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Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Apr 29, 2019.
A full trip report with photos is coming soon !. I survived and I will tell the tale.....
Looking forward to this. Very much on the to do list.
With the news that Hannel’s spur walking track had recently been cleared from top to bottom a plan was hatched for Easter 2019 to accept the mission impossible.
I, Mr. Tee can report that Hannel's spur has been conquered over 3 days from Geehi flats(400 M. ASL) to D.H.Gap via Mt. Kosci . summit( 2228 M.) : the full 1800 M. elevation gain and Australia’s highest mainland ascent.
. It was bloody hard!. Basically until you reach Byatt's camp it is a punishing tunnel that has been cut through the jungle.
It just goes straight up forever, it was hideous!. NEVER AGAIN!!.
I was up at 0430 am on Good Friday and driving by 5 am. I made good time and met the G man in his new Ford Ranger vehicle at Khancoban NPWS office . We obtained our car permits and went to meet @Chaeron at Geehi Flats.
We bumped into him at the agreed rendezvous point at Geehi Flats at about 11.15 am.
After doing the car shuttle to Dead Horse gap we started the trek ,back at Geehi Flats.
We crossed the creek, boots off and inspected the rebuilt Dr. Forbes’ hut.
After that we saw a snake on the way up to the trailhead which is marked clearly by a NPWS sign.
“A river crossing , a hut and a snake all in the first 30 min.s” remarked the G Man . It was all very adventurous!
After that I did not take any photos.
It was a brutal , sweaty , relentless and grim slog up a near vertical track that just endlessly went up , up and up.
We set off from Dr.Forbes’ hut at approximately 1330. I staggered into Moira’s flat ( which is not flat at all ! ) in the dark with a head torch on my weary skull at about 1820, totally spent , tired , thirsty and overwrought.
The other chaps were 30 min.s ahead of me for much of the way.
I set up camp in the dark and we fetched good water from a nearby spring , in the dark.
It was very damp and dew laden overnight. Sleeping in a tent on such a declivity was not really viable for me so at day break we got up , had breakfast , performed our ablutions and having packed up headed up the near vertical track to Byatt’s camp.
There is quite a bit of new fallen dead snow gum timber just before and after Moira’s “flat”. It meant I had to take the pack off and crawl through the jungle at least twice or thrice.
In fact the whole track before you reach the tree line has little in the way of scenery and is merely a tunnel that has been roughly hacked out of the impenetrable scrub, a near vertical passage through a real jungle wilderness .
This makes it mentally and physically very challenging.
No photos were taken after we started the endless grovel up to Moira’s flat. It was just not photo time, I had enough to deal with.
At least the Diamantina Spur has views as you ascend/grovel up the slope. The NW Spur , also on Mt. Feathertop has little in the way of scenery and is also a grim near vertical ascent through thick bushfire regrowth. Doing such a hike as the NW spur in the same month as training for Hannel’s spur was beneficial.
Once we reached Byatt’s camp on day two we were rewarded with views and bumped into some other masochists and nutters either going up it , two brothers were running up it , or other hardy trekkers ascending or descending the torture trail.
The track already needs another big chain saw run over it properly the whole way up to Byatt's camp . The track is passable but it is not the Bungalow spur standard of walking track.
Byatt’s camp has a good camp site with views and water nearby.
@Chaeron went off on his own route at that point and The G man and I went along the track marked with cairns and the occasional pole here and there to set up camp at Wilkinson’s valley below Mueller’s Pass.
The weather on day 1 and 2 was clear and fine which made a rather tough hike more pleasant. The alpine thicket above the tree line has been cut up to past the first creek crossing past Byatt’s camp. After that there is no track, just rock cairns and a pole every 500 M. or so.
In clear weather it is easy to find your way. In a white out it would be very difficult.
It was slow going and we had lunch 30 min.s short of our campsite at Wilkinson’s creek. The camping area filled up quickly with Easter campers, up to 20 tents could be seen in the whole area .Then we rested for a while after setting up camp and we were able to dry out our gear and garments in the mild sunshine with just a zephyr of a breeze .
With the mission still unfinished we then took day packs with us and went to the Mt. Kosci . Summit thus completing the full 1800 M. Vertical ascent.
The summit of Mt. Kosci was swarming with Easter holiday maker people who had come up from Thredbo on the chairlift.
However the view from the top was a bit hazy with smoke from controlled burning of the bush impeding the view towards Victoria and Mt.Bogong could not be identified that afternoon .
On our return to camp we fetched water, cooked ,ate and retired with the setting of the sun.
Day 3 involved an early start at daybreak and after breakfast the G Man headed off super early back to DHG in order to return to Melbourne that Easter Sunday. The weather had turned and it was very cold, windy and foggy up on the ridges. There was no chance of any views from the top of Mt. Kosci.
As I returned I saw legions of ill attired and under prepared tourists coming up the from the chairlift , like a procession of ants trudging up the metal walk way towards Mt. Kosci.
Back along the DHG track it was equally busy and I was glad to see the T - mobile after smashing it out from Wilkinson’s valley to the Cascades car park in one morning.
I put on fresh clothes and sat in front of my car and ate lunch in the car park.
My friend who is the manager at the Silver Brumby chalet in Thredbo was not there when I went to visit her and The G man had already driven off , having left our two cars at DHG.
@Chaeron had stashed a mountain bike at DHG . He planned to cycle back to Geehi Flats.
The drive back to Myrtleford via Corryong and Yackanandah was uneventful and I reached my destination just before dark. That night there was heavy rain, thunder, lightning, and the works. I am glad I did not opt to camp out anywhere for an extra night.
The next day I went down on foot to Ray’s Ski Hire Easter sale to see what was going on , on a mild Autumn day with deciduous trees turning red and gold.
Hannel’s spur track in good weather is a tough but memorable trek.It is worth doing while the route is clear. Any more fallen timber, bushy bits, slippery bark and leaves under foot and bad weather would start to make it a hike from hell.
Hannel's Spur as seen from Scammel's lookout on the drive up from Melb. on Good Friday 2019. It looks even more daunting from Geehi flats.
Struggling and crawling up Hannel's spur: Once is enough for me!
Crossing the Creek was easy.
The weather was mild and sunny. How could this be omen of the effort required in the hours ahead?
Dr.Forbes' hut. It seems like a good place to camp to get away from the numerous great unwashed at Geehi Flats camping grounds.
Just think - it was pioneered as a route to get cattle up to the high country.
Thanks Mr T. The impenetrable, thick, rainforest type vegetation you battle for the hard yards of the Spur is typical for the region. The Western side of the main range gets all the rainfall, the vegetation that matches. Look forward to more images. Thanks again for the TR!
Everyone has a tough time on the Hannels. I did, last time I did it which is more than 20 years now. Every report says do not underestimate. You didn't
The G man and @Chaeron at the trailhead. Get ready to sweat , swear,curse and wonder why the bleeding heck you are making yourself do this !!
I could have been at Geehi flats reading my James Bond novel but no, I was slogging it up Hannel's spur .
Our correspondent better get up to Keppels for some rest and recreational activities after the Hannels Venture.A bit of de stressing required here!
Hannels makes most folk hallucinate !
Perhaps they need a few Team Bears picnic tables .....to flake out on and go to sleep for half an hour !
Now we see folk are keen to tackle Hannels in summer but let’s see how many stump up for a winter ascent?
Looking back at the Geehi river flats before the ascent into hell.
Dr. Forbes' hut. The ascent was hard enough in green season. A white season ascent would be cause to be involuntarily committed to a sanatorium.
Day 2. Packing up camp at Moira's flat. It is really Moira's sloping campsite. We were fatigued enough when we arrived there at dusk to overlook its shortcomings for one night.
Moira's sloping camp site.
Day 2 . Moira's to Byatt's camp.
Mr Tee knows I respect him, but I think he's being a bit of a princess about Moira's Flat. There are plenty of quite reasonable places to erect a tent for one person in the photo above. He needs to do an extended walk in Tassie which will teach him to appreciate that spot for the wide, open and relatively level place it is.
Day 2. Views from the walk up to and around Byatt's camp.
Looks like the deer have been admiring those KNP signs!
I am soft and I like a nice flat camp site so I can get my beauty sleep. So there !
Day 2. Byatt's camp to Wilkinson's Creek Valley.
It was only 6.5 km s from Moira's Camp site but it was undulating through knee high scrub and it was
slow going to make it to campsite no. 2 near Wilkinson's creek .
The G Man recorded the route on his GPS.
The weather was very kind to us.
Day 2. Wilkinson's Creek to Mt. Kosci..The summit was like an ants ' nest that had been disturbed . You needed to take a number and wait your turn to get near the Summit cairn.
Nice weather !
I remember the first time I visited the Kosci cairn. Apparently I looked rather tired because a concerned looking visitor asked me how long it took me to get there.
"7 days and 2 hours" was my reply. She looked rather shocked, even more so when I explained that we had walked from Kiandra and had taken a few side trips along the way. I suspect the trip from the chairlift to the top may have been the longest she had ever been away from civilisation.
I saw that Mt. Townsend had a number of people on it over Easter. It was well busy up there once we neared Mt. Kosci. . I think that 99 % of the people who took the chairlift up to Mt. Kosci. would not have contemplated tackling Hannel's spur, even if they had heard of it.
Anyway we headed back to our camp site near Wilkinson's creek , fetched water, cooked, ate , and crashed out.
It became cold quite quickly on Easter Saturday at dusk and it was better to retire early and curl up with a book inside my sleeping bag.
Go and walk/grovel up Hannel's spur with a 2-3 night pack on your back and then we shall talk , comrade.
The trick with walking up steep tracks is to walk backwards, everything in front of you is then downhill
Day 3 . Wilkinson's Creek to Dead Horse Gap.
Day 3 .
Did it (from Geehi up and back) last weekend with daughter#2 (25yo). It’s a long slog. We agreed not to whinge about it whilst walking, but it was seriously hard not to on the way back down. Route finding above the tree line is variably difficult. Below Bryant’s has been cleared very nicely. It took us a lot longer to get down than expected. Last trip up for me was 20-25 yrs ago. I don’t recall how bad it was. However, at 56, I was happy to have got up and back , whilst keeping up with D#2 without any problems, so I presume I’m still relatively fit, in the whole scheme of things.
Well done @AndrewA - what difference does 25 years make? Did you start from the (new) Dr Forbes hut?
Yes. 25 yrs actually seemed to make little difference, which was very surprising and pleasing. It was miserable both times!
We had a very comfortable night at the new Dr Forbes hut last Saturday night when we returned an hour after dark.
It really wasn’t that bad a trip - just overly sustained in both directions.
Returning on foot to the Cascades/DHG car park and the drive back to VIC.( Myrtleford) .
So it is 2 hrs travailing from Khancoban to Thredbo
Such are the travails of the travelling Victorian hiker and XC skier.
My wife & I did a loop around Hannels Spur over Easter. Cesjacks gate to Hannels, down that and back up the Pinnacles FT and return to Cesjacks via Grey Mare Range. 6.5 days. UL gear per www.backpackinglight.com
Yeah, one or two nights were a bit cool. Sub-zero and frosty at Schlink Hilton one morning.
Going down we camped at the 1st saddle met at the bumps at 1000 m. Cramped. Photo below.
Full report at Bushwalking.com, http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=29687