Trip Report Mt.Stirling and Hut No. 3/Road No. 3. March 18-20 th 2019

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Hi. A friend and I went for two nights of camping at the Bluff Spur hut camp site. The rainwater tank at that hut was empty. The Tanks at : The GGS hut; King Spur Hut; Cricket Pitch shelter; The Razorback Huts and at Hut No. 3 all had some water in them. Fork Creek was flowing . The springs on The Summit West trail and the Stonefly track/South Summit trail near the Keep Dry hut ruins were barely trickling and a pump up water filter was necessary in order to fill containers and filter it.
    We walked up the Bluff Spur track on Monday , set up camp and went in search of water and visited the summit.
    Tuesday 19/3/19 We did a day walk in good weather from the Bluff Spur Hut down to the Razorback huts and back. We saw many school groups on the Mountain . It seems Mt. Stirling is popular in Autumn esp. because many other places in the Vic. Alps are on fire.
    There was a lot of horse poo every bleeding where up there and MTB action seems to have caused some wear and tear on the foot trails.
    The Mountain is very dry and dusty.
    The Cricket Pitch and King Spur hut look like the best spots to camp in good weather in green season.

    Today , Wed. 20/3/19 was the walk down the steep and slippery River Spur and along the Circuit road back to the Car at TBJ. After taking in some food we piled into the T mobile and headed up Road No. 3 to visit the very impressive Hut No.3. We liked that hut and setting very much even if there were cows grazing nearby.
    However the road back down to Carter's road after the Hut visit deteriorated severely and it was at the very limit of what both my car and I as a driver can do to descend that 4 x 4 track safely and without doing some serious damage to the underside of my car.
    Like some other BC off road access options once you commit to driving along it then turning back on that steep, rocky , loose, dusty and overall shite road is not possible o_O ….. and then that is it. You have to go through with it. My car managed to go down it very slowly in low gear with a lot of braking but it would not have the power, clearance or true full time power to 4 wheels that you would need to go up it .
    I had to get out and walk sections of it to pick the right line as well as remove large rocks from the ' carriageway'.
    :-0:eek:
    So I missed out the views from that drive because I was looking at the road like my life depended upon it.
    Once we reached the junction with Carter's road I could relax. The road became very reasonable and easy to drive on.

    WHAT I FOUND OUT FOR BC XC SKI PURPOSES:
    Some of the Ski runs on Mt. Stirling such as the Huts loop look skiable for my level whereas the Race Loop and the black run section of the Stirling trail still look tricky without snow.
    The Hut at Hut no. 3 is magnificent and stands at about 1500 M ASL and is surrounded by mature living and ghostly dead snow gums. The distance from the parking space,
    from the junction with Carter's road and Road No. 3 to Hut No. 3 is 6.2 kms.
    Carter's Road seems totally doable in all weather in an AWD RAV 4 with All Terrain Tyres. The steep zig zag hike up to Hut No. 3 in white season would take just over 3 hours with a heavy overnight winter pack with skis strapped to the pack. Snow shoes might be necessary or maybe micro spikes could be better.
    The terrain along Road No. 3 down to The Razorback huts is mainly down hill with one cattle gate to contend with. It offers potentially good XC skiing in sheltered terrain in a snow gum forest and lower down near the Circuit road more Mtn. Ash trees and the like.
    The No. 3 Hut has a wood burner and an interior that would make Ubi Steve swoon and the axe out the front is attached to the building by a chain. The outhouse offers a place of relief that is not too far from the hut , although in a white out it could become interesting to find the hut again ;-P.

    I am taking my car to be serviced next week. I hope I have not scraped the shite out of anything important underneath the vehicle.:oops:
    We made it back to Melb. without any car problems.

    I will cogitate over doing a Hut No. 3 ski trip from the top of Carter's road this coming XC ski season. I would prefer to do it with another BC XC skier for safety reasons as much as sharing the adventure.:thumbs:.
    Standby for photos .
     
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  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The Keep Dry Hut ruins. 18.3.19.It was a bit smoky up there what with the fires in the broader area.
     
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Ms.C. on the Mt. Stirling summit. It was the first time I have been to the summit outside of snow season. I think I prefer the vibe in the snow and ice .
     
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  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    It was smoky out there and some low cloud blew in too. The 4 x 4 track on the summit saddle is an eyesore.
     
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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2. An early morning view of the area near the Bluff and Mt. McDonald.
     
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Green season camping at The Bluff Spur Hut area. Ms. C. borrowed my old clapped out spare orange tent.
     
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  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Visibility was good early on Tuesday morning but it became smokier and cloudier as the day rolled on.
     
    #9 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Mar 21, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  10. neilmny

    neilmny Addicted

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    Crikey Mr. Tee, you have found your mojo man. The drive down from No.3 to Carters Rd. especially the switchbacks section is fair dinkum 4WD territory. Getting your little RAV4 down there with it's fairly limited ground clearance is something boastworthy.:thumbs::thumbs:

    The views from the summit and the south summit are great on a very clear day. But nothing matches the beauty when the snow is down.
     
  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The All terrain tyres and Limited slip differential with AWD were all beneficial on that track but I do think I have scraped something serious off the undercarriage of my car. It is not leaking anything in the drive way but I am eager to get my car serviced and assessed next week.Having NO low range gears was an issue. I won't be doing that again in that car. I will go back in white season on foot and on skis.
     
  12. neilmny

    neilmny Addicted

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    Not leaking anything is a good sign. Cars will take the odd bump and crunch without much to worry about.
    Make sure you take it to someone you know will not tell you that the "flux capacitor" has been dented and must be replaced at great expense. ;)
     
  13. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Huts a plenty on Mt. Stirling ….
     
  14. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Snow gums near The Cricket Pitch.
     
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  15. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The afternoon sun became the sinking sun on Tuesday March 19th 2019.
     
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  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Snow gums on the descent via the River spur.
    Wed. March 20th 2019.
    It was a pleasant temperature to be out walking in the Vic. Alps. Not too hot nor too cold .The weather remained dry but with a heavy dew overnight.
     
  17. weerab

    weerab One of Us
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    Top one is GGS, what is the second one? I definitely agree with you that it all looks better in white season!
     
  18. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The visit to Hut No. 3 was a marvel.:)
    The drive past it and down to Carter's road was an ordeal for me and my car :confused:. The road is the worst one I have subjected my RAV 4 AWD to . Street tyres would not have worked on that track . I do have some off road driving experience which helped but this was the limit .
    :eek:
    . I did not get any photos after we drove off from Hut No. 3.
     
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  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The second hut is King Spur Hut a.k.a Hut No. 36.It is a great place to snow camp. I did not take any photos of the shelter at the Cricket pitch or King Saddle shelter. The Razorback huts were busy with walkers and horsey people.
     
  20. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    No. 3 Refuge Hut .Magnificent!. What a great place for a multi night BC XC ski trip , all without paying at the Mirrimbah gate .
    I should get my friend The G man to test out his new Ford Ranger on Road No. 3 before they close the gate in June !
    It was a case of a dry mouth and a racing heart all the way down to Carter's road .
    Carter's road was like the Hume highway in comparison with Rd. No. 3 .
     
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  21. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 One of Us
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    They should be collecting seeds from such a strong, hardy specimen like this.
     
  22. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    It looks like the new hut was strongly 'inspired' by the flash rebuilds of Michell and Federation huts. (Without the upscale fit outs, prefabricated heli lifted panels, on site architects and all the other expense that happens when bureaucrats get involved in things.)

    BTW, the nearby peak is Mount Number 3, (the old timers seem to have run out of inspiration when naming that one), so the hut isn't Hut No 3, but rather Mt No. 3 Hut. :nerd_ubb: *pedant mode off*

    P.S. Wonderful trip report with your usual high standard of happy snaps.
     
  23. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture
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    A few years ago i thought id go the "back way' to razorback hut on a whim and yes that road from carters to #3 is rough as guts
     
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  24. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Without a proper 4 x 4 truck I doubt you could drive up from Carter's rd. I know all about keep it in low gear and keep it rolling but the clearance issues and the hideously steep gradient and the boulder fields and ruts that pass as a carriageway were more than an adventure drive, they have spooked me !
     
  25. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture
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    I drove up it in 2wd in a 100 series landcruiser. But it was a truck
     
  26. neilmny

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    You would be surprised what difference the extra weight, traction and clearance makes Mr Tee.
    When you don't have to worry about bashing the bottom on everything you can use momentum to keep going.
    The extra ground clearance makes for a lot more lines that can be taken.
    It wasn't long ago that we came down there (just after the gates opened) also in a 100 series.
    It wasn't difficult but attention had to be payed to the lines taken regardless. There was a lot of washed out and loose rock around.
    You did really well in the RAV4.
     
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  27. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us

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    The low clearance may be a small issue for you and your vehicle but you do have a shorter wheelbase and a good approach and departure angle which assists more than you know. Certainly the lack of low range would be (for me) more of an issue. I seriously doubt your AT tyres and LSD provided any assistance going down. Gravity did most, if not all, the heavy lifting. AT tyres are designed for 90% road use and LSD would help you more under power. I have a friend who has taken an EA Falcon down to Bindaree hut from the circuit road and up the other side. All the people in real 4wd's dropped their jaws. I have also seen a Suzuki Grande Vitara do amazing things in real 4wd territory. It was brand new with no mods. The driver overcame the lower clearance with some pretty good vehicle placement. Time and experience will help you. Perhaps consider an upgrade to something with a low range and maybe before you wear this one out or scratch it to pieces.
     
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  28. neilmny

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    Your friend crossed the river at Bindaree Hut and went up 16 Mile Jeep Track or was it Bluff Link Rd?
    Bluff Link Rd. is just a rough shitty track which can be driven with care. The river crossing is a pipe culvert.
    There are water bales on 16 Mile Jeep Track that a low slung sedan would not be able to pass, especially on the fairly steep climb up to Bluff Link. Bindaree Rd. is a super highway.
     
  29. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    Way back in the 90s when I was fairly young, I used to know a couple of people with old Datsun 120Y's. People under 40 will never have heard of them, but essentially they were small, cheap, simple and indestructible. They used to take them to the most unlikely places and we got enormous joy from seeing the faces of "tough" 4WDers (who had never waddled more than 100 metres from a road in their lives), when they saw us roll up to places like Camp Creek on Mt Speculation and Millers Hut near Lake Tarli Karng in not one, but two of those cheap and nasty little things.

    There was a running joke to come up with reasons why a Datsun 120Y was the best possible off road vehicle. I forget most of the reasons but they included things like it's impossible to do more than $200 damage to a 120Y because that's all they are worth. They were simple so most mechanical problems could be fixed with a spanner or a strategic thump in the right place. On more than one occasion something important underneath the car was punctured by a sharp rock and repaired with... chewing gum. A group of people were able to lift the tiny things over prominent rocks in unsurfaced dirt tracks, at times a shovel was used to fill in ruts on the road and tyre chains were occasionally used for grip in places that hadn't seen snow in months.

    But it was amazing what could be done by a skilled driver with a worthless car and a lot of imagination when it came to overcoming obstacles that would stop most cars with twice the engine power and twice the ground clearance.
     
  30. neilmny

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    Ah yes the legendary 120Y LOL We had a 72 Corolla that could go places too. It had a ripper motor. The more fuel you could get into it the harder it would rev and the harder it reved the smoother it ran LOL I think that motor might have been the one used for the old Australian Formula 2 cars way back then.
     
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  31. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    My next Car will be a Nissan Patrol or something like that , perhaps a Toyota Hilux. I 'll have to save up for that and that will take time.
     
  32. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    I took my old 2001 Toyota Corolla everywhere. I drove from Mac. Springs car park to Licola in a rain storm. I drove up to MacFarlane Saddle and back in the wet .I took it up Lady Talbot Road, around the Circuit road, and on many trips in winter to the snow using chains etc.
     
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  33. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    I took a lot of LSD when I was in my space case stoner phase in my early 20's.I don' t think it has helped me get up or down steep hills since. ;-P
     
  34. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us

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    Not sure which way up he went but I recall the discussion being about the huge ruts on the Upper Howqua Road from Bindaree Road. I was telling him about a trip I did there and the ruts and that is when he told me he had experienced similar in the Falcon. The point being careful vehicle placement can be the difference regardless of vehicle.
    Loved that car. Drove it to Adelaide and back I think it took me 11 hours to get back. The motor could also be put into other vehicles such as the Morris Minor 1000.
    I loved my Nissan Patrol and the Ranger is not a shadow of the 4wd it was but also not something you want to drive around town all the time. There are a number of good options out there and when the time comes the help will be there. I think we did try to steer you another direction when you bought the RAV. My nephew has a Mitsubishi Challenger and now with the lift kit it can do amazing things. Before then I got him in and out of many places and that was even with standard road tyres. Your experience is growing.
     
  35. weerab

    weerab One of Us
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    I borrowed my Dad's 120Y in the early 80's and had to get towed off Hotham as the temperature dropped to below zero and the Welch plugs blew. Cars did not come with antifreeze then and my dad was not a skier. It was Anzac day weekend. A couple of years later I took two big blokes, 3 huge packs and 3 sets of skis to Guthega where we set off for Mt Jagungal. This time we had antifreeze!
     
  36. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Ms. C has shared with me some photos of Mt. Stirling and the hairy & rough drive along Rd. No. 3 .
     
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  37. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    Last summer I rode up #3 from Carters Mill on a push bike to get to the top of the Epic MTB trail - bad choice. Back then knobs in their big tough 4WDs had gotten into the yard of #3 hut and torn it up.
     
  38. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Mr. Tee pumping up a wee trickle of water with a pump up water filter , from the almost dry spring, along the Stone Fly track, not far from the Keep Dry Hut ruins.
     
  39. Ubiquitous Steve

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    A good rousing song is sure to restore vigor to those ailing snow gums.

    Looks like a big campfire is necessary to clean the place up....too many dead things clogging up the ecosystem for those brushy tail possums?
     
  40. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us
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    Nice little guitar for such a trip...Martin Backpacker?
     
  41. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The snow gums near the Mt. Stirling upper trails huts are generally living specimens and not ghostly skeletons .It was smoky enough with the Rose River fire blowing smoke our way . So we opted for no camp fire.
     
  42. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Yes, well spotted. I have two Martin Backpacker guitars. One is very old and cracked . I take it on trips where some bush bashing or rock scrambling might be encountered.
     
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  43. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Closer to the 2019 season I will take statements of interest from forum members for a Hut. No. 3 overnight BC XC snow trip ,coming in from Carter's rd. .
     
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  44. Ubiquitous Steve

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    You better line up your goodies in a barrel well before so you can eat heartily while playing on your MB.Guitar .Those NSW dudes are going to get a complex.....hut luxury!
     
  45. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Too many bogans in Monster 4 WD trucks go up there for a food drop to be secure. Ditto for Keppel's hut. I think I might do one in May for Faithful's hut in readiness for a Trap yard Gap trip in August.
     
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  46. Ubiquitous Steve

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    Team Bears wish we had a Monster Bogan Truck....would make the approach to Maccas a bit easier !

    Some blaring music from speakers keeping the wildlife from running under the wheels!

    Perhaps a generator to drown out those noisy brushy tails !

    By the way watch out for the brushy tail at Maccas....he/she comes into hut right when you are inside with no fear at all....watches from beam as you cook tea!
     
  47. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    I got the Tee Mobile/ RAV4 serviced today. There was No need to change/fix the flux capacitor at great expense and there was no damage to the undercarriage worthy of mention. :)
     
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  48. Ubiquitous Steve

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    Good ...so it’s now ready for the Macnamarras Track....the real McCoy!
     
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  49. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Yes, I will drive up that track after all now and see what the Team leader has been doing up there. I will combine it with a food drop at Faithful's Hut in Early May.
     
  50. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Toyota flux capacitors are pretty tuff.
     
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