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Trip Report Thorn Range/Helicopter spur/Mt.Magdala/Mt.Howitt/X cut saw trek.12-16/11/20

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 17, 2020.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Your correspondent in the field went on a well needed post lockdown walking/camping trip in the Upper Howqua / Mt.Stirling / Mt.Howitt area and took many photos.
    Some previously unexplored routes were ticked off the list .The weather was kind too.
    Day one .12/11/20

    I met the G man at Carter's road camping area at lunchtime and his younger daughter Miss E.( she is an intrepid trekker just like her father ) also was present.
    We met the R man at Mirimbah toll booth area.
    The next stop was to collect my unused winter supply drops at Mt. No.3 Refuge Hut.
    Some Deer hunters had moved into the hut.
    This was followed by a visit to the Razorback hut at Mt. Stirling and Bindaree falls.
    The water fall was flowing really well.
    The unpaved roads in the area seemed to be mostly in good repair. We then drove down to the Upper Howqua camp site and set up our tents.
     
  2. echidna

    echidna Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice. What took you so long ? :D
     
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 2.
    The Thorn range hike / Ordeal :-0

    A car shuttle took us up to Stanley name Gap on the Circuit road. From there we set off on foot up at about 8 am along the old and occasionally very steep and rough Mt. Thorn 4 WD track. After the track stopped the foot route climbs up very steeply onto the main ridge of Mt. Thorn.
    The foot pad/ track is not maintained nor obvious.
    After some time we reached the cairn at the summit of Mt. Thorn , some 1460 M. ASL. A group of Timbertop school girls had left Macalister springs at dawn and had trekked down the Stanley name walking track off the Cross cut saw and up to Mt. Thorn.
    They emerged out of the bush at the Mt. Thorn summit at the same when were there having a snack and a break.
    We set off for the Queen's spur road making good time. We dropped down to Red rock saddle, a good but very dry camping spot. The scenery was remarkable.
    After that we seemed to have gone off course and started down the wrong spur. I should have realized it because we were heading for the Pimple.
    Once it dawned on me I requested that we stop , eat lunch , re group and reassess the route.
    It was decided after looking at the map, compass and GPS with the route waypoints preloaded that we were two spurs off course. We were looking at Mt. Buggery and going North was WRONG.
    We soon back tracked, traversed a clear route to re join the higher and more prominent Thorn Range ridge .
    This worked . By heading SE as the GPS and compass suggested we rejoined the recently trampled foot pad and were relieved to be back on track. The descent from the Thorn Range ridge was steep in places and the scrub became quite dense. Thankfully the recent Timbertop school bushwalking groups have recently remarked the right route off the ridge with brightly coloured tape affixed to the vegetation.
    So we popped out near the old dug out bunker. I surmised it must have been a fire refuge in the logging days some 30 years back. Once we hit the "4 ways" on the saddle at the old disused Queen's spur logging track we were smashing it out and pushing through the blackberries , fallen timber and crossing the Howqua river numerous times in no time.
    Even with day packs it was still a 16 ? km adventure and a lesson in better team navigation.
    Back at camp after we took off our sweaty long pants, long sleeves, gaiters etc. we found leeches had dined on us , me in particular.
    The R man took the G man back up the hill to fetch his 4 WD vehicle from the Circuit road while we relaxed and recovered with a camp fire and cooked some hot food .
    That evening @beefa skiing and Ms. K appeared and joined us at the camping site in readiness for the next day's mission.
    Photos from Day 2.
     
    #3 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 17, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
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  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    More pictures from Day 2.The Thorn range walk was quite scenic and a new hike for us all.
    The route is not 100 % obvious and the terrain can be quite steep and overgrown.
     
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  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 2. Once we retraced our steps and relocated the right route we were enjoying the scenery and mild spring weather, once again.
    The R man 's knees were giving him trouble , again :-(.We were all regaining match fitness after such a long period of confinement and not trekking in the Vic. Alps.
     
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  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 3 . The Main mission up Helicopter spur, past Picture Point, a visit to The King Billy Tree, Mt. Magdala summit, Hell's window and camping at Hellfire Creek saddle.
    A HUGE and demanding day that sapped most people of their vital forces.
    When avoiding a chopper ride out to the hospital or the morgue due to falling backwards whilst trying to ascend 3 nearly vertical rock chutes with a small family car strapped to one's torso, I must attest that not much else crosses one's mind.
    Again the route starts with a civil wander up an old logging track. Before too long the 21 metre vertical cliff lines came into view.
    @beefa skiing seemed to be at home with this sort of terrain, verily he was leading the charge , but this for me was type 2 fun writ large with possible excursions into type 3 fun and if possibly avoided type 4 fun. Type 4 is rarely reported because it usually results in death by misadventure.
    When I am sorely pressed on these S T E E P and exhausting rock climbing missions the photos tend to thin out esp. when avoiding type 4 fun, so other members of the troop may subsequently furnish me with some better pictures for this report.
    After doing battle with three evil bands of steep and unforgiving rock and potentially dangerous cliffs we finally reached the old 4 WD track at the top and had lunch and rested there.
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Helicopter spur top to Picture point and The King Billy tree. Plenty of non hikers were out on the Bluff track with their monster Tonka toy 4 WD vehicles.
    Day 3
    14/11/20




     
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  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    14/11/20
    DAY 3.
    King Billy 1 to Hellfire Creek saddle via Mt. Magdala and Hell's window.
    AAWT bushwalking. Unfortunately the R man's knees were still giving him trouble so he had to opt out of this epic adventure and do something else instead.
    A note to @Ramshead . I understand you had to skip this bit of the AAWT. This is one of the best bits of all!!

    Water at Hellfire creek was flowing, not gushing but it won't last past Xmas. The walk down there and back up was a bit of a nuisance since we all wanted to just have a rest at our camp after a long day ...... but without water there is no life.




     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Late in the day on day 3 or early on day 4 .
    Camping near Hell's window/Hellfire creek.

    .
     
    #10 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 17, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 4. Hellfire Creek saddle to Mt. Howitt and Stanley name spur campsite, off the crest of the Crosscut saw.
    Not a long way but still offering challenges to the adventurous hiker on the steep and rocky descent from the X cut saw. I slipped at one point and rolled onto my side :-0. Thankfully I did not roll any further. The drop was quite steep off that spur.
    The G man and Miss E dropped their packs and went to visit Macalister springs before rejoining me . I went to have lunch and a rest on top of the Crosscut saw. @beefa skiing and Ms. K. went back to their car and back to the evil empire via the never ending Howitt spur walking track .
     
  12. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 4 . Nov. 15th 2020.
    Mt. Howitt and The Crosscut saw.
     
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  13. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 4 Camping on the saddle half way down the Stanley name walking track just 1.5 km below the Crosscut saw.
    The water was flowing really well and we found three adequate sites for tents.
    There was a spot of rain but we put up with it until bedtime , watching the bush telly.It was very windy indeed overnight but day 5 was dry, humid, mild to warm and calm.
     
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  14. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Day 5. 16/11/20.
    Walking out back to The Upper Howqua river
    camp site via Stanley Name spur walking track , The disused Queen's spur " road" and the Upper Howqua walking track.
    River crossings were up to just below knee high.
    The snakes and leeches were out in numbers too :-0.
     
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  15. neilmny

    neilmny One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Nicely done Mr. Tee I hope you've returned to somewhere near to .................... what is sane anyway :confused:
     
  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am heading back out for another mission to Mt. Wills to Mt. Bogong and back over 4 nights and 5 days next week . Ms. Carola has never been to either place and is keen to go bushwalking again after so long.
     
  17. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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  18. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  19. Timmossy

    Timmossy One of Us

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    Great photos