Trip Report Big Hill/ The Fainters bush walk. Jan . 11 & 12th 2021

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Your Correspondent in the field went out to enjoy the wonders of the Bogong Alpine Area yet again.
Having driven up to Myrtleford on Sunday 10/1/21 , I stayed the night there at my friend's house ( she was away at the beach drinking beer. It was good she did not come with me on this trek, it would have nearly killed her !) in order to get moving at day break the next day, I rose early on Monday and I was on the road to Mt. Beauty by 0650 . I arrived at the locked gate at Big Hill at 8 am on Monday 11.1.21.
There were workmen about with heavy machinery and the locked gate was unlocked. I subsequently found that many of the unpaved road surfaces in the area had been very recently graded and repaired since I was last in the area just after Xmas 2020.
The slog up the hill to the place where the radio towers side track on Big Hill bifurcates was painful , and then there was the descent to Spring saddle. Finally I reached the Fainter Fire trail.
I had forgotten how much of a battle in the heat it is to get up to Bogong Jack Saddle. I was sweating profusely. With a weather forecast predicting 26 degrees C. at Mt. Hotham and 40 C. at Wangaratta and with the sun's mid summer rays just tearing strips off me , I soldiered on.
I met another hiker just near Bogong Jack Saddle. He was on day 7 , his final day of a full walking tour of the area , starting and finishing at Bogong Village.
I ate lunch at Bogong Jack Saddle at 12 Noon , refilled my water supply from a spring near the gate on the North side of the track and also inspected the hut there.
It is almost kaput. It has been subject to demolition by neglect . It does allow for a dry wood storage area.
I decided to press onto Salt Camp Creek , not far from Mt. Fainter South ( 1886 M. ) where I knew there was a good camp site amidst some old snow gums just a short distance up the hill from the water supply.
This was a further 6 kms further on from Bogong jack saddle and a 300 M. vertical gain in elevation too.
When I reached the spot where I set up my tent, it was approximately 1530 . I was tired and emotional!
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Bogong Jack Saddle to Salt Camp Creek.

Despite the 16 kms one way distance, up hill, with warm weather and an 800 M. + elevation gain it is still a scenic hike that can be done in two days.
I am not sure this is the best way to access this terrain for BC XC ski action and snow camping. Coming in via Falls Creek , Pretty Valley and Tawonga huts would be less arduous even if one were to be towing a sleddy thing on BC XC skis.

There is so much ski terrain out there above 1600 M. for skiers like @hongomania and @chokenchickin as well as NNN BC intermediate skiers such as @beefa skiing and yours truly , Mr.Tee .

11.1.21
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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On the way up on day one I saw two packs left at Spring Saddle but no people. On day two I met the owners of the packs. They were still coming up the hill from Bogong Jack Saddle whereas I had passed them and already been a fair way ahead of them and was returning.
They looked rather hot , weary and were lathered in sunscreen . They told me they had started at Bogong village and had gone down the Spring Saddle track to find water. Yes there was a trickle down that route but there are soaks/ springs flowing across the Fainter fire trail in a number of places.
Rookie error!
They were doing a tour on foot that would include Tawonga Huts and the T spur. I warned them that T stands for torture on that track!.
Once I set up camp and relaxed a bit after fetching water I took many photos of the alpine environment that I was enjoying all on my own.
I played a bit of guitar in my tent and rested my feet / body.
Then it was time for dinner !
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Camping approximately one kilometre away from Mt. Fainter south . The summit cairn would have to wait for a visit on day 2.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Day 1.Lots of old snow gums to admire.

I went to bed just before dusk and got up on day two at day break. The sky looked angry and there was a roaring north wind blowing hard all night which made sleeping a tricky matter.
However I packed up , ate breakfast , did my ablutions and the sky cleared to another scorching January day .I was walking by 0720.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Day 2. Jan. 12th 2021

The walk to the Mt. Fainter South summit( 1886 M. ASL) and then back to the Tee mobile.I skipped the North Summit. I have been there before but it is 40 Metres lower.It is the peak you can see on the right as you drive towards Mt. Beauty along the Kiewa Valley Highway .
The early morning light made for good photographic conditions.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
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The return trip was slightly longer via a slightly different route. I reached the Tee Mobile at 1400 on Tuesday afternoon.
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Day 2. Heading back down....

The team leader @Ubiquitous Steve suggested I take a different route back to the car via Spring saddle track and the West Kiewa Logging track. I saw different things and varied scenery but yes, it was flat but boring , easier yet much hotter :-0 being lower in elevation. It seemed to go on forever and stopped being fun one hour before it concluded.
Water was flowing at various points en route.
 
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neilmny

One of Us
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Nice work Mr Tee and I really enjoy your picture rich posts but can I suggest you do some after posting editing and remove the ones that you have posted twice or more, if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Poor little hut...we did out best several years ago to try to fix it a little...does it still have a ceiling?At least door has stayed on and window!Save your life in big blizzard !And the bench fix up is still ok!
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Poor little hut...we did out best several years ago to try to fix it a little...does it still have a ceiling?At least door has stayed on and window!Save your life in big blizzard !And the bench fix up is still ok!
The hut is stuffed and a cracked asbestos panel festival :-0 , I would hazard to guess.
The floor and walls are buggered. I did not stay long enough to examine the ceiling but much damp has caused much deterioration to the interior.

I opted to sit under a tree and eat lunch on the way up and take my chances with the march flies and ants which would simply not quit vexing me.
It is good I have gone with wearing the quick dry full length pants and long sleeves green season trekkers' attire/ uniform of late. It keeps the sun and the insects off.
I rested on the way back in another shady spot on the grass away from the hut on day two. The poor little hut is still useful to storing dry wood for a possible BC XC ski/ snow camping mission based at Bogong Jack Saddle.
 

skifree

A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe
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Try this for size Mr Tee. at around 5 minutes or so but watch the whole thing. Your Big Hill approach too.

Vnice, plenty of examples of the types of conditions I have experienced on the Fainters on 2 separate Winter trips.

As an aside I recommend Winter routing to avoid Jaithmathangs, the going is very bitty and messy thru there unless you have super duper cover. Use the Fainters <> Tawonga Huts route in lieu.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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@pegasusSki and @beefa skiing we have to do this BC Ski Fainters trip if we are allowed out this white season .It could be via Falls Creek , Pretty Valley and Tawonga Huts or come in via Big Hill , Spring saddle, Bogong Jack Saddle and ski tour the Fainters.
Setting up a base camp either at Bogong Jack Saddle or as seen in the video on the fire trail below the North summit could be better and just do a long day tour with lighter packs.That would be smarter.
I can carry an overnight pack with kicker skins up a hill but skiing down a hill with a full pack is not something I can do . I need to test out my sleddy thing on an easier trip such as out to Fitzgerald's hut and back and get my ski legs back after a paucity of skiing in 2020.
I must not be allowed to pike out of this mission!!. We await orders from the one above for the optimal weather window, no lockdown and decent snow cover.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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The shady faces freeze well prior to sun down typically.

The best XC conditions are probably on a hoar frost morning, rare things.
Some of that terrain near the Mt. Fainter summits looks like boiler plate mixed with some half decent snow. Typical hold the line and just ski on BC XC Ozzie ski conditions really ;-P .
The area/terrain near Little Plain looks like great skiing in the right conditions. Yes I would skip the Mt. You Ate My Tongue route and use the fire trail route from Tawonga Huts to Little Plain . I have walked cross country from the summit of Mt. Politically Correct and ended up at Salt Camp Creek using a map and compass. That route would be not ideal for skiing esp. when you are not an expert skier.
 

skifree

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The other route which I'm aware of that folks use is from the Power Station, start on the McKay Creek Fire Trail and where this heads North head West straight up. That gets you up to the South Fainter plain / creek camping area inside a day and visa versa on the way back.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
The other route which I'm aware of that folks use is from the Power Station, start on the McKay Creek Fire Trail and where this heads North head West straight up. That gets you up to the South Fainter plain / creek camping area inside a day and visa versa on the way back.
I looked at the map. That route looks a bit less enticing and less than direct with some serious switch backs, slogging it uphill ,
with a rapid elevation gain heading up towards Road 24.
I think a base snow camp at Bogong Jack Saddle would be good and a long day tour on BC XC skis as far as Tawonga huts and back [ if the conditions permit ] would be living the dream.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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You can camp up on that fire trail just in the Lee of Nth Fainter.....but I think Protected Saddle down the track is best.White Outs over Fainters come regularly.....so care needs to be taken up there in multiple parties.Once you hit upper Firetrail of Nth Fainter white out is not relevant!Weather good....it’s a free for all.Weather marginal stick in a tightly packed group.
 
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