Trip Report Mt Feathertop Winter Ascent and Razorback Hike

hpt

First Runs
Aug 21, 2019
2
6
3
cursedascent.com
Hi guys,

Just letting you all know I've put a new trip report with lots of photos.

I am normally rock climbing when I am outdoors but I wanted to gain some alpine experience so I bought my first snow-shoes and decided to jump in the deep end. This trip was my first multi-day hike and first snow-camping experience.

I executed a four-day solo winter hike return from Harrietville via Bungalow Spur, The Razorback and Bon Accord Spur. I managed to summit Mt Feathertop and visit the MUMC hut on a day hike, and spent 3 nights freezing my ass off snow-camping. I can't wait to do it again! Maybe via the North Razorback in Spring!

https://cursedascent.com/mount-feathertop-winter-ascent/

mt-feathertop-2-1024x768.jpg


You can also check out my other trip-reports from Mt Buffalo of a 4-day aid solo rock climb up the Gorge North Wall last autumn:

https://cursedascent.com/ozymandias-direct-climb-part1/
https://cursedascent.com/ozymandias-direct-climb-part2/

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to all questions and critical feedback on my adventure or my writing.

Any comments onto the blog would be greatly appreciated and please follow if you would like to see more climbing, back-country and mountaineering content.

Regards,

Hayden
 

Bogong

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Nice trip report. You made a few mistakes, but you did remarkably well for a newbie. It's just a shame that the snow was melting when you were there.

However I'm in awe of you talking about Passport to Insanity, which must be close to grade 30? On my most recent visit to the Victoria Range I just looked at it and thought 'nope, there is no way I could even begin to tackle that'. But once you pick up a few more skills you will find that mountaineering views are much better than rock climbing views and there is no greater buzz than summiting a big snowy mountain.

P.S. Thanks for linking to my rough as guts history of Mt Feathertop, it's a reminder that I really do need to finish off a few loose ends and clean it up a bit.
 

hpt

First Runs
Aug 21, 2019
2
6
3
cursedascent.com
Nice trip report. You made a few mistakes, but you did remarkably well for a newbie. It's just a shame that the snow was melting when you were there.

However I'm in awe of you talking about Passport to Insanity, which must be close to grade 30? On my most recent visit to the Victoria Range I just looked at it and thought 'nope, there is no way I could even begin to tackle that'. But once you pick up a few more skills you will find that mountaineering views are much better than rock climbing views and there is no greater buzz than summiting a big snowy mountain.

P.S. Thanks for linking to my rough as guts history of Mt Feathertop, it's a reminder that I really do need to finish off a few loose ends and clean it up a bit.

Thanks Bogong, you're welcome - it was a good and concise read! If I attempt Passport to Insanity it will definitely be Aid through the grade 28 roof (like how I climbed Ozymandias in those other links) leaving a grade 20 off-width first pitch to attempt free, though aiding the entire thing would be a likely possibility! That would be a fun adventure to write up! :)

Any other back country hikes you'd recommend I try this winter? I was thinking about staircase spur loop in two days?
 

Bogong

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You're too kind calling my Feathertop history 'concise', it rabbits on for far too long. I will probably delete a few dull paragraphs and a lot of the appendices to try to get it down to a more sensible 20,000 words.

Back in the days when I tried to rock climb, I couldn't do stuff 10 grades below Passport to Insanity and Ozymandias, well I get overwhelmed just thinking about it. I know I'm good at plugging on and endurance in harsh conditions stuff and not so good at the sort of extreme athletics required for high end rock climbing. But I am a bit jealous. ;)

To answer your question, my favourite day snow walk is the West Ridge of Buller, there's a guide to it somewhere on my website. An ice axe and heavily cramponed snow shoes like you have are fine, you don't really need proper crampons IF you can use an axe to self arrest on steeper slopes. But I wouldn't recommend doing it alone as there are usually some iced up rocky bits just before the main face and in the unlikely event you slip on the verglass, you may need assistance.

If you want something snowy that's a bit easier and closer to Melbourne, going up Donna Buang via the Cement Creek track and descending via Mt Victoria is very pretty when you're among snow clad beech trees and a rewarding day out. But the Cement Creek track isn't well maintained these days, so be careful to stick to it after you get up to the open woodland through the Woollybutts.

Yeah, Mt Bogong via Eskdale and Staircase is definitely something everyone should do. But pick the weekend carefully as the broad summit ridge is ultra exposed to the worst weather in the country and unlike Feathertop, you will often find hordes of skiers and boarders there, as Mt Bogong is well laid out for that sort of thing.

Here's a video report of a winter traverse of Mt Bogong that 'Outdoors' has just posted.

 

FatBoyDave

One of Us
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Jun 3, 2013
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Thanks, looking to go there after all of this, some time in November hopefully...
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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It can be crowded so make sure you have a tent as a backup if the hut is full.
Or hike up the NW spur :-0 , camp next to MUMC hut( more scenic, less busy ) and return the next day via Fed. hut and the Bungalow spur. Both routes have been slashed back by Parks Vic.. Following good snow seasons the cornice or vestiges of the summit cornice can remain up near the top of Mt. FT well into Nov. .
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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I've never slept in the hut but generally been someone in there.
Federation Hut is also home to an antechinus. A native marsupial mouse of sorts. If people like small furry animals crawling over them at night then good for them.

I recall one white season the hut in near Blizzard conditions, it was beyond capacity with over 15 people sleeping in there. It was redonkulous.

The weather can turn feral quite quickly up there. On one trip out there in green season across the Razorback from The Diamantina hut , two young girls were planning to sleep inside Federation hut . They had no tents, no mattresses or camping mats etc. Just a sleeping bag each..
Yes the weather was clear and mild but what if there was a sudden white out and they could not find the hut ?. It can happen at any time of the year.
I have been out trekking solo, as I do , in green season and remember one time I could not find Young's hut :-0. Another time I was heading up to Mt. Wills hut in summer in shite conditions and visibility was almost zero. I found the hut but of course I had a 4 seasons tent etc. strapped to my pack etc. each time.
 

Tanuki

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Sep 29, 2010
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Federation Hut is also home to an antechinus. A native marsupial mouse of sorts. If people like small furry animals crawling over them at night then good for them.

I recall one white season the hut in near Blizzard conditions, it was beyond capacity with over 15 people sleeping in there. It was redonkulous.

The weather can turn feral quite quickly up there. On one trip out there in green season across the Razorback from The Diamantina hut , two young girls were planning to sleep inside Federation hut . They had no tents, no mattresses or camping mats etc. Just a sleeping bag each..
Yes the weather was clear and mild but what if there was a sudden white out and they could not find the hut ?. It can happen at any time of the year.
I have been out trekking solo, as I do , in green season and remember one time I could not find Young's hut :-0. Another time I was heading up to Mt. Wills hut in summer in shite conditions and visibility was almost zero. I found the hut but of course I had a 4 seasons tent etc. strapped to my pack etc. each time.
I did a walk from Mt Wills to Mt Hotham via Bogong and Falls in the early 2000's. It was with a big group of greenies and hippies I'd met at a festival. I warned them all that we could expect snow at any time of the year in the Alps and some of them dismissed the idea. Lo and behold we had flurries on the first night in Wills Hutt. After that it was generally fine, but it was a salutary lesson.
 

Bogong

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I did a walk from Mt Wills to Mt Hotham via Bogong and Falls in the early 2000's. It was with a big group of greenies and hippies I'd met at a festival. I warned them all that we could expect snow at any time of the year in the Alps and some of them dismissed the idea. Lo and behold we had flurries on the first night in Wills Hutt. After that it generally fine.
In 1999, as part of a project to do the whole Alpine Walking Track in 6 to 10 day stages, I walked from Morass Creek (near Benambra) to Watchbed Creek (near Falls Creek) between Boxing Day and New Years Eve. The weather was appalling for the whole trip, except for the day we did Mt Bogong summit. I vividly recall arriving at Mt Wills Hut in a near freezing gale with heavy rain. We were experienced and well equipped, but were still in a borderline hypothermic condition, so thawing out and experiencing being dry for the first time in several days was incredible. I'm not saying that the hut saved our skins, but the respite of a night inside improved morale sufficiently to give us the motivation to head out into the storm the next morning.
 
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