the hardest trip

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the hardest trip

Postby wayno » Sat 13 Oct, 2012 5:03 am

whats the hardest trip you've done and why was it hard?
were you expecting it to be that hard?
would you do it again?
what lessons did you learn?

mine was in the tararuas in new zealand in winter, just after a snow storm.
first day was an easy four hours climb up to 900m.
second day, should have been four hour 500m climb and walk along a ridge, but the snow made it eight hours through ankle, and calf deep snow. sometimes knee deep.
next day another ten hours, first through snow then we had to descend 700m off track through thick bush.
last day another ten hours climb a thousand metres bush bashing, back into the snow, descend again to get out. id become sick and didnt eat dinner, and ran out of food , a handfull of nuts and raisins was breakfast, begged a crust of bread off my mate.... not a day i'd want to repeat i felt pretty weak and exhausted by the time i finished, went to bed for three days when i got home..
walking on a crust of snow and you get half your weight on it then it breaks, you sink through, thrown off balance and have to exert extra energy bracing yourself and regaining balance every step. hour after hour of that was pretty heart breaking travel.
we didnt really think about encountering that much snow. certainly wouldnt do it again in those conditions . wouldnt repeat the trip in good conditions but if it was good we'd have avoided the descent and climb mid way... i learned the importance of taking extra food.... and the difficulty of walking long distance in soft snow. can't remember being that cold. it had warmed up after the snow storm so was spared the worst but it made teh snow all the softer. .
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby MichaelP » Sat 13 Oct, 2012 8:27 am

Tricky to compare different difficulties, but one stands out for me.

Mt. Bowen (on Hinchinbrook Island, QLD). I was doing the whole Thorsbourne Trail with 4 others and needed something a bit less family-friendly to dig out feet into. There is really only one route up the mountain,following the river from Little Ramsay Bay. As a river coming off a mountain this is very a) steep and b) slippery, but apparently quite doable when dryish. However we did it when the river was fairly high. Often there were parts that were almost impassable. We tried giving the jungle ago, but it was impenetrable.

We had planned to traverse Bowen and come down further along the Thorsbourne Trail. Picture 5 people trying to swim up cascades with full packs.

8hrs later. 2km up the river we called it, set up camp in the dense jungle. Tough day.

Tip: if it ain't dry, don't bother.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Graham51 » Sun 14 Oct, 2012 7:44 pm

The hardest trip that comes to my mind was walking to Frenchmans in a September. First day to Vera was easy (though a bit muddy) but the second day from Vera to Tahune was a nightmare. We got up to the saddle all right but then came into thick snow. Not being prepared for it meant pulling feet out of knee to thigh deep snow - very tiring. The worst was when we got to the ladders. What ladders? We couldn't see them under the snow so when we spepped off course we fell through and had to drag ourselves out. I think it took us over 8 hours to make Tahune. When we got inside the thermometer read minus 5 Celsius. There was still a coal stove there then so we got it going, cranked it up and heated the hut to 20 C. We didn't go to the summit because of the snow, cold and it was clagged in but we do look back on the trip with some affection.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby mikethepike » Mon 15 Oct, 2012 7:32 pm

wayno wrote:walking on a crust of snow and you get half your weight on it then it breaks, you sink through, thrown off balance and have to exert extra energy bracing yourself and regaining balance every step. hour after hour of that was pretty heart breaking travel.


That exactly describes the conditions that, for the only time I can remember while bushwalking, I was reduced to tears. (I'd put a 'smiley' faces here but none can express the exasperated and exhausted state I descended to.) I seem to remember posting the story here a few years ago but it was August 1970 and five of us we're walking past Benson Hill on the last day of walking the Overland Track. I was the only one with frozen snow show bindings (made of leather) so had to carry them for the first two hours. The others got well ahead of me while I was left behind dealing with breaking crust at every step of the way. Just as you started to think that the crust was going to hold for that step-off - crunch - down you go - knee deep and left to pull your foot-snowshoe out with half a ton of snow (more the feeling than fact) on it. I suspect that the others were secretly glad of my suffering because I was the fittest in the party - not that I was ever a pain about it or made them suffer. Well I don't think so anyway. :) Finally I could pee on the binding and the problem was solved.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Gippsmick » Thu 18 Oct, 2012 7:14 pm

Reedy Creek Chasm in Victoria.
Although only a short walk (1 day really plus access and egress), the combination of the following points add up to make this one of the hardest hikes I've completed:

Remoteness - the distance from population, difficult access for vehicles and difficulty of rescue if things went awry;

Access - other than the approach the whole hike is off track, much of it through thick fire regrowth, precipitous rocky-shaley slopes, requiring to use Reedy Creek itself as the track for 1.5km, the need to swim through some sections of the chasm and exiting up a very steep slope off track;

Energy required to complete the hike - the degree of suffering was high for this one but well worth it;

Wet environment - Wet and vegetated rocks to negotiate along Reedy Creek and through the chasm; sheer unclimbable walls and negotiating log jams.

I was definitely expecting this to be as hard as it was and well prepared for it

I would potentially do it again. At this stage once was enough but who knows. I could always get better photos.

I learned that my ultralight pack doesn't like squeezing through thick fire regrowth.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Paul » Thu 18 Oct, 2012 10:07 pm

Whats the hardest trip you've done and why was it hard?

Our retrace of Mr.Alexander Pearce's footsteps from Coal Head in Macquarie Harbour to Ouse - 23 days.
It was hard because of the terrain, weather, vegetation and remoteness.

Were you expecting it to be that hard?

Yes, because no-one had ever attempted it since he traversed the route in 1822. Also because of our prior knowledge of the attributes of the South West, as well as what our extensive research revealed.


Would you do it again?

The jury is still out !


What lessons did you learn?

A great respect for the man, Mr. Alexander Pearce.

The value of good team members. To rely upon, trust, communicate with and nurture each other in the team. That attention to safety is paramount in such circumstances. Remaining sane under duress. A greater appreciation for quality equipment. That 600 grams food per day was a bit light on.

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Skid » Fri 19 Oct, 2012 12:56 pm

MichaelP wrote:Tricky to compare different difficulties, but one stands out for me.

Mt. Bowen (on Hinchinbrook Island, QLD). I was doing the whole Thorsbourne Trail with 4 others and needed something a bit less family-friendly to dig out feet into. There is really only one route up the mountain,following the river from Little Ramsay Bay. As a river coming off a mountain this is very a) steep and b) slippery, but apparently quite doable when dryish. However we did it when the river was fairly high. Often there were parts that were almost impassable. We tried giving the jungle ago, but it was impenetrable.

We had planned to traverse Bowen and come down further along the Thorsbourne Trail. Picture 5 people trying to swim up cascades with full packs.

8hrs later. 2km up the river we called it, set up camp in the dense jungle. Tough day.

Tip: if it ain't dry, don't bother.


Yes, Mount Bowen is tough in the wet!
There is another way up, via Pineapple Peak (PM me if you want details) as this route is mostly on the ridges it is a better option in the wet.
However, since cyclone Yasi has been through, the valleys on both side of the north saddle are very tough going (the west side is worse). We ascended via the valley on the west, the opposite side to Warrawilla Creek (which is the creek from Little Ramsay to the north saddle). Imagine a steep valley where many of the trees were blown over and the branches of the others were blown off and dumped on the forest floor. This lets the light in and the lawyer cane (wait-a-while) takes off and covers the lot. Fast forward a year or so and you have a mess of chest high trunks/branches, some rotted, some not, all covered in vines that are armed with 'backward facing' barbs. Challenging stuff; with no change in elevation, our speed was less than 100m per hour (measured on both map and GPS over 500m section). At the end of this section it took a while to clear enough space to even hang a hammock. Character building stuff! :-)
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby walktillyoudrop » Fri 19 Oct, 2012 7:51 pm

I hiked the Overland track last year with a broken foot, and that's undoubtedly the hardest trip I've done. I'd sustained the injury (the dreaded Jones fracture) 9 weeks previously, & it just wasn't healing (I eventually had corrective surgery after another 3 months). Although it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, and the conditions on the track were pretty good, I decided that at 54 I didn't have time to put my life on hold & I'm immensely proud of finishing the walk, including the hike out from Narcissus Hut & not piking & taking the ferry.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Hallu » Fri 19 Oct, 2012 10:02 pm

Mine was actually when I was a teenager with my parents. It was 1100 m elevation in a 7 hour daywalk. The last half of that elevation was done in slipping mud in a dense forest, so you couldn't see the summit, it was very frustrating (not to mention I was in shorts and tennis shoes). Besides it was a return walk, not a circuit, and the first half was on painful rocks, which killed me on the way back, my feet being all blistered... It was in the Pyrénées, with a nice lake on the top (can't remember the exact location), but it wasn't worth the torture we went through, needless to say that my mother, my brother and me bitched about it to my father, who picked the walk, for a long time. Nothing to what you guys went through though lol, I wouldn't even pass the qualifying round.

I haven't got a really bad bushwalk experience in Australia yet, only some light rain around Tasmania, some ankle deep mud and knee deep snow at Baw Baw (which was actually fun) or taking the wrong track which was going nowhere in Mutawintji, but all in all nothing serious.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby wayno » Sat 20 Oct, 2012 5:55 am

i gew up trampign in teh tararuas, endless tree roots overgrown tracks and mud, steep mountains, bad weather,,,, i was sick of it, then i did the abel tasman great walk, a flat footpath and great weather,.. i was bored senseless and couldnt wait to get back to the tararuas.....
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: the hardest trip

Postby stu » Sat 20 Oct, 2012 5:08 pm

I'm positive my hardest will be the Prince of Wales Range (12-14 days), we start this one on the 1st January next year...stay tuned :D
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby wayno » Sat 20 Oct, 2012 5:36 pm

ran into an eldery guy doing the routeburn.... it was his fifteenth trip on the track.... he said he keeps forgetting how hard it is....
none of us guessed he was actually 78! cycles 200km a week....
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: the hardest trip

Postby andrewbish » Sat 20 Oct, 2012 6:08 pm

Gippsmick wrote:Reedy Creek Chasm in Victoria.
Although only a short walk


This sounded epic - can you share a pic or two?

(Actually, it would be good to see pics with all of the tales in this thread)
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby mjdalessa » Sun 21 Oct, 2012 5:45 pm

Hopefully Mount Hopetoun this week if all is successful.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby stepbystep » Sun 21 Oct, 2012 6:07 pm

mjdalessa wrote:Hopefully Mount Hopetoun this week if all is successful.


Success or not it'll still be hard :)
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sun 21 Oct, 2012 6:14 pm

mjdalessa wrote:Hopefully Mount Hopetoun this week if all is successful.


What happened to doing that with AD in Nov/Dec?
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby dplanet » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 5:10 pm

stu wrote:I'm positive my hardest will be the Prince of Wales Range (12-14 days), we start this one on the 1st January next year...stay tuned :D


It has been on my wishlist. From track notes somewhere, a boat is needed to drop you off at the start.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby stepbystep » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 5:37 pm

dplanet wrote:
stu wrote:I'm positive my hardest will be the Prince of Wales Range (12-14 days), we start this one on the 1st January next year...stay tuned :D


It has been on my wishlist. From track notes somewhere, a boat is needed to drop you off at the start.


I have it on good authority Stu's party will be walking from the Lyell Hwy to Strathgordon. :wink:
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 5:39 pm

dplanet wrote:
stu wrote:I'm positive my hardest will be the Prince of Wales Range (12-14 days), we start this one on the 1st January next year...stay tuned :D


It has been on my wishlist. From track notes somewhere, a boat is needed to drop you off at the start.



Only if you want to cut the range in half. We're going to try the full traverse. Starting at the Jane River track. Finishing at the Gordon dam.

Meant to be the hardest range walk in Tassie..... as Stu said, stay tuned. :shock:

Lol, oh hi SBS. :lol:
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Vern » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 7:01 pm

Whats the hardest trip you've done and why was it hard?
Probably the DuCane Range. Hard because of the bad weather, terrain, and navigation and probably that I was going alone. Visability was reduced to a matter of metres at times which made route finding really difficult and in turn meant that I probably took the wrong route and found myself climbing some exposed areas. I totally used all my energy climbing around and pack hauling etc. The wind was amazing as well. To a point where I traversed a somewhat exposed ridge for about 5 metres on my knees to avoid being blown into the abyss.

Were you expecting it to be that hard?
Not really. If the weather was fine it may have been alot easier to route find but I won't really know until I head back in fine weather I guess.

Would you do it again?
I've had enough time pass since then to say that I'd go back again.

What lessons did you learn?
If it says don't do it in bad weather then there's probably a reason for it ;)
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby dplanet » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 8:11 pm

It has been on my wishlist. From track notes somewhere, a boat is needed to drop you off at the start.[/quote]

Only if you want to cut the range in half. We're going to try the full traverse. Starting at the Jane River track. Finishing at the Gordon dam.

Meant to be the hardest range walk in Tassie..... as Stu said, stay tuned. :shock:

Lol, oh hi SBS. :lol:[/quote]

Just checking out the map, i can have a picture of the route where you will be going. Doesn't look many many kms; but very very scruby and the southern range seems a bit more of the challenge. Have fun.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby mikethepike » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 10:14 pm

Paul wrote:Whats the hardest trip you've done and why was it hard?

Our retrace of Mr.Alexander Pearce's footsteps from Coal Head in Macquarie Harbour to Ouse - 23 days.
It was hard because of the terrain, weather, vegetation and remoteness.


Hi Paul. I would be most interested to read an account of your walk. Did you write/publish one and what year did you do it? Also, do you have a reference to Mr Pearce's walk. I take it that you carried all your food (no food drops) and that explains the 600g/d which is very light for such a strenuous walk. Is that correct?
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Strider » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 10:28 pm

mikethepike wrote:Also, do you have a reference to Mr Pearce's walk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pearce

There is also a song about the journey

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Re: the hardest trip

Postby hikingoz » Mon 22 Oct, 2012 11:37 pm

Paul wrote:
A great respect for the man, Mr. Alexander Pearce.

The value of good team members. To rely upon, trust, communicate with and nurture each other in the team. That attention to safety is paramount in such circumstances. Remaining sane under duress. A greater appreciation for quality equipment. That 600 grams food per day was a bit light on.

Cheers,

Paul


Paul there is not doubt your trip was a great one. Quite the journey and very tough I'm sure. I was quite ammused by your respect for Alexander Pearce though. The man did once say "Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork". Also what you said about safety and remaining sane in duress. A I reckon Alexander Pearce might have skipped those lessons. :lol:
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 10:13 am

dplanet wrote:I

Just checking out the map, i can have a picture of the route where you will be going. Doesn't look many many kms; but very very scruby and the southern range seems a bit more of the challenge. Have fun.



Probably about 80 all up. and yeh, it's meant to be scrubby. This will be a common picture.....
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby mjdalessa » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 3:12 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:
mjdalessa wrote:Hopefully Mount Hopetoun this week if all is successful.


What happened to doing that with AD in Nov/Dec?


RL wants to do Hopetoun, so he does not really want to do it without her. Looks like the weathers bad so may have to bail anyway becaus eof the creeks. I wanted to do Hopetoun, Crest. Bobs, Bobs Knobs and Boomerang in 6-7 days.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby dplanet » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 4:50 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:
dplanet wrote:I

Just checking out the map, i can have a picture of the route where you will be going. Doesn't look many many kms; but very very scruby and the southern range seems a bit more of the challenge. Have fun.



Probably about 80 all up. and yeh, it's meant to be scrubby. This will be a common picture.....


I am reminded of my solo KWR trip. Went half way and backtracked due to forecast and scrubs. A few of you would be able to handle the scrubs well and I wish weather will turn out OK for you.
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Re: the hardest trip

Postby Paul » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 6:13 pm

I was quite ammused by your respect for Alexander Pearce though. The man did once say "Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork"

Many respectful people have eaten human flesh before - just think to the Andes.

The man did also once say, as his last words before the trapdoor of the gallows was released, "No mans knows what he will do when driven by hunger" - would any of us know what lenghts we would go to in similar circumstances ? Society back in 1822 had much different standards to what we have today.

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Re: the hardest trip

Postby wayno » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 6:20 pm

from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: the hardest trip

Postby hikingoz » Tue 23 Oct, 2012 8:43 pm

Paul wrote:I was quite ammused by your respect for Alexander Pearce though. The man did once say "Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork"

Many respectful people have eaten human flesh before - just think to the Andes.

The man did also once say, as his last words before the trapdoor of the gallows was released, "No mans knows what he will do when driven by hunger" - would any of us know what lenghts we would go to in similar circumstances ? Society back in 1822 had much different standards to what we have today.

Paul.


Fair enough. You can't knock a bloke for being practical. If only they had known about the carbohydrate value of insects. I guess the gaols back then didn't have the discovery channel.

Also I think I read that the second time he got caught he still had a bit of normal food left when he ate his mate. Apparently his buddy couldn't swim across King's River so Pearce put him to good use as dinner. YUM
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