visibility, its not far but takes time . Good luck.
     
  25. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,445
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    They were all logging tracks. Logging has stopped in what is now the Alpine N.P./ State Forest and so the tracks are becoming overgrown.
     
    Ubiquitous Steve likes this.
  26. Simplicius

    Simplicius Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    89
    Depends on how bush bashy you consider a bush bash to be. I've walked SNS twice this year and can confirm that at least 160 school kids + staff passed through on the track in term 1 and 2, and latrobe uni OE1st years use it most years too, so the footpad is well trodden and pokey twigs are broken off, a lot of small tight acacia growth and fallen logs though, otherwise quite doable.
     
    GS likes this.
  27. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,777
    Likes Received:
    1,769
    Aahh. Just take a little chainsaw on an expedition on your next walk during summer.....
     
  28. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,445
    Likes Received:
    1,184
    The Stanley name spur track, that section still sees some foot traffic but the section between the Circuit road /Stanley Name Gap and the base of the Spur itself at the bottom of the Cross Cut Saw is the area I was referring to as being reportedly quite overgrown.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  29. Simplicius

    Simplicius Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    89
    yes the top area of mt thorn is a bit scratchy but after red rock saddle to crosscut is fine.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  30. iGlenn

    iGlenn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    12
    Interested. Will be in touch Cam.
     
  31. Outdoors

    Outdoors Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    128
    Have just returned from a quick trip into Howitt. We only had 3 days so went for maximum bang for our buck going in via Speculation and Crosscut from Lake Cobbler. Will try to eventually put together a trip report of some kind but thought I'd quickly post the current conditions here. My wife and I and a friend went in on Monday and came out yesterday. As such we didn't get great views and had some challenging weather conditions but it was certainly worth it. On the way in we didn't hit decent snow cover until we exited the treeline below Spec but on the way out we probably had snow for halfway along the 12km road walk out to Lake Cobbler. Overall there was generally 20-50cm but on the thin side on the lower elevations and western aspects of the Crosscut/Buggery. This time was able to ski about half the Crosscut whereas on a previous trip was able to ski it all. The others snowshoed but did carry skis or at least for some of the trip. The cover around Vallejo Gantner and on the lee aspects was very good. We camped on Mt Buggery Monday night then at VJ Hut on Tuesday which made for a massive long and painful day out to the car yesterday. Road conditions were excellent. We didn't use our crampons and axes but suspect they may have been required if we crossed the exposed sections later yesterday with the wind picking up significantly. It is the wind that makes this crossing tough given how narrow and exposed the ridge is in certain spots.
     
    Chaeron, GS, Cam Walker and 4 others like this.
  32. GS

    GS Addicted Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,008
    Likes Received:
    4,295
    Snow cover for a Howitt trip probably doesn't get much better than it is now, or at least once this snowpack consolidates.