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Trip Report Bungalow Spur/High Knob/Champion Spur hike.10 & 11 Dec. 2019

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Hi . On 9/12/19 Your correspondent in the field went to recover an unused supply drop for a proposed Trap yard Gap XC ski tour. I hid the buckets of goodies so well near Faithful's hut that I had to look really hard to relocate them. I also stopped and looked at a few huts near the BHP road on the way back to Myrtleford.
    Myrtleford was like an oven that Monday night and I did not sleep a wink.
    Then over the next 36 hours
    I went and tackled Champion spur . I have now walked every route there is ( bar the NE spur) for the Razorback and Mt. Feathertop access. It is described as
    Walk no.11 in the guidebook by Glenn Van der thingy.
    The trip started by ascending the Bungalow spur.
    The Bungalow spur foot track is in good order .It was cut and slashed back in April 2019. It was sweaty work going up it in summer and the last few km.s always seem to be the toughest.
    There was no water in the tank at Fed. hut so I was wise to fill up 7 Litres at the spring that is situated near the old Hut ruins site on the Bungalow spur.It was flowing well from a pipe that someone had left situated under some rocks so that a spout of water fills containers quickly.
    Being a total fire ban and quite warm I cooked some lunch inside Fed. hut and then pressed on to the scenic but dry campsite near High Knob , on top of the Diamantina Spur. Being a clear and sunny made for good walking and camping there with my BYO water and a squillion flies to keep me company
    I set up camp , drank some water and had a snooze inside my tent away from the insects.
    I ate a dry camp dinner and went off to bed at dusk with my Tim Winton novel.
    At day break on 11/12/19 I woke up and was packed up and walking at 0645.
    I made good time past the Twin Knobs on a fine summer morning to the Westward facing crest of the Champion Spur at 1749 M. ASL. I pushed my way down through the scrub . The GPS contained pre made way points that I had set at home so that I kept on the top of the spur. The clear weather helped me see where I was going. The spur was VERY STEEP and quite overgrown. It was slow going and I used my own experience to ignore what the GPS told me when I could see with my own eyes whether I was on track, on course and on top of the spur or not. Eventually I dropped out of the Snow Gum area and emerged into a burnt and fallen Mountain Ash area at approx. 1400 M.
    There were very many fallen logs to scramble over.
    The SV map and the GPS showed the re cut East Ovens / Champion Spur fire trail was situated slightly to the south side of the crest of the spur. I kept pushing West along this line expecting to find the bulldozed track. Then the GPS told me that I was walking parallel with the fire trail. I followed a deer track westwards , with the top of the spur in sight. It was very slow going. I could hear the honking of the deer. The fire trail was so close, so near , but I was so far away from the Fire trail . It was 1030am. I was hungry, sweaty and fatigued. I was going the right way namely west but at the wrong elevation of the spur.
    The best thing to do was push back up onto the crest of the spur and just go west following the direction of the top of the spur as seen on the SV map and keep on with the compass use every ten steps or so.. I had a few highly apprehensive moments of "Oh Sh*te, I am a bit geographically embarrassed here" and the like , but I got myself into this and now I was getting myself out of it. Again.
    My experience told me to stay calm, go back up on the top of the spur, stop, eat, regroup and look at the real SV Map. The Garmin Topo map was showing the position of the fire trail as being somewhere at variance with the SV map and my own sorely tested reality.
    No sooner had I reached the top of the spur there it was! The FIRE TRAIL, just as I popped out the bush. Thank F**k!. What a relief. I joined it at about 1350 M . Now Big Kev (also from the Bushwalking forum) who also did this trek as a descent found the re cut fire trail at possibly 1390 M.
    He may have gone down the side of the spur at one point too but he too climbed back up and found his way .
    I sat down ,rested, relaxed, ate some food and had a look at the SV Map. Navigation worries were over. Oh Happy days.
    However the bush bash and the slightly distressing experience of being so near and yet so far from the Fire Trail were replaced by a near vertical slog that was like 7 KNOBS tracks back to back :-0 ,
    almost vertically dropping down the spine of the spur on loose rock and bark all the way back to the East Branch of the Ovens river. The weather and air temperature were heating up especially as I dropped down in elevation.
    It was hideous and never ending. Oh my poor knees and quadriceps.My hiking poles saved me from falling over a couple of times at least.
    I hit the river at 1330 and was ready for a break.
    Then having refilled with cold fresh running water, I ate some trail mix and consulted the map and the GPS ( with new batteries) I went off to find the last 2-3 kms back to Harrietville. At very worst I would simply have to walk down stream in the river. However that was not necessary. I did do 10+ boots on river crossings until I found the locked MVO gate and made myself walk back to the Bungalow Spur car park via a short cut behind the Dredge Pool and through somebody's back yard.
    Would I do it again? Probably not. Would I do it up hill rather than down hill ?. Definitely not.It was an ordeal [​IMG] [​IMG] and type 2 fun of the first order. My legs are so sore and my overall level of fatigue will take days of less rigorous activity in order to recover. That trek included over 1000 M. ascending and then 1000 M. descending in 24 hours.
    :-0
    I will post some photos soon.
     
    #1 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Monday 9th Dec. 2019. A long drive from Melb. to Faithful's hut to pick up an unused XC ski supply drop. The wood pile looked well stocked and the stumps /blocking at Faithful's hut had been given some attention too.
    The wood burner at Langford gap hut is still there but the weatherboards on the hut need some paint or it will disintegrate.
    The camping platforms at Cope Hut are rubbish and ruin a nice spot.
    There were a few small snow drifts still lingering on the Southerly and Eastern facing ridges of the BHP.
    The Kiewa Valley was very smoky and it was obvious there were some bushfires burning in the area.
     
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The Big Hike. Day 1. Up the Bungalow spur ,past Fed. hut and over to camp near High Knob.
    Dec. 10th 2019.A hot day and a total fire ban. As usual the trek up the Bungalow spur is divided into four stages . I took a rest at Picture Point. I was already a sweaty mess. I fetched 7 L. of water en route and carted it with me to High Knob on the Razorback/Top of the Diamantina spur.

    The Crest of Champion Spur can be seen on the far right of the photo of the Razorback with the Twin Knobs in the centre of the photo.
     
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  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    10.12.19
    Alpine N.P.
    The campsite near High Knob is very scenic and is the site of the proposed Glamping huts and helipad.
     
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  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    11th Dec. 2019. The Champion Spur ordeal !
    It looked like another nice clear but hot day was starting .I slept in my tent all night like a log so I had my wits about me for the day ahead .
    The scenery looked lovely in the cool morning air.
     
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  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Going down Champion spur , scrub bashing off track was taxing so the photos thinned out. Sections of it became very steep and overgrown and other bits were very narrow but clearer.
     
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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Finally I located the recut fire trail. What a relief :). The second photo from the top was the vision I had as I stepped out of the bush and onto the fire trail. It was a most welcome sight. I would not be using the PLB that day thank you very much !.
    However A new kind of torture lay ahead of me. The Vertical Fire trail from hell ordeal :-0 …….
    7 kms of it , FFS!

    I should have gone to Madam Lash 's dungeon of ill repute. It would have been more fun and less hideously drawn out. Especially at the rates she charges ;-P.
     
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The photos don't really capture how steep the Fire trail was.
    I tried walking down some of it backwards just to give my knees a break. The ten + boots and gaiters on river crossings were good because the end was nigh and I was soon to be delivered from the Champion Spur Ordeal by squelching my way back to the car in wet boots , with lots of water to drink. It was Type 2 fun in excess. A surfeit of it really.
     
    #8 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    #9 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Dec 13, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  10. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Easi Ski..... Ski Pass: Gold

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  11. Myazma

    Myazma One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    How much water were you still carrying when you got back to your car?
     
  12. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Easi Ski..... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice to float in the river and ignore the blackberry cuts.
    The walk up WAS nice. Lyrebirds and pittosporum groves. Google map still shows half the route.
     
  13. NeoSamurai

    NeoSamurai One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If I retrace my steps I can probably find it.
    Boots and gaiters MrT? Sissy! I met a hardcore hiking Canadian girl going up Hannels (solo) yesterday for a multi-day MainRange hike in 36C heat - she was only wearing a pair of sandals, red panties, singlet and a light ~25litre pack.
     
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  14. NeoSamurai

    NeoSamurai One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If I retrace my steps I can probably find it.
    My latest hiking boots with Vibram soles - my Shamma Warriors. Big heavy boots are soooo 2018 right now. Can't wait to see the Shamma ski sandal range when they come out :)

     
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  15. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Easi Ski..... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Needs springs so you can jump over the snakes. :)
    "Never walk on a branch. Always step over it".
    Suppose I am still back in 2017..
     
  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I filled up my 3 L. bladder at the East Ovens river crossings. I would have had perhaps 1.5 L. remaining when I reached the car. I drink a lot of water. I do not plan to tackle the spur @bawbawbel has mentioned. It has blackberry hell at the West Kiewa River section.
     
  17. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Easi Ski..... Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you go up VSG (unnamed) creek, that is true. And you retreat when it gets too steep among a chaos of fallen logs.
    Camp across the river and go up the steepest bank where you are through the blackberries in 20 meters.
    It was once a very popular approach.
    I soon got sick of random descents, go down the way you went up is the way to go. :)
     
  18. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    That sounds like a heroes and masochists ' hike. The bushfire situation means things could now become very bad very quickly in the Vic. Alps. It is very dry out there for December.
     
  19. bawbawbel

    bawbawbel Easi Ski..... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Eek! I agree. I missed this year's rendezvous. Perish the thought.
    It was popular because the long runs across the mountain are intermediate level.
    You were wise to miss the North East Ridge track .
    That one is the most masochistic, I found. Exposed, sun in your eyes, never again !
    Anyway, sorry for the kidnap, you are blossoming as a scribe and a guide :emoji_lifter:
     
    #19 bawbawbel, Dec 30, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  20. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am evidently soft but I still enjoy getting outdoors nonetheless and if my trip reports can be of some assistance to others then that is a good thing. I don't meet enough girls who match your description of the one on Hannel's spur.
    :p