Larapinta Trail - June 2013

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Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Mon 13 May, 2013 3:07 pm

We are doing the Larapinta from East to West in June, starting on the 7th from Alice. I have ordered the JC book on the trail but it is in transit and I have a few questions that need some feedback:

1/ Flies - will there be many buzzing around in June ?

2/ Runners - our preffered footware for trekking, any issues with runners on the trail ?

3/ Food Caches- can we just wrap up the food in a tough plastic bag, the food drops are going to be put in by a transport operator. I imagine there are enclosed facilities to hold them in.

4/ Food drop locations - what would be the best two locations for caches if we are going E > W ?

5/ Side trips - we are going E>W so if we walk the trail quickly (most probably) then we can use extra days at the western end instead of hangling around Alice. Any suggestions on what side trips we can do in that area ?

Thanks :)
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby north-north-west » Mon 13 May, 2013 6:47 pm

1) Gazillions
2) Add gaiters. Be careful on foot placement - there's a lot of sharp rock & vegetation. Spare pair in food cache just in case.
3) There are lockups in two or three places. For details - and to cover the rest of the questions - get Chapman's book.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby Aushiker » Mon 13 May, 2013 6:57 pm

ribbony wrote:1/ Flies - will there be many buzzing around in June ?


I did it in July 2005 and don't recall flies being an issue.

2/ Runners - our preffered footware for trekking, any issues with runners on the trail ?


I wore Scarpa boots but did see one dude in Dunlop Volleys. When we walked it the ground was hard and there where lots of sharp rocks but if I was going back now, I would walk in my New Balance trail shoes ... nice and light and oh my load would be lighter as well :)

3/ Food Caches- can we just wrap up the food in a tough plastic bag, the food drops are going to be put in by a transport operator. I imagine there are enclosed facilities to hold them in.


The mob we used had steel chests on site at one of the places for food storage and at the other two places they used the shop/existing facilities.

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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby forest » Mon 13 May, 2013 7:15 pm

I found out last week that early May yes, there were heaps of flies this year. I don't think that's uncommon.
The 3 people I know that did it last year in mid June had no flies at all. From what I understand once the first few sub zero nights occur the flies quickly die off.

As for runners..... llI have mine on and am starting from Mt Sonder on the 15th June. I guess we will cross paths.
See you out there eh !! I'll be the dude in a blue top, black shorts and grey skins on my legs, should be easy to spot for better or worse. Oh and Ill be camped up in my blue hexamid. Say hello on the track. I don't mind a good chat mid trip, especially when I'm walking solo.

I know people are mixed on the runners vs boots topic, especially for Larapinta. Some like boots, some runners. I haven't been able to kill my inov8s yet in lots of NSW trips, Tassie and 3 trips to NZ. Although I have purchased a new pair for this trip just to be safe. I guess we will swap runner war stories mid trip..... either that or between your wrecked runners and mine we should be able to construct one usable shoe........
Everyone just says rocks rocks and more rocks with Larapinta. And some are super sharp.

As for the food drops, why not just contact the company who's doing your drops. They all might do something different and best to be sure.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby north-north-west » Tue 14 May, 2013 6:03 pm

Oh Yeah, the lockups: there are three from memory: Ellery's, Serpentine and Ormiston. Key from Parks in the Alice.
Plus I think the Kiosk at Standley will hold a cache for you for a small fee. Or bury a barrell somewhere safe.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby Jason68 » Tue 14 May, 2013 6:47 pm

Hey Ribbony,

flies seem to be proportional to the heat, more flies the hotter it is! I'm definitely waiting for the cool next time!

As far as lockups, against humans only, gaps and mesh so animal access guaranteed. A plastic container at least?

Runners, may get with them as its cooler. My scarpas separated. I put that down to a combination of heat and rugged rocks. Take a spare set
/be able to repair and watch your ankles hey.

I'm not long back and would love to head back out to experience it in the cool.

Enjoy :)
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Fri 17 May, 2013 8:43 pm

Awesome - thanks for the tips.

We are still waiting on John Chapmans book, got it from an online book supplier but they are a bit like continental drift with the shipping service. As we are heading off for a week hopefully it will be in the mail box by the time we get back.

Should we get the set of trail maps as well as JC'S book ? Or just get a good topo.

Runners it is !
Flies - better take the fly net and hope there has been a frost by then, we had one here last night in southern NSW.
forest - will keep an eye out for you.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby stuart53 » Wed 22 May, 2013 1:21 pm

Hi Ribbony,

if you have time a good side trip is out to Mt Giles through the Ormiston Pound. When you get to Ormiston you're only 3 days from Mt Sonder so you should know how you're going in relation to your schedule. There is no marked track out there but it's easy to find your way - follow the creek upstream or just cut across the floor of the pound - there are track notes in Chapman and Daly. We went in July and there were pools of water in the creek almost all the way to the base of the mountain.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Wed 22 May, 2013 1:53 pm

Thanks, that is a good idea, especially as you said it is just before the end of the trip.

Ormiston pound looks like it is worth exploring in any case.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby philthy » Tue 28 May, 2013 11:35 am

Anyone done any cowboy camping (under the stars)? Is dew a problem (could be combated with bivy or sleeping bag DWR/drying out bag during the day)? Insects? Wind/dust?
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby forest » Tue 28 May, 2013 1:23 pm

philthy wrote:Anyone done any cowboy camping (under the stars)? Is dew a problem (could be combated with bivy or sleeping bag DWR/drying out bag during the day)? Insects? Wind/dust?


Hi Philthy, I'm game if you are :D :D
I think pending no rain over the time we are out there, dew is pretty non existant on the Larapinta.
I could be wrong there but I have been asking that same question as I'm hopeing to not require the tarp up at night so I can view the stars.
Plenty of people I have talked too just pitched tents with no rain fly and they had no issue at all with dew.
Ant's I have been told were an issue at a few places during late April this year but that might change with the cooler weather, That was the first time I had ever heard someone complain about ants out there too.
Flies hopefully will all be dead by the time we get out there. Normally the cold snap kills them off. I'm taking a head net just to be sure and I might even make a few calls prior to leaving too see what they are like.
Dust, yeh in any wind that will get everywhere along with plenty of red sand. But hey, It's the desert and I'm not sure a tarp will eleviate that at all anyway.

I was given a great tip regarding the ants, dingo's and your gear in the campsites if just sleeping on a ground sheet. Put your pack up on the water tanks, nothing's getting at them up there.
I'm more worried about a dingo stealing one of my runners one night !!
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby philthy » Tue 28 May, 2013 2:45 pm

Thanks forest.

My hope was to forgo bringing a netted tent and just have a small tarp in case we get rain and the rest of the time just camp out under the stars - I don't often get to see them in all their glory so want to take full advantage!
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby awildland » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 4:50 pm

So jealous of you all going out to do the Larapinta Trail....we were out there last year in July/August and I just loved it!

We had: no flies, ants tended to just pounce on any crumbs but not a huge issue, no dew but a little frost (mornings as low as -5) and rarely pitched the fly just the inner, food drops definitely need more than a plastic bag as the sheds are not vermin proof. Dingoes are probably the biggest problem in terms of thieving food (they are quite bold at some sites and extreme vigilence is needed. All it takes is a turned back. They don't care if you are standing two paces away.). Good sand shoes would probably be okay but you do walk 90% of the time on rocks, some of them very sharp and shreddy. It's all about rocks out there. The National Parks brochures/trail maps are worth purchasing not only for the topographical map but also they are filled with interesting info about the wildlife and geology etc. We went west to east and did three food drops as it eased the pack load nicely. Biggest piece of advice is to take your time - it's a special place. Side trips at the end - really enjoyed the Desert Park in Alice Springs (great nocturnal house), drove out to the East MacDonnell Ranges which were nice and check out Papunya Tula art gallery in town, the home of central australian aboriginal art...oh and also Kangaroo Books bookshop in the mall. Awesome selection.

Sorry, got carried away....will stop now....
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 9:58 pm

Thanks, great info, just a couple of days to go until we start the adventure: )
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby forest » Tue 04 Jun, 2013 7:41 am

I'm certainly getting keen but the weather forcast is doing 2 things I hadn't expected.
1. The nightly low's haven't got that low. It hasn't fallen below zero yet, not like last year at this time.
2. There's a fair chance of rain while we are out there for multiple days.

Darn it that's just messing with my head. Now I'm thinking I should take the -2°C quilt instead of the -9°C quilt. And also maybe I should take my more breathable eVent rain jacket (Montane Air) over the still breathable but not as good, lighter coat I'm planning to take (OR Hellium II).
Ah the joy of decisions..... All good fun and planning though. The planning is half the fun.
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There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Tue 04 Jun, 2013 7:53 am

Bet that it may start a little wetter and warmer, but next week will be more typical of the season. The 28 day forecast shows a very dry month once we get through the weekend.

We are taking plenty of warm gear as we do not want to sit around shivering of a night, one or two is OK, but not for couple of weeks :)
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby forest » Tue 04 Jun, 2013 8:02 am

ribbony wrote:Bet that it may start a little wetter and warmer, but next week will be more typical of the season. The 28 day forecast shows a very dry month once we get through the weekend.

We are taking plenty of warm gear as we do not want to sit around shivering of a night, one or two is OK, but not for couple of weeks :)


That's true and the only thing staying my hand from swapping the quilts over.
The weather model I'm looking at show's a medium-low chance of rain from the 18th right to the 23rd. But it looked a different beast last week. Next week it will be different again. That's the issue with 28 day weather models.
I guess we will know what the weather "actually" is like only when we are out there.

See you pair out there.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby north-north-west » Tue 04 Jun, 2013 7:18 pm

On a two to three week walk, even in the Centre it's likely to rain at least once while you're out there. I just hope there's plenty of water in Redbank when I visit. It's so much better when the falls halfway up the gorge are flowing.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribuck » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 8:48 pm

philthy wrote:My hope was to forgo bringing a netted tent and just have a small tarp in case we get rain and the rest of the time just camp out under the stars

We had a party of eight, and decided not to bring any tents. We took one small tarp; just big enough for everyone to huddle under but not to sleep under. We figured we'd prefer to chance a night or two huddled under the tarp, than to carry tents the whole way. As it happened, we slept under the stars every night. No dew, though a light frost on the sleeping bags one morning. No problems with ants. Wonderful trip.
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby wobbly » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 10:55 pm

're tents on my last trip in 2011 mozzies actually drove us into the tent each night yet on the 2 earlier trips we slept out under the stars with no mozzies to be seen all trips where in July/august never had an issue with flies though
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Thu 06 Jun, 2013 6:27 am

wonder if the rain this week will be the catalyst for mozzie breeding, nice :)
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby forest » Thu 06 Jun, 2013 7:19 am

ribbony wrote:wonder if the rain this week will be the catalyst for mozzie breeding, nice :)


Ahh I hope not, hate the mozzies :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby Aushiker » Thu 06 Jun, 2013 4:03 pm

On the subject of rain, this is what I wrote of the day it rained when we walked the Larapinta in July 2005 :

Overnight it started to rain and it was raining when we woke up early in the morning. The rain continued pretty much all day, getting very heavy, very cold, very windy and very misty as we commenced our ascent of Heavitree Range, but I am getting ahead of myself here.

We woke early on Day 4 knowing we had a big days walk with the ascent and descent of Heavitree combined with carrying four days food plus two days water. As it was raining bad when we woke in the dark, we packed as best as we could, all moving down to the bit of shelter at the shop/information centre for breakfast and repacking. Once we where all fed and organised we headed off with some optimism as the rain seemed to be easing and after all this was the Northern Territory in the dry, it will be just a short period of rain, right? Wrong! It continued to rain, getting colder and colder and windier as the morning progressed. By lunchtime we where partly up the side of Heavitree Range with the rain horizontal in our faces and visibility pretty poor. At this point I was wearing every bit of warm clothing I had including a Polartec 300 and I was still cold! We sought some shelter in the lee of the wind to have some lunch and to assess our options. We decided to try to continue the ascent but quickly realised this was not the way to go. Walking the ridge in these conditions was not ideal. Consultation of the maps, seemed to suggest a possible route along the base of the range to Waterfall Gorge. So we decided to abort at this point our ascent, heading back down to pick-up the alternative route making use of a creek.

However, again progress was slow even though the rain had eased. Creek walking Larapinta Trail style isn’t easy. We where all cold and tired and when Fran had a fall, nearly hitting her head we decided to call it a day, back tracking to find a suitable campsite. Once we did, we managed to get a fire going as the rain had eased off and we camped the night regrouping to tackle again Heavitree Range the next day with the intention of getting through to Serpentine Chalet Dam and back on target.


Trying to get a fire going ...

Image

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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Fri 07 Jun, 2013 4:07 pm

On euro hill about 12k into the walk. Last mobile reception until end of walk. Drizzle now at 3.30 pm. Wallaby gap tonight. Not many flies today as it is
cool.

:)
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Re: Larapinta Trail - June 2013

Postby ribbony » Sun 14 Jul, 2013 8:55 am

Hi

An update on the walk we did.

It took us 14 days of walking, plus one rest day at Ormiston.

Food drops were at Ellery and at Ormiston, these were done by Glen Helens, we dropped the parcels into a central point in ALice, then they took them from there, the cost was $25 per drop. Very reasonable we thought. This allowed us to walk the trail from East to West.

Water was mostly in the Parks tanks, but there were some natural sources that we used for camping away from the usual spots. Millers Flat, Fringed Lilly Ck. For the nights spent up on the ranges, such as Brinkely Bluff we carried water, well worth it.

Phone reception - Brinkely Bluff had excellent 3G reception for the Optus network and I managed to do a few emails and check the weather site. We did not have Telstra sim cards, but those with them said they got reception furthur west, I think Telstra have a tower in the Fink area to the south of Redbank (look at the service maps on their site).

Snakes - did not see any.

Flies - not enought to worry about, did not need nets or repellent.

Mozzies - a few in the evenings in various locations, most oddly on top of Brinkley Bluff ??

Frost - we did not have our first frost until the last two nights, when we had a minus 2 then a minus 3 degrees.

Geology - this was one of the most interesting things about the area. Do a bit of home work before you go or takes a book relevent to the region so you can interpret what you are seeing.

Wildlife - some Euros, rock wallabies, a couple of Lizzards (bit cold for them). We did not see any Dingos in the daylight though they did come around our tent on several nights.

UV Steripen - the best way to treat the water on route. We have been using them trekking in Nepal for 4 seasons.

At Redbank we walked out to the main road, about 5km (easy). Put the packs on the ground & heard a car coming, thumbs out and volia we had a life with some mining people returning to Alice. We would not have been there 2 mins ! Beats paying $300 for the transport. But perhaps we were lucky.

In reflection we believe the East to West direction is preferable if you can do it, the trail seems to climb the hills more gradually in that direction, plus you get to Mt Sonder at the end of the walk.

Thanks for the earlier tips. :)
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