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Feathertop Access

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by lightfoot, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. lightfoot

    lightfoot Hard Yards

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    G'day, I've been up to MUMC via North Razorback (Stoney Tops) and NW spur in the last few weeks. Can report that the trails are clear of trees with the exception of one large one high on NW spur which doesn't pose any issues. The NW spur track is in need of a brushcutter but still very obvious.

    I plan to explore more on the Northern end of FT this year and compiled a comparison of approaches to MUMC for those curious (see attached). Obviously exposure to various hazards and weather are factors but from a distance/elevation perspective it may seem useful to someone.

    On the stoney approach I met Jack the hut warden who had lugged up a solar panel and was setting it up to provide power for emergency phone charging etc. That system is operational now and worth keeping in the memory banks if in need of charge for emergency comms. Solid work Jack.

    Cheers

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. bawbawbel

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

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    I would assume that Jack did not carry the panel via the summit.
    Thus saving a thousand feet of up.
    Same with access to The Feather.
    But a 2 km traverse on 40% can be a pain. :emoji_ambulance:
     
  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I was up there last month and I suggested to Jack to try using the Stoney tops route to haul things up there i.e. a solar panel etc.
     
  4. lightfoot

    lightfoot Hard Yards

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    Stoney is easier with weight but takes longer. My preference is for NW spur as I'll be carrying a load for a shorter time. Plus it obviously keeps you sheltered if the hut is your goal.

    The original traverse from north razor to NW spur would be the go for lugging gear if it was in shape. I think you can see a section of it in this pic looking back from north peak to Stoney tops. Or the deer have been at it.
     
  5. lightfoot

    lightfoot Hard Yards

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    Yep he went directismo.

     
  6. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Track from Stony Tops to Feathers in very good nick atm.
     
  7. bawbawbel

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

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    I still prefer to come up from West Kiewa. Nice to have no exposure.
     
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    When the MUMC hut was first being constructed a purpose built foot track went directly from Stoney Tops/Old Helipad site to the MUMC hut site. Most say that the track has now reverted back to nature.
     
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  9. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    My understanding is that it was impossible to follow the track between MUMC Hut and the North Razorback by the early 1980s. It was built to allow porters to carry construction material to the hut site, although the route was originally a droving route that the Lawler family of mountain cattlemen used between their Stony Creek property and their grazing leases on Feathertop and Hotham. Without cattlemen or student builders to maintain it, the track apparently reverted to nature in about a decade.

    There is a story that c.1965, the builders of MUMC Hut paid a discreet kickback to a dozer driver who was already up there to do a few hours extra work extending the road from where the Stoney Tops winter closure gate is now for a couple of km along the North Razorback to where the helipad now is. That would make the roadhead a fair bit closer to the construction site and thus would have made an easier job for the porters of building material.

    Regulations were pretty lax back then and dozer operators were often told to just push through a fire access track between locations X and Y without much guidance, but that story still seems a bit far fetched, although it could possibly be true? :confused:
     
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  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I walked down to Blairs from the Plains in about 1970 and poked on up the other side a bit. There were dozer tracks all over the place, well beyond the logging coupes, with no rhyme or reason apparent to me.
     
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  11. bawbawbel

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

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    They got two thirds of the way up Mt Niggerhead (cant spell the new name) before they started spinning their grouser plates.
     
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  12. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some commentary..... click on pics for bigger

     
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  13. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    You are referring to Mt. You ate my tongue ? .a. k. a. Mt . Politically correct?
     
  14. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    This is the view looking at the top right of your first photo from further north.



    Photo was taken late september last year, so winter gate closed. 'Twas a banner year for snow (despite what you think looking at the above photo, this side gets wind hammered all winter and then baked very quickly in spring), Had to search around a bit in the shade (old trick I learned in the army), but there was still snow at the winter trailhead to keep a post split boarding beverage nicely chilled.

     
  15. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just say. Are we talking... N i g uh heads?
     
  17. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes, the melanin enhanced crania.
     
  18. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some more. Jally my thing. Across the ditch... to Feathertop.

    Nice 900m dip.

     
  19. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    This be interesting. The outer limits of Falls Creek lease can be seen.
    Click on it for large

     
  20. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Note it includes Mt McKay.
     
  21. Fancy_Pants

    Fancy_Pants Hard Yards

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    This is a very interesting thread except for the commentary on landmark naming. That to me seems a bit off.
     
  22. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Someone raised it. Funny how perhaps all of us grew up with it as the former name. The land mark is well known. Grab some old articles on how various communities are and have handled the kerfuffle around names.

    https://bushwalkingvictoria.org.au/item/mt-jaithmathang

    Fact remains, it is a very significant landmark. :)
     
  23. VSG

    VSG Crayon Master Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah. Steve Lee and co whose commercial activities enter the southern face of McKay did their homework.
     
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  24. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    There was a plan to put a lift on it, it almost almost happened.
     
  25. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    The VNPA opposed putting a ski lift on Mt. McKay.
     
  26. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Failure had more to do with failure of land swaps. Nothing like an election and change of guvment to kybosh plans of mice & men.
     
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  27. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    Also it would have been a lot of infrastructure investment for very little return. Let people who ski off of McKay earn their turns
     
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  28. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why when there is a skidoo or cat arrangement?
     
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  29. bawbawbel

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

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    Hehe. At least the Niggerhead Creek remains on the maps and continues to flow in the same direction completely unconcerned about it's controversial appellation :)
     
  30. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    Here's that view, from mid december 2017, there's still some snow on Bogong in the distance.

     

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  31. bawbawbel

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

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    2.5 km as the currajong flies.
    Send Mr T with chainsaw, maybe.
    Only then will I investigate a likely meteorite crater not far away from the track.
    Jeez, they used to drove cattle along it !
     
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  32. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Lawlers only droved that route through necessity. Their property was on Stony Creek and their lease was on Hotham, so the only alternatives were going over the precipitous and exposed Feathertop summit ridge or sending the herd down the middle of the highway.

    The Lawlers also had the lease of much of Feathertop, but they didn't graze many cattle there as it was dangerous for the livestock and caused erosion which was pretty much a no-no with all cattlemen of the time. The Feathertop lease was canceled in the 1950s and eventually Hotham developed into a small town, so the grazing lease was canceled there too.

    Their daily droving stages were:
    • The property on Stony Creek to a hut on Stony Tops which disappeared many decades ago. The current 4wd road follows their droving route
    • Stony Tops to Razorback Hut via an awkward route benched into the side of the mountain that sidled to the west of the summit ridge. Razorback Hut was built for skiers in 1929, strategically located half way between two hotels, the Feathertop Bungalow and Hotham Heights Chalet. The Lawlers built cattleyards just downhill of the hut, but getting enough water for the cattle was a problem on the Razorback
    • Razorback Hut to "The Corral". Lawlers Hotham Hut and adjoining cattleyards were built where the modern day car park is, which is how The Corral got its name.
    A pic of Razorback Hut in 1931: [​IMG]
     
  33. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    That does look like a small impact site, never seen an aerial photo of that area before but it it possible that it is a small glacial tarn from 10k years ago or is it simply a shadow effect?
     
  34. lightfoot

    lightfoot Hard Yards

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    The traverse I imagined is the one listed on my old maps where it meets the spring trail on nw spur.

    I am pretty sure I know where the start of the traverse begins coming up from stoney tops as it feels like a good campsite as you get there. I marked it and will check it out when I'm back at my pic and you guys can probably tell me if I'm correct. If however the original traverse drops you below the hut I am way off.

    Great to get so much history on this thread. Cheers
     
    #34 lightfoot, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  35. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    But wait, there’s more:

    https://www.australianmountains.com/feathertop
     
  36. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, my post did rip that off a fair bit, but the article is pretty rough and I added a few things like the daily stages of the droving route, so I should be okay. ;)
     
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  37. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have more photos of the Mt. F.Top and Razorback area including photos of all the terrain on all the major approach routes on foot and on snow shoes. I see @Bogong has used two of my photos in his online book about the area :) .
     
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  38. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I look forward to the book!
     
  39. bawbawbel

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

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    Feathertop has a unique structure off the East Ridge approach.
    There are four massive gullies which have been moved from the usual fall line orientation towards the horizontal.
    Easy skiing rather than dangerous.
    Viewed across the chasm and filled with late snow they look like barbs of a feather. (hence the name).
    How did it occur ?
    A big yonni ?
    Melb Uni said that they had suspected that, but found evidence against it.
    Whatever.
    I am finding evidence of small companion bodiles. One twice as high as a car was unearthed on the West Kiewa track. They just pushed it over the side.
    Interesting.
     
  40. bawbawbel

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

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    The four valleys are tributaries to (edit) Unnamed Creek.
    [​IMG]
     
    #40 bawbawbel, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  41. bawbawbel

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

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    99% of circular depressions on the Plains are waterlogged peat. We shall see.
    [​IMG])
    (from Craig's Blog http://craigallen.net.au/index.php/blog/item/bogong_high_plains_australian_alps
     
  42. bawbawbel

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

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    No cattle track. Obviously purpose inspired, which was to build MUMC.
    After that, no use to man or beast, because it is without inspiring views.

    Me, I use cleared tracks just for access (trackwalking) to choice spots for bushwalking, then I usually stick to northern ridges or creeks.
    The rule for access to East Ridge ski runs:
    Just head up, bear right whenever it gets steep, until you crest the ridge.
    Then GPS.
    Fastest way home:
    Way that you came, MT N always in your sights.
    Lucky if you find where you bested the blackberries :)