Trip Report Hannels Spur: 19-21 March 2021 (with photos)

telecommuter

One of Us
Sep 10, 2009
202
576
263
In the Backcountry
Day 1: Geehi - Byatts Camp. 11km 1520m
Myself and my eldest son set out from Geehi picnic area at 9am on Friday 19th. Weather was warm and humid at Geehi. We set off across the road and up past the confluence of the Geehi and Swampy Plains Rivers and crossed the Geehi River on the old 4WD track. After a quick look at Dr. Forbes Hut and the obligatory photo at the "Hannels Spur 1800m Ascent" sign, we set off up the spur.

Getting to the top of the first bump was a very sweaty experience in the humidity. We both had 3 litres of water on board and a fair bit was consumed just on this bit. Slow and steady was the order of the day, and we stopped for a decent lunch break on one of the level sections. Turns out this was quite close to Moira's flat, which we reached at 2:30pm. It was our original intention to camp here, but given the early hour and the huge snake in residence, we decided to push on to Byatts Camp.

We topped up with water just near Moira's before heading up. The climb from there to Byatts was quite stiff, relieved only by the amazing views to be had around the treeline. Incredible! We reached the sign at the top of the spur just after 4pm. We could see the big wet easterly weather system cresting the Main Range and although we were in full sun, we were getting spatterings of leftover raindrops from the oncoming weather.

We ended up camping in the small valley near Byatts Camp, just before the climb over into Wilkinson's Valley. What a spot! Sitting there was just fine, with the views extending forever West, the sun setting, and showers hitting us from behind - not to mention the rainbow present just behind us! The rain really hit hard about 7pm, so we retreated to the tent for a loooong night of howling wind and driving rain.

Day 2: Byatts Camp - Kosciuszko - Seaman's Hut. 10km 430m
We awoke around 7:30 on day 2, with the freight train wind still blasting and the rain hammering the tent. Motivation was on the lower end of the scale as we made a hot brekky in the vestibule and enjoyed a coffee. We were still nice and dry in the tent, so it wasn't too bad getting ready. It wasn't so cold at that stage, so we put on all our waterpoof gear and left the extra cold weather gear in the packs.

The first climb to the brink of Wilkinson's Valley was a good warm-up, and the walk up through the valley to Mueller's Pass was spectacular to say the least. The weather was still breaking up above us, so we had a weird combo of sheeting rain and wind with sunshine simultaneously. We still had great visibility to the west, so the views were great.

Cresting Mueller's Pass however, exposed us to the full brunt of the easterly. From there to the summit of Kosciuszko was pretty brutal. We were surprised to see hoards of people up there in those conditions. Surprised too that the Thredbo chairlift appeared to be operating! We only paused briefly at the top for a quick snap before retreating to Rawson's Pass. The toilets there were very popular, not so much for their intended use but for the active-wear bedecked crowds to shelter out of the conditions in their inadequate gear. One person commented through chattering teeth that the Parks office strongly recommended they don't head up to Kosci today...

Our original plan was to camp up near the Ramshead, but at this point we decided to drop into Seaman's Hut for a lunch break and decide from there. In the end we decided to camp near the hut and make use of the facilities to cook and exist there out of the rain and wind.

Day 3: Seaman's Hut - Dead Horse Gap. 12km 250m
Conditions were the same, wet and windy, although the rain was a little lighter early on. We made an early start, and after a quick brekky we set up back to Rawson's Pass which was deserted, then back along the metal walkway towards Thredbo. We didn't see another soul, and assumed that the chairlift was on wind-hold. We cut up over the ridge below Signature Hill and intersected the Dead Horse Gap track near Karels. There were some works going on there in the boggy section, looked like walkways being put in. A pleasant and uneventful stroll down to Dead Horse Gap saw us meet my beloved right on time for a lift back to Geehi. The DHG track was actually closed at DHG - probably was at the other end too had we gone that way. Oops...

A great walk on an epic route, the country up there is always such an amazing place to experience, no matter what the weather.
 

NewTurns

One of Us
Ski Pass
Sep 30, 2013
1,542
2,979
363
56
Sydney
Day 1: Geehi - Byatts Camp. 11km 1520m
Myself and my eldest son set out from Geehi picnic area at 9am on Friday 19th. Weather was warm and humid at Geehi. We set off across the road and up past the confluence of the Geehi and Swampy Plains Rivers and crossed the Geehi River on the old 4WD track. After a quick look at Dr. Forbes Hut and the obligatory photo at the "Hannels Spur 1800m Ascent" sign, we set off up the spur.

Getting to the top of the first bump was a very sweaty experience in the humidity. We both had 3 litres of water on board and a fair bit was consumed just on this bit. Slow and steady was the order of the day, and we stopped for a decent lunch break on one of the level sections. Turns out this was quite close to Moira's flat, which we reached at 2:30pm. It was our original intention to camp here, but given the early hour and the huge snake in residence, we decided to push on to Byatts Camp.

We topped up with water just near Moira's before heading up. The climb from there to Byatts was quite stiff, relieved only by the amazing views to be had around the treeline. Incredible! We reached the sign at the top of the spur just after 4pm. We could see the big wet easterly weather system cresting the Main Range and although we were in full sun, we were getting spatterings of leftover raindrops from the oncoming weather.

We ended up camping in the small valley near Byatts Camp, just before the climb over into Wilkinson's Valley. What a spot! Sitting there was just fine, with the views extending forever West, the sun setting, and showers hitting us from behind - not to mention the rainbow present just behind us! The rain really hit hard about 7pm, so we retreated to the tent for a loooong night of howling wind and driving rain.

Day 2: Byatts Camp - Kosciuszko - Seaman's Hut. 10km 430m
We awoke around 7:30 on day 2, with the freight train wind still blasting and the rain hammering the tent. Motivation was on the lower end of the scale as we made a hot brekky in the vestibule and enjoyed a coffee. We were still nice and dry in the tent, so it wasn't too bad getting ready. It wasn't so cold at that stage, so we put on all our waterpoof gear and left the extra cold weather gear in the packs.

The first climb to the brink of Wilkinson's Valley was a good warm-up, and the walk up through the valley to Mueller's Pass was spectacular to say the least. The weather was still breaking up above us, so we had a weird combo of sheeting rain and wind with sunshine simultaneously. We still had great visibility to the west, so the views were great.

Cresting Mueller's Pass however, exposed us to the full brunt of the easterly. From there to the summit of Kosciuszko was pretty brutal. We were surprised to see hoards of people up there in those conditions. Surprised too that the Thredbo chairlift appeared to be operating! We only paused briefly at the top for a quick snap before retreating to Rawson's Pass. The toilets there were very popular, not so much for their intended use but for the active-wear bedecked crowds to shelter out of the conditions in their inadequate gear. One person commented through chattering teeth that the Parks office strongly recommended they don't head up to Kosci today...

Our original plan was to camp up near the Ramshead, but at this point we decided to drop into Seaman's Hut for a lunch break and decide from there. In the end we decided to camp near the hut and make use of the facilities to cook and exist there out of the rain and wind.

Day 3: Seaman's Hut - Dead Horse Gap. 12km 250m
Conditions were the same, wet and windy, although the rain was a little lighter early on. We made an early start, and after a quick brekky we set up back to Rawson's Pass which was deserted, then back along the metal walkway towards Thredbo. We didn't see another soul, and assumed that the chairlift was on wind-hold. We cut up over the ridge below Signature Hill and intersected the Dead Horse Gap track near Karels. There were some works going on there in the boggy section, looked like walkways being put in. A pleasant and uneventful stroll down to Dead Horse Gap saw us meet my beloved right on time for a lift back to Geehi. The DHG track was actually closed at DHG - probably was at the other end too had we gone that way. Oops...

A great walk on an epic route, the country up there is always such an amazing place to experience, no matter what the weather.
photos?
 

telecommuter

One of Us
Sep 10, 2009
202
576
263
In the Backcountry
Geehi River Crossing
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The obligatory shot at the bottom
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Starting the climb
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Moira's Flat
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Moira's Flat local inhabitant
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Water near Moira's
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Getting up towards the treeline
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Looking back towards Khancoban
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Look - I can see the car!
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Looking North - some weather coming across Jagungal!
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The obligatory shot at the top
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Above the treeline near Byatts
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Abbott Range with the weather breaking up over the top
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Cooking dinner beneath the rainbow on the Abbotts
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Wet campsite near sunset
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Saturday morning - ready to go!
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Climbing over into Wilkinson's Valley
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Dropping into Wilkinson's
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Zen garden pools everywhere!
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Heading up Wilkinson's Creek
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Patches of sunshine and persistent rain up Wilkinson's
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Crossing Wilkinson's Creek
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Starting the climb towards Mueller's Pass
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Made it to the summit of Kosciuszko!
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A welcome refuge
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Heading back towards Thredbo on Sunday
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Beautiful Snowgum
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Take me home, chairlift!
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Made it!
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Inspecting the scene of the crime...
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telecommuter

One of Us
Sep 10, 2009
202
576
263
In the Backcountry
Well Done .You made the best of some average weather conditions. The weather was very dry and clear when I did it a couple of years back in Easter . How is the Hannel's Spur track? Is it being maintained?.
The weather for the climb was great and the views amazing. The remainder of the walk I have done so many times in all seasons that I didn't mind the weather too much - kind of enjoyed it actually!

Yep - the track was in great condition. Most trees had been cleared, the big ones still over the track had convenient steps cut into them. There was only one newly fallen tree above Moiras that needed a scub-bash detour.

The track was marked with orange triangles, well-defined and easy to follow from Geehi to Byatts, it was less defined above the treeline but marked with old wooden posts and rock cairns all the way to Muellers Pass, so no problem at all to follow the route up Wilkinsons.
 
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