Trip Report Mt.Bogong.The staircase spur.29.9.17

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on snow shoes, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    Our crew tried to push up the Staircase spur :-0 with fully loaded snow gear multi night packs with the aim of reaching Cleve Cole hut on the football public holiday Friday .

    .However once we hit the pole line above the trees we were sinking in deep spring slush up to our knees in MSR snow shoes.Fatigue was setting in and the weather was changing from clear to threatening.One person who made it to the top with a day pack spoke to us on his descent.He said the conditions and visibility on the top were poor.
    I turned our party around back to Bivouac hut.It was very busy there at the hut.We got down there at about half past three in the afternoon.The snow line had retreated above the hut and we had no summer tent pegs with which to erect our snow tents.
    We elected to hike back down the way we came.It was a long day :-0.We reached our vehicles at dusk just as the rain set in.
    We left one party member at the hut.He was keen to try to reach the top on the following day,namely grand final day.We were sceptical that there would be enough of an overnight freeze to make a summit push remotely pleasant or any less iffy.
    It was quite sketchy up there , we slipped and lost our balance on that steep upper section of the Staircase spur with heavy packs on.I had the Whippet pole set in ice axe mode, which is enough to warn me about the terrain we were on,and I have no qualms about turning my party around for the second time this white season above the tree line on the slopes of Mt.Bogong.Safety first!.Don't burn up all your energy trying to slog it up the last half a kilometre.Time slips away then and daylight slips away and bad choices can be made.No summit fever for me,thank you very much.
    The huge wind blown cornices on the Castor and Pollux outcrops were amazing,esp. Considering it is almost October.
    I think I saw forum member,Andrew A.'s red snow tent over on the Eskdale Spur.
    Team Bears should be given a national commendation for the benches that they have installed inside Bivouac hut.
    There is quite a bit of fallen timber on the track below the hut,which is a P.I.T.A.Photos will be coming soon.
    We did the Big Walk up Mt.Buffalo today because an 1100 m. Elevation increase per day keeps the doctor away.It was much easier with day packs with a car shuttle.There are still some snow patches around the chalet.There also seems to be repairs or maintenance work being carried out on the old chalet.The Oz Alps cloaked in snow looked grand from the lookout at the gorge, but Mt.Bogong was still shrouded in clouds from the snow line upwards.
     
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  2. tele-whippet

    tele-whippet beard stroker
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    Noice thoughtful write up, thx.
     
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  3. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Mt T, our red Hillebergs were on Eskdale. Just putting together a video trip report. We had a varied, but fantastic weekend. Very windy Friday arvo/ night, pleasant Sat arvo, then v windy night, and bits of this morning were perfect. I'll post vid in the next day or two.

    A
     
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  4. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    The weather and one's pack weight in the snow seem to determine what is safely possible up above the treeline on Mt. Bogong.That was treacherous up there heading towards Gorge Gap on Friday afternoon.
    I am going to scout out Mulhauser spur this summer. It seems to be a better way to CC hut in white season.
    I will return to Mt. Bogong in late December for a trek up the Quartz Ridge.
     
    #4 Mister Tee on snow shoes, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  5. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    What baffled me on the way back D O W N to Mountain Creek , quite late in the day was a couple, a girl and boy both aged under 25 with their dog on a leash :confused:heading up the lower Staircase spur with plastic backcountry boots and skis strapped to their packs. It is a national park FFS:mad:. I told the lad twice "Dogs are not allowed in the National park". We also told them that it is getting dark , it is going rain and the snow is super soft and deep like slush, it is not skiable.Our party all have some kind of basic knowledge of how the edges of skis can or cannot be controlled or employed to make turns and stops if the surface is too hard or too soft.
     
  6. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    You would have to wonder why you would take a dog up there anyway but at least it was on a leash. People can work it out for themselves about the snow and given the hard walk up and back if it is not then they may think twice next time. Everyone is entitled to learn from their mistakes. Not sure why they would not go via Eskdale spur but may be new to the area. Being safe is always the best option and if some in your group were feeling uncomfortable or out of their depth with the conditions then turning around is always the right thing to do. We have spoken often about Mulhauser and you know by now to carry a chainsaw. Several trees have come down this year blocking the way out for some. In deep snow it takes some about 5 hours to CC hut. Eskdale spur may be a little quicker but is steeper to start. Access in winter is quite different to summer where your RAV4 will make it all the way to the end. Expect a few kms walking before that in winter so maybe another hour. I would expect a summer trip to CC would take around 3 hours with a full pack, quicker maybe given your experience and fitness.
     
  7. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
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    Well one thing we can all agree on is the usefulness of the water tank at Bivouc Hut....it's very pleasing that the Parks replaced this tank some years ago.....every time I get up there I seem to drink like four litres of water overnight......

    It's pleasing to us that the new benches are functional....we may do one more for poor Bivouc so folk can get their asses of the floor.
    Sitting comfortably two to a bench without taking up any more room than without them..we could increase seating to say six persons.

    Michelle has proper benches built in so it's pretty right...but poor Bivouc seemed it needed just a little modernisation.

    We will return again soon when track is dry but before it gets too hot to lug things up there.
     
  8. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    I am booked in, to do a chain saw handling course in November 2017.
     
  9. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    Very good. Make sure you take your certificate with you to Mulhauser so you can show it to the fallen tree.
     
  10. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
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    Oh goodie. ...with Mr T armed with a two stroke cutter access to all areas will be enhanced.

    Team Bears promise to get him some plastic wedges for his birthday!
    Yes as Xplora says it's important to have the correct certification otherwise the trees just don't cooperate and do their best to jamb your bar.

    We are sure Mr. T will quickly obtain the Special Aust Adventure Activity Standard for chainsawing small trees......an essential piece of paper for bushwalking/clearing track activities.
     
  11. neilmny

    neilmny Active Member

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    And nobody wants a jammed bar :whistle:
     
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  12. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    esp. not when you have got wood.....:p
     
  13. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    The Castor and Pollux outcrops, with large snow cornices at the end of September. The conditions were not favourable for pushing onto CC Hut that day . We will be back to tackle Mt. Bogong again and again!
     
  14. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    High up on The Staircase spur in uncertain and changing weather with very soft snow impeding our progress . I took this photo of the Eskdale spur, with Michelle hut a lot lower down than we were. We were almost at Gorge Gap when it became seriously iffy to persist.
     
  15. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    The VNPA Staircase spur trekkers at Bivouac hut dunny at Lunch time :) before the weather changed and fatigue set in, while battling knee deep snow even while wearing snow shoes :-0 ..29/09/17.
     
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  16. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
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    It's easy to see why Bivouc has better shelter than Michelle from the photos..The trees at Bivouc are bouncing back after the fires too:thumbs:
     
  17. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    This point on the Staircase spur is about where I turned our team around. Visibility was deteriorating and the surface was a battle to move across, step by step with heavy packs containing three days worth of food.
     
  18. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    Michelle Hut is larger and better as far as huts go when compared with Bivouac hut.
     
  19. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
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    Team Bears would not challenge that observation.