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Victorian Alps Photos from my 27th and 28th Nov. 2017 hike

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    MarkV and hongomania like this.
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    On Monday 27/11/17 I drove up to Mt. Stirling . I left rather early in the morning and reached King Basin Road where it intersects with Speculation rd. at about 10.30 am.I left my car there , got my pack organized and hiked up Muesli spur. A number of school groups were hiking out along the same route that morning.
    The track is easy to find and has a sign at the bottom and at the top. The track is basically clear . There were a few fallen trees but nothing seriously blocking the way. It started out OK but quickly became a steep 1/1 gradient. That is to say for every metre you move forwards you gain a metre in elevation up hill.
    The Timbertop kids said you have not reached the steep bit yet! :-0 .
    That was when I was crab crawling and the hiking poles were just dangling around my wrists as I reached for tree trunks, stones and foot holds. Once I passed this section I was totally rogered and sat down to eat lunch with the Timbertop girls (and their teacher/adult supervisor / leader) who were out on a 4 day trek.
    I was sweating like Finn in a sauna. It was very humid and a thunderstorm was approaching. The views on the way up of Mt. Stirling were grand but I had my hands full going up that bleeding spur so I didn't take many photos until I stopped for lunch. After that the gradient was a little more forgiving . After 4 kms I popped out onto the Speculation road.
    After a rest I headed up towards Camp Creek.
    The road has some huge pools of water and some steep and very rocky sections. I could get my RAV 4 out there if I used very low gear and picked the right line each time .
    It began to rain and progressively became rain jacket and rain pants kind of weather. The very nearby thunder was unnerving because I was using two metal poles for walking. I ran out of water to drink and was glad to find a stream running rather well under the road where I pumped up 3 litres with my water filter. That went down so well after that sweaty and draining hike up the Breakfast cereal spur.
    By the time I reached Camp Creek I was totally over walking for the day . I was wet , rogered and becoming a bit cold, tired and emotional.
    I found a flat spot to set up my tent, some 20 metres back from the end of the 4 wd track. I had been advised that at least 3 school groups were camping on the ridges of Mt. Speculation . However the wet and misty weather with very localized thunder convinced me to camp off the mountain and closer to the 4 wd car camping zone.
    I had the camp site to myself and the weather began to clear so I could cook outside and fetch some more water quite easily. Camp Creek was flowing well .
    I just set up my camp, cooked some hot food and changed into dry attire. By dusk I was ready for sleep.
    I awoke at day break and quickly readied myself for a summit visit.
    It was clear and dry and the sunrise from the Mt. Spec. summit was A Fecking Mazing. I saw some great stuff and took some very good film photos.
    I have never been there before so I ticked the Breakfast cereal spur and Mt. Spec. off in one quick trip.
    I had the summit and perfect weather and views above the clouds all to myself.
    Then I returned to my tent and had breakfast , muesli and powdered milk with boiling water and hot tea.
    I was packed up and walking by about 8.40 am.
    I stopped before Mustering flat to restock drinking water from a soak using my pump up water filter.It was becoming sunny and hot.The flies were out too.
    I made it to the top of the Staircase and had lunch there at about 11 am.
    The walk down the very , very rough 4 WD track known as "The Staircase" was uneventful and afforded a some good views as the heat and humidity returned with the lower elevations. That upper 'Staircase' section of the Speculation road was going to spell trouble even some monster Tonka toys that I saw coming up the hill.
    I had a rest near the Little Cobbler track junction and then made it back to my car by 1400.
    I drove the RAV 4 down to King hut on a gnarly section of the King basin road which was full of big rocks and huge dirty pools of water. The driver and car handled it just fine .
    So with my feet soaking in the King river, I felt much better.
    On the drive back I went around the rest the of the bumpy Circuit road. There was a search underway for a lost man . Men on dirt bikes and the police in a large 4 WD stopped me to ask if I had seen him. There was a police chopper hovering above too.The views of the Cross cut saw and Mt. Cobbler from the Circuit road are excellent.
    Back in Mansfield I was ready for an iced coffee and I powered home with the Grateful Dead pumping out. Europe ' 72 was a great tour , recording and period for that band .
     
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    That well known snow gum tree situated on the top of Mt. Speculation at sunrise on 28/11/17.
     
  4. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It’s a lovely walk. I went up from King Hut via Mt Koonika to Spec. - some bush bashing to get to the Koonika spur, but a lovely route. I’ve driven down the Staircase in the Hilux, but it’s difficult to make it up. Good time of year - not too hot, and enough water.
     
  5. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    As I said in another thread , King spur " track "is being used for bushwalking by Timbertop student groups so it is according to one teacher with whom I spoke, "Not that overgrown but there is some rock climbing on the ascent".
     
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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Mt.Buggery and The Crosscut saw as seen from Mt. Speculation , early on Tuesday Nov. 28/11/17.
    I wonder if anyone drives to Lake Cobbler in snow season and then skis out to Mt. Spec. along the road. Mustering Flat and Camp Creek have good campsites.
     
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Sunrise over the Terrible Hollow and Wonnangatta valley.
    28/11/17
     
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  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    A silhouette shot of two snow gum trees on top of Mt. Speculation.28/11/17.
     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Looking down the ridge of Mt. Speculation as it drops down to the Horrible Gap on the AAWT.
    28/11/17.
     
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  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Looking North from Mt. Speculation at sunrise. The mist was sitting in the valleys.28/11/17.The distant shape of Mt. Buffalo on the horizon was visible in the clear conditions.
     
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  12. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    It would have to be a good season like the last. Mostly lots of walking and carrying skis along the road unless there is a good low dump. I met up with a bloke one winter out there who rode his mountain bike from Lake Cobbler to Camp Creek but he would never do that again. Last time I did the Staircase was in the Patrol and it had been graded so it was pretty easy. I have been up and down it at its worse before then and you would not want to do it in any soft 4wd but the Patrol handled it fine.
     
  13. VSG

    VSG Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Now THAT's a spur. That thing that connects Hotham and Feathertop is just a stroll in the park. :D
     
  14. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have never completed a crossing from either end of the Cross cut saw. The conditions have been against me each time I have attempted to trek the whole ridge line from Mt Howitt to Mt. Spec. or vice versa. It is unfinished bush walking business!
     
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  15. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Drive up to Speculation.......Then over to Howitt with Plenty of water ...camp Mt Speculation on a settled arvo....give Mac Sorings the complete miss.....then return to vehicle next day ...thus doing Crosscut twice taking lots of photos....u can get a tent in right at the summit of Howitt.So walk it twice....that will Even up the score ...after failed attempts.
     
  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Steve I am fit but doing the Crosscut saw as a return day trip from either Mt. Spec. or Mac Springs is not something I plan to do. I have tried it before and even with just day packs it is a right effing mission .I would be more inclined to camp near the water source on Stanley Name Spur, about 1 km down the steep bit from the Cross cut saw summit line.One could put a tent at the saddle where the SNS track meets the Crosscut saw and then with less pack weight scramble down to get 7 litres of water for an overnighter if the weather is settled.
    The masochist inside me wants to try ascending King spur or walking the SNS track from the circuit road.I am more inclined to drive to Camp Creek , make a base camp at Camp Creek and just do a day trip to Mt. Buggery and back thus walking the Horrible Gap twice and completing the 'missing' yet to be walked section of the AAWT over the Crosscut saw area . November , Spring 2018 would be the best time to try this.
    :)
     
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  17. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    For someone fit and used to carrying a full pack then MacSprings to Camp Creek would be no more than 5 hours with a full pack. It does take a bit longer in winter. The Crosscut with a day pack there and back seems pretty straight forward. It is not really that far but I would still prefer to camp the night at either end and take the time to enjoy the trip. SNS from the circuit road is also a nice walk but not particularly difficult. I recall going down SNS from Mac springs to Queens spur and back up in one day with a full pack one summer. Concerned about the fire danger so I retreated but it was still only a day walk.
     
  18. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well we want some nice pics however u do it...that Camp at Stanley Name Spur is a Nice one....the only bit of rock I can remember scrambling up is just near The Horrible Gap from memory and a tiny bit just before reaching Speculation from that side.

    When do you think you will take the Crosscut Saw...?

    In the height of Summer I reckon one needs a five litre container when heading across their and towards the Barry Range bit out near Mt Murray and Mt Selwyn.So you start out drinking heaps in the morning.




    There will be good water along there in January after this rain event charged up the ground.
     
  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I will be having another swing at the Crosscut saw and surrounds in Nov. 2018. I have a number of other treks lined up including scouting out Mt. Blue Rag and The Twins for BC XC season 2018.
     
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  20. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I just read an alarming report that some old trees in Lerderderg Gorge have been felled in a picnic ground..Parks Vic not happy Jan.........pretty horrible act....hopefully they get caught and charged quickly before they turn up in the NE ..... not sure if this has been posted elsewhere ..moderators can move this please.But I am sure it's along conservation lines as are Posts of Mt Buffalo and the Chalet....
     
    #20 Ubiquitous Steve, Dec 13, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  21. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am heading back to Mt. Spec. this week!
     
  22. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    You better sharpen that chainsaw chain before setting out!
     
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  23. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I took the chainsaw but somebody else , visiting on the weekend just gone, had cut the poles/trunks that had fallen across the road. This saved a lot of time.
     
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  24. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I thought anyone with moderate experience in the Victorian high country would have done the two standard 4~ish day walks, Hotham to Bogong and The Bluff to Speculation.

    I have huge respect for Mr Tee and I thought he'd done almost everything, so I'm surprised this is new to him.

    I may just record the routes I've done in some sort of mapping software and post it on a thread here. I'm feeling slightly smug that I've done all the standard routes except the insanely hard Purgatory Spur and Little Bogong, the moderate Mt McDonald to near Aberfeldy on the AWT and the easy Track 104. I doubt I'll get around to the first two, but I really should do Track 104 before I get too lazy.
     
  25. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I have a had a number of attempts at crossing the Mac. Springs to Mt. Spec. route and the extremes of weather conditions have driven me back to Mac. Springs. I will most likely try to conquer this unfinished hiking business by walking up SNS spur from the Upper Howqua and camping at the saddle on SNS spur some 1 km below the Cross Cut Saw summit where there is a water source. The next day one would crab crawl up to the Cross Cut saw and walk over to Mt. Spec. and camp there. Day 3 one could return via Mt . Buggery and drop down Queen's spur and return to the Upper Howqua via the Old and overgrown Queen's spur road. Consider it in my perpetual in tray of trips to do in our magnificent high country.
     
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  26. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Queen Spur is an interesting route, I've only done it once. It features a few of those almost, (but not quite) cliffs, like you get on Helicopter Spur, King Spur, West Ridge of Buller, etc. The rocky scrambling on Queen Spur is a little easier than on those, although it's a bit scrubbier with a less well defined route on the middle section, so make sure your navigational skills are up to scratch... or cheat and use a GPS. ;)

    But it's definitely a route worth ticking off the list. :)

    [​IMG]

    EDIT. I thought this was Queen Spur, but looking at my notes it's King Spur. I don't recall Queen Spur being quite this scrambly.
     
  27. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Track 104 has appeal esp. if you do it as a loop starting up Kelly's Lane from Shannon vale and come down track 104 back towards Big River. I have not walked either of those routes so they are also piled up in my in tray.
     
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  28. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    That would be track 107. Track 104 was from Mt. Fainter to Youngs Hut across the Bogong High Plains. Track 107 went from Mt. Wills through to Mt. Hotham and was used as access for miners. It went past Mt. Cope and followed a route similar to the AAWT. These tracks were cut (about 3840km in total) at the direction of the mines department between 1894 and 1899. There are over 300 tracks recorded and many are still in use today. Some have become roads but most have been called by other names now. Track 107 remains but not in its entirety. You can see all the tracks here
    http://earthresources.vic.gov.au/__.../1125681/41_easternvictoria_4000x2782_big.jpg
     
  29. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    That 1898 map is so interesting and it shows so much about the Victoria our ancestors lived in, which was so very different from today.

    If you look at the mountains there are areas which are highly detailed, such as around Bright, Woods Point, Walhalla and Dargo/Crooked River, they are the areas that had gold, so they attracted lots of miners and prospectors looking for more gold and they were well mapped. Other areas like the Barry Mountains were economically worthless, except for some low key bush grazing, so they are simply shown as an overly straight line heading through a big blank patch on the map.

    Those mining tracks in the mountains were commissioned in the mid 1890s in the face of a huge economic depression and mass unemployment. The government was desperate to get people out of Melbourne, so they gave anyone who wanted one, a free railway ticket to the destination of their choice and a useful package of prospecting and mining equipment. There were already plenty of mountain goldfields and the discovery of a new one would reduce unemployment and generate useful revenue for the broke government. So that network of tracks were cut to facilitate movement by prospectors.

    This had worked before, in the 1860s the rich Crooked River goldfields had been discovered by track builders. Sadly, no new goldfields of any substance were discovered in the mountains the 1890s (although the Mafeking goldfield in the Grampians was), but many of those new tracks are still used 120 years later.

    Then there is what the railways shown on the map tell us:
    • There's absolutely no sign of any towns in the upper Yarra. But within a few years of the railway arriving at Warburton in 1900, there were quite a few towns and villages. That shows just how essential a railway was at the time, even for an area very close to Melbourne. The railway made farming and timber harvesting viable in an area that only a few years earlier was barely populated.
    • Why would anyone build a railway to Briagalong on the Gippsland Plains? It was (and still is) an area of small scale farming that wouldn't generate enough traffic to justify building the line from Maffra. BUT, the Dargo region was much more important than it is today, so every mile closer to Dargo the railways went, the more beneficial it was to the remote area. Briagalong was as far as trains could go on easy gradients before the expense of a building a line through big hills, so they built the rail terminus for Dargo there.
    • Why is Neerim South the only town of substance in the upper La Trobe River area? The government was building a "developmental line" north from Warragul to open the area up to closer settlement. Building a railway through the rolling hills was expensive, so contracts to build the railway were broken up into small, manageable bites and when one section was finished, another contract was let. But when a big economic depression hit in 1891, the government was totally broke, so after the section to Neerim South was completed the following year, construction stopped... for 15 years. During that time a town appeared at the railhead rather than further up the valley at Neerim as was originally planned. The railway finally got to Noojee in 1919, but by then Neerim South was firmly established as the main town of the area and it remains that way today. Then (and now) there was almost nothing at the place called just plain Neerim.
    Honestly, I could go on for ages about what that map tells us about the Victoria of 120 years ago, but I had better stop.
     
  30. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    A book, book please sir.

    Seriously, no joke intended.

    The map is an excellent string for the story.
     
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  31. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is it possible to get a copy of the map? Phone website poking is soo tedious.
     
  32. Xplora

    Xplora One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Not sure where it is available as a print but the Victorian Office of Public records shows public access to it is closed and you seem not be able to order a digital version.