‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’ upgrade

hi folks

i guess people heard about this one? State gov money to turn an obvious wander between 2 points into an 'iconic' walk that will look good in brochures.

I feel of 2 minds on this:

On one hand, I appreciate any efforts to get more people out under their own steam in the back country, while also feeling a bit nervous about what else they have planned (private huts along the way?). I don't support private commercial development in national parks, but at the same time understand that the Overland huts are fairly benign in terms of their visual impact and get people out there who would never do the walk if they had to carry all their gear, etc.... perhaps a hut along the way (possibly serviced by the old logging road in the Kiewa?) could be low impact? But are they more likely to want to place it somewhere more speccy, eg up on the edge of the BHP?

What do people reckon?

Bit of a blurb here. http://themountainjournal.wordpress...alls-walk-upgraded-more-developments-to-come/

regards, cam
 

sjm

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From the PV website:

One of Victoria’s icon walks, the 37km Falls-Hotham Alpine Crossing (FHAC) is a 3 day/2 night walk through the Alpine National Park, linking the resort villages of Falls Creek and Mt Hotham.

Winding its way along alpine ridges through snow gum woodlands and snow grass plains, over rocky summits and past historic huts, this 3 day hike offers an achievable and rewarding hiking challenge with spectacular views every step.

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is a point to point walk, accessible for hiking from November to April. The track can be walked in either direction but is best when starting from Falls Creek and walking towards Mt Hotham.

There are two campsites on the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing: Cope Hut Campsite, amongst the snowgums on the Bogong High Plains, is 14km from the trailhead and usually the first night’s campsite. Dibbins Hut Campsite is on a snowgrass plain near the headwaters of the Cobungra River.

A permit is required to camp at the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing campsites.

Further details here (including a FAQ with photos of the camping platforms):

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/p.../things-to-do/falls-to-hotham-alpine-crossing
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Getting others to enjoy this walk is admirable but Team Bears have reservations.
So that's why recent works have prioritized the over worn trail from Cope Hut.We noticed an official camping area
behind Cope Hut on our whirlwind trip from Mulhe Camp over highplains.

Just hope the brains trust in PV don't demolish Cope Saddle Hut cos it doesnot fit their colourful itinery.

About time money got spent in other areas.Not sure how we ganna warm to permits.
Maybe we will make invoice and send it to PV for some of our work..

But we agree that Parks belong to all user groups and not just the warrior bush walkers.
My reference to Red Robin Mine Battery earlier may come to something.
 

Greatfox

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Coming from a total BC novice's point of view here, is this hike possible in winter on xc/touring skis?
 

jimmyharris

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Coming from a total BC novice's point of view here, is this hike possible in winter on xc/touring skis?

It certainly is, though you'll likely end up carrying the skis a fair bit and navigation on the BHP can be a bit tricky in bad weather. Once you're off the BHP, then there's a steep drop in to a valley followed by a climb back out that I can't imagine would be possible with skis on.

I did a similar route on the Hotham side (followed by an ascent of Feathertop) on snowshoes earlier this year. https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/mt-loch-to-harrietville-via-swindlers-and-diamantina-spurs.61532/
 

currawong

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think I know who you are talking about then tecks ;)

there used to be a Hotham-Falls xc ski race late in the season. I think it usually involved a fair bit of walking/running.

as for boring or not, I've only walked as far (from Falls) as My Jim junction. It's gently rolling plains (surprise, surprise, the Bogong High Plains are not precipitous). I think it is lovely out there. Covered in snow it only be lovelier.
 

skifree

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I have done this route in Summer and Winter and never found it boring. It is a luverly wander and has some great views. The Nav can get a bit challenging when there is over a metre of fresh snow down to Dibbin or Westons.

I do not know why it needs any money spent on it unless the dunnies need upgrading or there are erosion issues. I've not been out this way for a few years now.
 
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currawong

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they built platforms for camping I think and you have to book them. they wanted to create an "iconic" (where's the cringe icon) walk
 

skifree

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What is iconic about the Falls Hotham route? It is really just a handy route as there is transport at each end.

My mother is still trying to get her local council to tell her what an "iconic bus stop" is that has appeared on the current redevelopment plans for public comment of the local jetty and associated public space.
 

skifree

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Sorry, the Falls Creek bus is much handier than that, it is 100M from my office in the City. Henley Beach would be just too out of the way.
 

jimmyharris

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What is iconic about the Falls Hotham route? It is really just a handy route as there is transport at each end.

I reckon that's just it. A nice walk with easy access and potentially accommodation at both ends. Marketing support from the resorts no doubt helps as well.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Well nothing Iconic about Camp Stoneytops or Camp Mulhe .
But they are rather cute places to pitch a tent or set up a camp trailer...
Team Bears getting tired so we may even go for wander soon to Feathertop or to Mt Jim in search of the Iconic Factor which we are having trouble with.
Bears want to set up a giant Mitre Ten Dog Blow Up on Mt Jim ...they say that would bring the tourists from all over........
 

Bogong

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At least in theory, I like the idea of promoting hiking. Generally the numbers of backcountry walkers are in decline and those who persist are definitely aging. So we probably need something to popularise hiking amongst the under 40's.

That probably means making things as pleasant as possible for the younger generations if we want to recruit more of them, but also marketing good introductory walks to them to get them hooked. Nothing too hard, nothing too rough or "agricultural". So I agree with the concept of identifying "great walks", improving tracks, building discreet huts (at non traditional camp sites) and marketing them to a different demographic than the sort of people who walk regularly at the moment.

But I reckon they have mostly picked the wrong walks. Yes, the Overland and Milford tracks are wonderful and ideal, because they deliver awesome 'bang for buck', or reward for physical effort.

But many of the other popular walks marketed to people who aren't regular walkers are pretty average. Hikes like the Great Ocean Walk and even The Kokoda Track. They're not below par, but neither are they the best walks available that are suitable for the target group.

So if we are going to improve tracks and build huts to recruit mainstream people, especially the under 40's, could I suggest a few better walks than those proposed by bureaucrats and the city based consultants they hire. Limiting myself to Victoria:

Coastal.
* Three Capes Walk (west of Portland). 2 or 3 days
* Southern Prom Walk. 3 or 4 days.

Modestly sized mountains.
* Grampians, perhaps the inverted V shaped Mt Difficult Range? Although other routes would be just as good.
* Marysville - Steavneson Falls - Keppels Lookout - Dom Dom Saddle - Donna Buang and down the now overgrown Cement Creek track to join the aqueduct and then down to Warburton

High Country.
* BHP circuit based at Falls Creek.
* Helicopter Spur - King Billy - Magdala - Howitt - Crosscut - Stanley Name Campsite - Upper Howqua
* A longer alternative could be Buller - Stirling - King River - King Spur - Speculation - Howitt - Magdala - Bluff - 8 Mile - Little Buller Spur

These walks (and others) would be far more "iconic" (yes I loathe that hackneyed term too), than most of those suggested by city bureaucrats and consultants.
 

skifree

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Have the authors been up Diamantena Spur?

They'll spend most of the budget doing track work to avoid erosion being a problem on this section.
 

skifree

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the standard (more direct) route down to Cobungra Gap and up via Derrick hut

I agree with this observation, but I spose a study of walker registrations may prove otherwise.

The intention maybe to de-load the Conungara Gap route & funnel more walkers along the Razorback.

I wonder how they'll deal with the Razorback to Hotham section, is there a viable alternative walking on the road?
 

currawong

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if they go up diamantina they may add an extra night, making it a more substantial commercial offering - just speculating.

also, there are so many cyclists that come here to climb falls creek, hotham, buffalo, tawonga gap. i wonder if a daunting climb makes it a more attractive commercial offering. they could of course offer an easy route and a hard route.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Team Bears not sure what to make of all this.....
Lots of good walks are off the AWT.Nice little circuits can be done...hope some money is ganna be spent on track works/maintenance on the "non iconic" walks too..
Went for stroll up Mt F. from Stoneytops Helipad and then continued over to Federation Hut on weekend.
Everybody is saturating the Federation/Mumc Hut approaches....busy as Bourke St on Mt F.
Stoneytops Walking Track needs a small team to chain saw fallen branches still a mess after last years fires.
You would have to pay Team Bears to stay at Federation Hut ...Its looking a bit overused down there!!!

Diamantina Spur track needs re routing over its initial steep climb on to the spur proper..so before people get excited about the Iconic Route get Parks to navigate a better route up the steep incline ....it must be possible to put a better grade across slope with couple of switch backs if required.....audacity of claiming administration fee when such a shoddy route is considered as Iconic..Thats only the very steep bottom bit ..we quite enjoy strolling along the section on the ridge top....

Its burnt badly up the hill from Fed Hut and Mumc Hut Turnoff its not Iconic its a sad sad sad environment after last fires
You want to charge for this experience????
 
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NeoSamurai

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If I retrace my steps I can probably find it.
I ran up via Bungalow Spur to Feathertop/MUMC and down/up Diamantina Spur last Thursday.

There was a significant amount of helicopter activity at MUMC and over the High Plains area when I was there - dropping sling load after sling load to the PV team dropped in and working there. Got talking to the friendly PV guys and they told me that each of 7 High Country huts on Thursday had a working team of 3 PV staff and were replacing the existing toilets with modern toilets including removable (flyin-flyout) modular septic units.

Also the bottom ~1.5km part of Diamantina Spur (the steep bit) seemed to have been marked with fresh pink ribbon which wasn't there only 10days earlier during the Razorback Run.

Agree with US - 'as busy as' - last week there were about 15 tents at Federation Hut. The day before in the BungalowSpur intentions book there was a single group of ~200 people day walking up to the summit!
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Thanks N.S. interesting information.
About time lots of work was done on Huts and tracks..

They really need to manage numbers better over at Feathertop/Federation Hut by creating another focus for overnight camping.
I had lots of peace and quiet over at Stoneytops Camp and though it was good to see others enjoying the alps its best when its solitary or less peopled.

Not sure I have any big solutions to this problem.

The horse yards close by Diamintina Spur Base could be redeveloped for better car/walking camp ground.Then long day walks could be made in couple circles on both sides of the West Kiewa.

Better incorporate a good fire refuge into this Iconic Walk....as the international tourists could be toast if this frequent fire cycle continues.
A camp by the river with a chance of a swim maybe sounds whole lot better than being up at Federation Hut.
Also some big camp fires for the tourists on their iconic experience too!!
 

CaptainC

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I've heard from a guy who's been to Dibbins Hut, that there's a sign saying no camping within 100 metres of the platforms.
 

The Plowking

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I've heard from a guy who's been to Dibbins Hut, that there's a sign saying no camping within 100 metres of the platforms.
Meh.
PV can get effed.
In all honesty I am totally sick of the constant erosion of our civil liberties in all aspects of our daily lives. I will never, read NEVER pay overnight camping fees for freecamping in any park national or state. I would entertain a season pass of some kind but that would be it. I don't want to pay for facilities I don't want.
 
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weerab

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you've got to be joking? Plans to do more walking in retirement are looking a bit Exy. Just as well I came to my senses and didn't buy that new macpac olympus! however, I did treat myself to a new canon dslr for Christmas!
 

The Plowking

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you've got to be joking? Plans to do more walking in retirement are looking a bit Exy. Just as well I came to my senses and didn't buy that new macpac olympus! however, I did treat myself to a new canon dslr for Christmas!
Doubt it will ever be well policed outside of main holidays.
 

Ziggy

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There's no mention of a fee to use the huts (described as emergency shelters), only the campsites/platforms.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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The circus has come to town the little bears are mumbling!!!
So when will the fun begin for poor PV staff members having to collect revenue and get offside with park users...
 

Ziggy

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$30 a night for 2 peeps is a joke. I've taken the camper trailer that can accommodate 6 into 'iconic' parks in SA for $10 a night.
...

This level and method of charging is just going to encourage gaming the system and yes, turn rangers into police.

Folk will camp away from those sites and may or may not poo responsibly. Changes in route and timing are now rewarded. Or should that be 'incentivised'?
...

It's a while since I did much up that way outside of skiing. I dunno who got the idea that it was an 'iconic' walk. It's pleasant enough but the big downside is the long car-shuffle. It would be no surprise to find that the returns don't outweigh the admin/maintenance costs.
 

Bogong

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Too right Ziggy. I remember hearing that staffing the toll booth on the Mt Buffalo road in summer cost more than the revenue it collected. Summer tourists in the area had a choice of which mountain destination to visit, to casual visitors it was a no-brainer; Falls Creek and the BHP's were free to visit, as was Hotham and the Great Alpine Road. As the number of summer visitors decreased because of it, the toll booth was one of the (many) contributing factors to the closure of the Buffalo Chalet

So to save money, cash strapped P.V. staffed the Mt Buffalo road toll booth less and less until eventually it was abolished, both because it put casual visitors off and because it cost more to run than the revenue it raised.

That precedent is something for the bureaucracy to ponder when considering if they should charge fees for visiting other mountain locations.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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It all seems like a bad dream..and we are waiting to see how this unfolds ..or completely unravels...Team Bears are waiting to see how this will affect our activities...we may be too scared to do any sleep overs cos we may get busted...be a bit like fare evaders.. will we see signs that proclaim the cost of the infringement of walking/sleeping without a valid permit.
 

Ziggy

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I'm happy to pay for park access. I'd get some benefit and would like to see the money go to staffing and maintenance.

Would like to see a sensible price that reflects the fact that this is a public good. I.e. combined user and government funding to protect natural values.
 

The Plowking

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^ I agree, but as an annual parks fee. Is it not in our water bills anyway in Vic? Make it $10 more. Prob solved. Nightly fees are Shiite.
 

skifree

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Did not Parks Vic find the imposition of a fee in this manner/type (nightly) was effectively a disaster when they tried to charge every user for XC trail fees at Falls?
 
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