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Feathertop Access vs Bogong

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by cafe_racer, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. cafe_racer

    cafe_racer First Runs

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    Howdy all, have really enjoyed reading many of the informative posts here. I have done my fair share of mountaineering and BC skiing overseas and am enjoying getting to know my own backyard.

    I went to Bogong a few weeks ago and went via Staircase Spur staying just above the tree-line before having a ski around the next day. The walk up staircase spur with packs was pretty shithouse....It's no Canada where you park by the roadside and start skinning straight away!

    Question is, how does the walk up Bungalow Spur compare in difficulty and time taken?

    Staircase spur to bivy hut is 3km +700m elevation. Bungalow Spur to Fed Hut is 9km +1,100m elevation.

    Am I better off going along Razorback and camping somewhere along there and skiing for a couple of days so that I don't need to go about hiking some elevation>?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You can ski along the Razorback when there’s enough snow - and you can travel quite fast under those circumstances... Easy enough to get to Fed hut in a couple of hours.
     
  3. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep. Bungalow Spur is a hike.

    Try Eskdale Spur instead for Bogong.
     
  4. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bogong offers way more in terms of skiable lines than Feathertop once one is on the snow, especially in terms of vert.
     
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  5. cafe_racer

    cafe_racer First Runs

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    Thanks fellas, seems Eskdale Spur could be a good option next time I hit up Bogong, the staircase left a bad taste in my mouth after the last slog! I didn't know how to get around the closed road at the base of staircase spur last time!

    Skiing along razorback sounds like a good option, and no need to get to the summit of Feathertop or even to Fed hut as am sure we can just camp along the route and lap a few aspects based on conditions.
     
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  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Go to Camp Ck Gap via the road, for Eskdale.

    Low snow and treefalls are risks though.
     
  7. SEJ

    SEJ Hard Yards

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    Bungalow is much easier than staircase, albeit a bit longer. I’d recommend Razorback, although it can be quite exposed. I’d go all the way to Fed Hut and camp there, rather than along the Razorback ridge. You do, unfortunately, have to pay resort entry if you are doing the Razorback from Dimantina.
     
  8. cafe_racer

    cafe_racer First Runs

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    Thanks all, great advice. I'll hit up razorback, seems like parking at Diamantina Hut is a bit of a choose your own adventure. Am sure my wife will be happy to pay the resort entry if it means we don't need to do another walk in like the staircase!
     
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  9. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've climbed Feathertop many times by six different routes in summer and winter. Some people have said that I could write a book on the place.

    The Razorback isn't that challenging a hike in summer, but in winter it is just the opposite. Partly soft, unconsolidated snow that you will sink into, partly wind blown ice and there's the occasional unexpected small cornice to ski over or fall through. In winter it's usually very difficult although there is a modest chance you will hit it on a day when the snow conditions are okay.

    By contrast, Bungalow Spur is the easiest way you will ever gain 1,000 metres in elevation. The wide and sheltered track is beautifully constructed to ensure a nice even 1 in 9 gradient the whole way to Federation Hut on the treeline. It is by far the easiest way up Feathertop in winter and far easier than any route up Mt Bogong.

    There are seven routes with tracks up Mt Bogong, The Staircase is probably the hardest, Eskdale Spur is about as steep but it has a vastly better hut and if you drive up Mountain Creek Road, you can start the ascent at a higher altitude, so it isn't as tiring.
     
  10. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Another vote for Eskdale.

    I’ve been out to Feathertop a couple of times, both out the Razorback then down the Bungalow. Stuff walking up Bungalow with a big pack. Or the Staircase for that matter. @Bogong is correct that Bungalow is a veritable freeway, but 1000m is a lot.

    Probably been up Eskdale 4 or 5 times, it’s approx 2 hours to Michell Hut and another hour or so to the top.
     
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  11. Neddy

    Neddy Hard Yards

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    Bogong is right - Bungalow Spur is easiest path up either mountain, but it seems to go on forever.
    Eskdale is much quicker but has some steeper sections. Staircase - ughhh.
     
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  12. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Granite Flat track...
     
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  13. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, but IF you can get a car up to the start of it, it almost feels like cheating, 'coz there's so much less altitude to gain.

    That said, I'm a slacker at heart, so I don't mind cheating. ;)
     
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  14. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Granite Flat Spur Tk is the quickest Bogong access in summer (4WD) but gated at the road (Hollow Way) in winter, and if there's snow on it the steep pitches will make walking a trial. The west leg of Hollow Way when wet is pretty much 4WD only too - slippery as.
     
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  15. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Eskdale spur can also be a super highway at times but you will can your skis on quicker. Snow levels vary year to year and month to month but I would expect a nominal 1400m asl level for when the skiing is good. An area which is frequented a lot can be advantageous when it comes to getting out. Hopefully someone brought a chainsaw and if you get big low dump while up there there is more chance you can borrow some food if you can't get out. Many a small car or small SUV has been left behind until the snow clears on the road.
    It is likely someone will jump on here and tell you to go up from Mulhauser camp and the Long Spur to get to Bogong. Fine if you don't mind a couple more hours driving and maybe even a couple more skinning in with the good chance of multiple trees to cut on either the Omeo Hwy or the 15km of forest road plus no phone reception after Mitta Mitta or from the other way, Omeo. Currently it is about 10km on foot to Cleve Cole hut and that is only if you have a proper 4wd.
     
  16. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    +1

    Mulhauser and the Long Spur are a long slog, but a worthy expedition in its own right under optimal conditions.

    @Xplora -you’ve put your finger on the key issues with road access.

    One supposed advantage of Mulhauser is not having to go across the exposed ridge in more marginal conditions, but ordinarily Eskdale is the the optimal route with the added advantage of Michell hut on the ascent.
     
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  17. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I gotta say i like Bungalow Spur, it was built as a bridle track to the Old Fed Hut site and so nicely winds it way up the Spur to OFH at a comfy grade. After that it gets a bit single track and a little work, especially with fresh snow.

    It’s also protected from weather so you can get up or down in almost any weather.
     
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  18. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mulhauser is good if you need to get to CC in poor weather.
     
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  19. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    A worthy expedition is the perfect way to explain it, although for us it is much closer, so more a preferred way. If it is about the tour then I would say it is a must but if you want to maximise your time on the runs then unless you are coming from the eastern side, Eskdale spur is the way to go. Having come down Eskdale in winter during gale force winds and driving snow I can vouch for this -
    I like Bungalow spur also but have been turned off by the hoards of people and in particular those who show no respect for anyone or anything. We had food and alcohol stolen from our packs once. There were only another two at the hut that night and we even shared our food with them because they did not have enough. Obviously wanted more, but it meant our trip was cut short by a day because we ran out of food. They didn't even bring a tent. Others just come up and take over the place but never pick up a saw to cut wood. MUMC hut is nice and probably used less (or by a better type) because there is no wood heater. Just don't do the Nth West spur to get there. Bungalow would still be the go.
     
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  20. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    The other thing about Mulhauser is you can almost ski back all the way to the car (depending on time of year of course).
     
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  21. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Go up via Quartz Ridge if you want worthy ;)
     
  22. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Depending also on how good you are and also how many people have boot packed it up and down before you. You can get a lot of rocks just under the surface of the snow. The steep narrow bit is only short and past that it is easy enough.
     
  23. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's not named Long Spur for no reason! The end always seems to be over or around the next corner.
     
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  24. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have to second what Xplora said about North West Spur on Feathertop:
    • MUMC Hut is great. It's large, well appointed and comfortable, almost the ideal mountain hut... EXCEPT with no stove or fireplace and minimal insulation, you will freeze your proverbials off in winter.
    • Climbing North West Spur is pretty grueling, it's unrelentingly steep except close to the hut where it's less steep but harder to stick to the track. Everyone should do it once, but only once. (Silly me, I'm a slow learner so I've been up it a few times.)
    However I have to disagree with him about the far easier track up Bungalow Spur to Federation Hut. I've done that route lots of times and only encountered lovely people. I actually turned 21 when I was staying in the original Federation Hut. :party:
     
  25. Team Weasel

    Team Weasel One of Us

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    Curious about this. I've been down there in summer, and skied West Peak a fair bit last winter. What's access like? I'm looking at camping on Quartz Plateau this season, but lugging stuff all the way up Eskdale sounds too emotional.
     
  26. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We did NW spur early one spring but didn't start until mid afternoon. That was a mistake as we got to the hut in the dark. Didn't have much trouble finding the track even by headlamp and it was warmer inside than out. So tired we did not even bother putting up the tent and found it most comfortable. We are obviously less silly or at least my partner is. I can't convince her to do it again.
    It could be a reasonable access in winter. Someone dumped a snowboard at the bottom a couple of years back and it stayed there for a good while. The access to Quartz (helipad) would be via the Big River fire trail (Roper Spur) or through the AGL tramway which joins it. Still a bit of a walk to there but grades are not difficult. There is a thread here about that and Mr. T has arranged permission to enter the area where the signs state no entry. As far as ease of access in winter it would not rate as well as you would be booting it for a good while. Please, nobody suggest Bogong Village to Black Possum spur to connect to Quartz. You want to go skiing or scrub bashing? I have only snowshoed up Quartz in winter and did not find that too hard.
     
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  27. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Been years since I did it. Came up the tracks from BHP road. Mostly cruisy. You get closish to quite a drop off the ridge so take care in fog. Great views when fine.
     
  28. cafe_racer

    cafe_racer First Runs

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    Looks like feathertop is the go this time around as have a warm bed lined up for Friday night at Dinner Plain, will then make an early start at it Saturday morning. Snow levels seem decent so assume i'll be able to skin along razorback ridge to fed hut? So far as the car scenario, seems leaving it on the roadside can be messy so might try to grab a lift to Diamantina Hut.

    Will have to tackle bogong again in spring, will defs avoid the staircase next time around.
     
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  29. Team Weasel

    Team Weasel One of Us

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    Cool, looking at the map now...road not closed in winter?
     
  30. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes. A long way from Falls.
    Look at coming up from the west. There's Ropers Tk but better the one to the south from near Clover Dam. It runs past Bogong Ck huts (now ruins AFAIK). Doesn't have a name on my map.
    Calculate the total vertical.
    I've done the ridge access several times in the summer. No promises about winter potential.
     
  31. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    As Ziggy said, all gated management tracks. You can ride a push bike on them if you are fit enough. That has been done before. Some people carry their kayaks up and paddle Big River to Glen Valley during the spring snow melt. What Ziggy called Ropers track is the Big River Fire trail, starts on BHP road a bit below Bogong village, crosses the river then continues over Bogong Creek saddle (start of Quartz), up Timms spur and through to Watchbed Creek. The one from Clover Dam goes through the AGL lease area that mentioned earlier. A bit more vertical gain but there is a tricky pipe crossing where a bridge used to be and a long walk.
    Parking a car at Diamantina hut would cost the normal resort fees but be careful with drop offs. I have heard that the RMB is clamping down on the drive in, drop off and turn around (to avoid parking or entry fees). Could just be myth but the camera does take your picture on entry and exit and if you do not travel through then you could get a ticket in the mail.
     
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  32. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have walked every tracked/mapped route up Mt. Bogong and Mt. Feathertop.
    The Bungalow spur goes on forever but it is a kind gradient , it is very sheltered and was recently recut by Parks Vic. i.e . Autumn 2019. The NW spur is agonizing and is best avoided. In fact going up or down it are as bad as each other.
    For Mt. Bogong The Staircase and The T spur are not much fun .I have turned back on the Staircase spur and the Eskdale spur in white seasons due to poor weather conditions and very deep soft snow above the tree line.
    I do like Mulhauser spur and Long Spur. It is my preferred route to CC hut on Mt. Bogong.
    I have not used that route in winter but I will do it , maybe next season in August.
    Don't forget Champion spur fire track has been recut to about 1.5 kms short of The Twin Knobs on the Razorback. I am going to scout it out next Green season.
    I scouted out the Clover Arboretum/ Bogong Creek aqueduct & tramway/ Big River Fire trail route to the base of the Quartz Ridge trail head. It is a slog in green season but very sheltered the whole way .It would be slow going in deep snow. I have walked up and down Quartz Ridge in green season. The upper segment is very exposed and narrow.
     
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  33. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have walked up and down Granite Flat spur track a few times. :)
     
  34. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The Eskdale spur can be slow going in Deep soft snow even just up to Michelle hut. I have not been up there since the track was recut by Parks Vic. I will be out there in Spring so I will see what it is like then. The Bon Accord Spur to the Razorback and the Diamantina spur to High Knob on the Razorback are both arduous routes in any season!
     
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  35. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Soft snow is no match for AT skis and skins!
     
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  36. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Impressive achievements Mister Tee. But there are two other established routes on Mt Bogong. I managed to do Horse Ridge / Granny Spur when there was a footpad on it before the 2003 fires, but I've never been brave enough to endure the (alleged) profound horrors of ascending the mountain via the Little Bogong - West Peak route.

    Anyway, you are definitely experienced enough to drop that disclaimer below your posts saying that you're a newbie.
     
  37. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am sure you are right but fallen timber along the route can be a nuisance .The access to Camp Creek Gap for the Eskdale spur trail head in winter is best done with a 4 x 4 jalopy or an AWD with all terrain tyres , wheel chains and a chainsaw.
     
  38. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I know a thing or two about the Australian Alps but I don't want to get ahead of myself or let some newbie take my anecdotes as hard and fast idiot proof advice. One should always be wary of experts!
     
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  39. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Vehicle access in and OUT to/from the winter gate at Stoney tops/ Northern Razorback in winter could be interesting if it snows A LOT. It is a long walk back to the German Town Bridge and then a long wait until Spring to collect your car once the snow melts.
    :confused::eek:o_O
     
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  40. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The Mulhauser /Long Spur route to CC Hut can be broken down into four parts so that the mind games and psychological aspect of the slog can be better managed.
    Part 1. Car to the first Picnic Table just below Mt. Mulhauser .
    Part 2. Picnic table No. 1 to Picnic table No.2.
    Part 3. Picnic Table No.2 to The Start of the pole line at Bosseia hill.
    Part 4. T spur/Long Spur junction to CC Hut.
     
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  41. GS

    GS A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fixed :D
     
  42. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The Last slog up the hut from Camp Creek Valley is character building.
     
  43. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Back when I was taking newbies up Feathertop in winter I used to describe Bungalow Spur as a four stage walk, each part taking under an hour. (Start - Picture Point - Tobias Gap - swampy stream below Bungalow site - Fed Hut). That gave them easy short term objectives and they were all pleased when they did each section in much less than an hour.

    I also taught them about snow camping and how to prepare a tent site in the snow so it was firm enough to sleep on without putting big dents in it. However I always discreetly slept in Federation Hut on the basis that I'd paid my snow camping dues and the hut was much warmer and comfier than a wobbly tent in a blizzard.

    Then we taught them about attaching spiky things to their boots and how to hold a big spiky thing in their hands. But before getting to the summit ridge we put them in mortal fear of the cornice. So they all stayed about 5 metres back from it and no one on trips that I was guiding ever went over it.
     
  44. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    This is not required when there is snow cover. Bosseia is the same height as CC hut. Following the pole line you drop 100m vertical to Camp Creek Valley and then climb it again to CC hut. There is another way. Once at CC hut you still have up to another hour to climb to get to the bigger runs. Yes, Mr. T has done much in the area but all is different when covered in snow and this discussion, as far as I understand, is about getting to Feathertop or Bogong to ski and not bushwalking. Mulhauser camp to CC hut takes 3 hours in summer with a full pack. Mr. T can repost his 4 part mind game after he has achieved his winter traverse of the Long Spur.
     
  45. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Your formulae for ascending Mt. FT in white season are much like mine esp. for guiding newbies up to the top in white season.
     
    #45 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Aug 22, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  46. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Route criteria include distance, steepness and exposure.

    In winter they should also include what it's like to cover distance in plastic boots carrying skis. Some boots murder feet when walked in and skis are prone to snagging. Mine add 4.6 kg to the pack. If approach shoes are needed then that's 8 kg added to the pack. I'd much prefer sliding this lot than carrying it.
     
  47. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Location:
    Yackandandah NE Victoria
    Main thing is that Bogong has 20 times as much skiing as Feathertop and every aspect of the compass and lines down to Mt ash trees on the south.
    Most climbs out are hard though.
     
  48. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Les Hautes Montagnes
    This is the kicker.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  49. Neddy

    Neddy Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
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    Best motivator for Bungalow Spur is the number of cars already at the start of the track when there’s fresh tracks to be had - try to catch as many as possible on the way up.
    Of course there’s plenty enough for everyone but old habits die hard
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  50. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
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    Yes let the masses trample the snow....they pack it down you wander up later in the day....Sunday always the best day to start the adventure!