1. There's more to this forum than meets the eye!

    We have a vibrant community here conversing about all sorts of non-snow topics such as music, sport, politics and technology. Simply register to reveal all our Après topics or continue browsing and reading as a guest.

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice
  2. NOTICE: Did you lose your profile avatar image as a result of the great hammo-ing of 2020? (Sat 16 & Sun 17 Aug). If yes, then you need to know it won't be coming back, best to re-upload.

    This notice may be closed
    Dismiss Notice

Up the Bluff

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Chaeron, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Chaeron

    Chaeron OutLiar Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Messages:
    5,870
    Likes Received:
    9,651
    Location:
    Glen Iris, Melbourne
    So here’s a new Victorian Alpine overnighter folks - start at the Upper Howqua camp site, head up the Bluff Link Track for about 5km, and once you’re at 1000m then head up the dry stream bed to the top of Square Head Jinny and up the Bluff, traverse to the Bluff Track below Mount Lovick and then head down Helicopter Spur back to the camp site.



    Myself and the boys (11 and 16) were going to do the Howqua circuit - up Helicopter Spur; across to Howitt and down the Howitt Ridge back to the Upper Howqua camp site. After missing the start of the Helicopter Spur (for the 2nd time - that’s another story, involving a tricky alternate descent to Picture Point on the Bluff) and struggling through thick bush we pulled onto the Bluff Link Track for an alternate circuit.



    Howitt, Cross-cut Saw, and MT Buggery from Helicopter Spur.



    Thorn Range (I think) from around Picture Point)



    Mt Eadley Stoney from Square Top Jinny.

    There’s a bit rock scrambling and some bush-whacking involved - the same density bush as the Grey Hills maybe - but a lovely overnight circuit, though not for everyone.

    Very little water up there for this time of year - found some in the creek bed towards MT Eadley Stoney at about 1500m. Coming down Helicopter Spur was much easier than anticipated - a clear path nowadays all the way. Some lovely rock bands to descend through.

    The trip proved the value of a GPS - meant we could cut cross country below Mt Lovick on Square Head Jinny along the contours and find an optimal route through the bush. Some imported waypoints meant the last 3km in the dark coming down the last bit of the spur through the bush was less stressful.

    For the record: the old logging track which is the start of the Helicopter Spur ascent starts immediately after you cross the bridge across the Howqua river East branch off the Bindaree Road heading to the Upper Howqua camp-site. Once you know where to begin the rest is self-evident.

    Lovick Hut is currently in very good nick - deserving of a mid-winter visit.
     
  2. neilmny

    neilmny One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    824
    Likes Received:
    1,172
    Nicely done in a beautiful area Chaeron. :thumbs:
    Thanks for posting you report.
     
    Chaeron and Snowy Joey like this.
  3. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1998
    Messages:
    27,600
    Likes Received:
    22,777
    Location:
    Middle Oz
    Is Lovicks the hut with a separate sauna hut?
     
  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,426
    Likes Received:
    7,734
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I have not attempted walking /crawling up or down Helicopter spur yet. My Rooftops Map ' comments' says going up it is safer. A long day walk with an early start would be better , travelling light so that the scrambling is easier and safer. The up Helicopter spur and back down the Howitt Spur would be my first choice of route. The Helicopter spur track starts just behind the drop loo at the Upper Howqua campsite. It is quite easy to identify.
     
  5. Chaeron

    Chaeron OutLiar Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Messages:
    5,870
    Likes Received:
    9,651
    Location:
    Glen Iris, Melbourne
    @Mister Tee on snow shoes, just to confirm - the Helicopter Spur track does NOT start behind the drop loo - I went up that way once and it did not end well - bush bashing awaits, and you’ll end up going up the ridge immediate below Picture Point rather than the Spur - doable, but long and arduous, with way more bushwhacking and scrambling.

    Take the track on your right IMMEDIATELY after the first bridge over the river to the Upper Howqua campsite from the Bindaree road, just after the Parksvic info board. If you follow this logging track it joins with the Spur path and you will easily get up the Spur to the Bluff in less than 3 hours.

    It’s fine coming down Helicopter Spur - having a 10m light rope to lower packs would take the sting out of it, but most people shouldn’t attempt the downclimb in the wet, that’s all.

    The Helicopter Spur, Howitt Ridge circuit is an awesome walk - highly recommended. It would be a push to do this 23km circuit with large verticals as a day-walk - only if you’re someone like @Jay Woo or @NeoSamurai used to covering Long distanced in tough terrain in a single day.
     
    Bogong likes this.
  6. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    10,391
    Likes Received:
    6,556
    Beautiful, thanks for sharing.
     
    neilmny likes this.
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,426
    Likes Received:
    7,734
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Thanks for the information. I stand corrected. One would be inclined to attempt this in Nov. when the days are longer and there is water at Hellfire Creek for camping at the half way point.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,426
    Likes Received:
    7,734
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I am still plotting to ascend Helicopter spur......
     
  9. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1998
    Messages:
    27,600
    Likes Received:
    22,777
    Location:
    Middle Oz
    Please tell me this will be by helicopter.