AAWT advice

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

Re: AAWT advice

Postby GBW » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 7:00 pm

At Baw Baw Village there's an info board dedicated to Baron Ferdinand von Mueller who explored a route through to NSW in 1850s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_von_Mueller
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby madmacca » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 10:47 pm

north-north-west wrote: I'm not even sure that when I first did the Main Range that it was even part of the official track. When did it get officially extended north of the Victorian border?


Actually, to be really pedantic, the Main Range is not part of the 'official' track even now. The official track routes through Charlotte Pass and Munyang.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby walkon » Tue 17 Feb, 2015 6:28 am

madmacca wrote:
north-north-west wrote: I'm not even sure that when I first did the Main Range that it was even part of the official track. When did it get officially extended north of the Victorian border?


Actually, to be really pedantic, the Main Range is not part of the 'official' track even now. The official track routes through Charlotte Pass and Munyang.


Summer or winter that is a boring mind numbing road up past Charlotte's Pass! It should be a law against humanity to stop people from walking along it.
Cheers Walkon

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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 17 Feb, 2015 8:02 am

Thanks. I've done all of it except a short bit from the ACT. Areas like the Bogong High Plains and Howitt have been done many times, including on skis. Doing the entire AAWT in winter does not appeal at all.

Let's see, 31 years is an average of, um, er, 1.8 kilometers a day, my kind of pace! The routes should go up from DHG, Ramsheads, fight the hordes to Twynum and then Rolling Ground to Schlink Pass. But this would require good tracks for the start and end of this route, something that P&WS cannot do. P&WS is struggling with existing tracks let alone another ten kilometres or so of AAWT.

As far as I'm concerned, if one goes on this DHG-Schlink Pass route the AAWT has been walked in this section. Going on roads is a crime against humanity. I walked from DHG down to Tom Groggin, heavy pack and unsealed road, hot day, quite horrible. I did not survive.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby north-north-west » Tue 17 Feb, 2015 8:55 am

madmacca wrote:
north-north-west wrote: I'm not even sure that when I first did the Main Range that it was even part of the official track. When did it get officially extended north of the Victorian border?

Actually, to be really pedantic, the Main Range is not part of the 'official' track even now. The official track routes through Charlotte Pass and Munyang.

The official route still goes up from Dead Horse Gap to Rawson Pass and thence to Charlotte's via the vehicle track along the side of the Crackenback Range. Which is still part of the Main Range. :P
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby madmacca » Wed 18 Feb, 2015 4:18 pm

north-north-west wrote:
madmacca wrote:
north-north-west wrote: I'm not even sure that when I first did the Main Range that it was even part of the official track. When did it get officially extended north of the Victorian border?

Actually, to be really pedantic, the Main Range is not part of the 'official' track even now. The official track routes through Charlotte Pass and Munyang.

The official route still goes up from Dead Horse Gap to Rawson Pass and thence to Charlotte's via the vehicle track along the side of the Crackenback Range. Which is still part of the Main Range. :P


I've gotta admit - you've got me there. :D

But it still won't stop me taking cheap shots at the ridiculous "official" routing.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby north-north-west » Sun 01 Mar, 2015 6:28 am

madmacca wrote:But it still won't stop me taking cheap shots at the ridiculous "official" routing.

Good.
Because it is idiotic. The dubbers never wanted to be part of the Alps Track when it was first mooted and had to be dragged in kicking and screaming when the Australian Alps Management mob was created, and they still don't take it seriously. I just wish that so much of the Victorian routing wasn't being dumbed down due to cost issues. There are too many bits that have been upgraded (like the previous 'make your own way' routing from Misery Way to the Cowombat Flat Track) or shifted on to roads and vehicle tracks (like the old cut track beside Alpine Way from St Bernard to Hotham) to save maintenance on walking tracks, and I suspect this will only get worse.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby walkon » Thu 19 Mar, 2015 8:32 am

I always seem to think it before a big one but ghee a lot of work goes into this walk before you start.
I know some people just use the John Chapman book as a reference guide/map but that's not me and organising maps takes time. Especially when the Mrs wants a marked map to check off as I go, which both parents saw and wanted as well. Amazes me that you are never to old for them to worry about.
Then the food organising and prep, though I think that if you did this one quickly you might regret it. I must be doing something right here as I overnighted with my daughter last weekend and she couldn't believe the food was so good. Not to mention the time that actually doing the food drops takes.
I only weighed the base weight of the pack once which I was happy with and there have only been a few small changes since.
Support from friends and forum members have been a big help. Whether this is by material/verbal/physical assistance or just a few lines on this forum resetting my thought process. So with just over a week to go before I set off I am like a cat on a hot tin roof at the moment. Life must be good if these have been all my worries
Cheers Walkon

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Re: AAWT advice

Postby neilmny » Thu 19 Mar, 2015 12:21 pm

Good luck with it all Walkon and if you ever feel the task is getting a bit daunting have a look at this bloke riding (errr.....walking?) the BNT on a treadly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVi08_rlQQI

Oh...and don't forget to write to us... :D
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Fri 03 Apr, 2015 9:31 am

Hey all :)

First post on this cool forum - just found it yay!

I too am starting to plan an attempt on this route. Coming back from a knee recon…got an ACL injury that taught me what I really care about in life is hiking and sports. So with my life purpose now crystallised I'm planning this trip! The longest trips I've done before are 1 weekers - but on heavily used trails (Haute route and Milford / Routeburn). This will be my first attempt navigating and doing food dropping and being somewhere remote, so I am feeling a little trepidation whereas I'm pretty blasé on high traffic routes. Obviously I need maps…are the 1:50k sufficient or do I really need the 1:25K? (lotta maps for this trip!) Keep in mind that I do not actually even know how to read a map yet! Do you guys know if there is a group/forum for selling 2nd hand maps so I can get the whole lot cheaper? It's like $300 for the complete set new! Or is another method like GPS or smartphone apps better? I have already ordered the Chapman book.

I intend to 'walk' solo but am happy to 'camp' with others if it should happen that two of us are going SOBO at the same time and someone wants a camping buddy. I just like to walk at my own pace so don't really wanna keep up or slow down to someone else's pace…but a chat and a drink in the eve is welcome :)

Also wondering what is the best overall time to start the track if I want to be sure of finding water on the trail? Is it Nov? And is the weather still atrocious at the time of year? I have no backcountry skills yet but I might undertake a wilderness survival course before I go.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 06 Apr, 2015 9:13 pm

Suz, it sounds to me as if you need a lot more experience. The only way to get experience is over time, perhaps with a club. Try leading a walk, see how it is at the sharp end.

Maps are essential. A GPS or other like gadget is fine until it busts. Happens. The 1:50s are fine but you may be obliged to use 1:25s. You must be able to navigate in poor conditions. There are hard parts of the AAWT, but the main challenge is the length: 30-40 days or more. You cannot afford to take longer than planned as the food may run out before the next food dump. Water should be okay in November, arguably a good time as spring rains and lack of major summer heat are positives. The logistics can be quite daunting.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby neilmny » Tue 07 Apr, 2015 11:26 am

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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Wed 08 Apr, 2015 6:59 pm

Thanks Neilmny, have ordered the book.

Lophophaps, I will gain experience by doing the walk no?! Ha ha. I think I will do it late Spring so water is less likely a problem…I will probably pack some extra food as I have a habit of doing that. I just need to learn to navigate I guess. Thanks for the notes re: maps :) If I decide I'm not ready yet to attempt relying on my own navigation skills by the time it comes around, I'll delay and maybe do another long track…a trail that's a bit easier to follow.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 9:07 am

andyszollosi - I see you started your trip in Sept…how did you organise your food drops prior to the roads opening? I'm thinking about starting in mid /late October this year, prior to Cup Weekend so I may be affected by road closures like you must have been. I saw on this thread about the Licola Rd and contacting that bush group to get a food drop --- but are the other roads going to be a problem? - I see they are mostly sealed roads - will they be open then?

I will roughly follow Chapman's 'average walkers' route:

Walhalla to Rumpff Saddle - 8 days, 108km, gravel road, food drop hidden in bush near Rumpff Saddle just off Jamieson-Licola Road
Rumpff saddle to Mt Hotham - 8 days, 113km, sealed road, food drop in Hotham Ski Village or Mt Hotham post office
Mt Hotham to Omeo Highway - 6 days, 83km, all weather gravel road, food drop hidden in bush near Omeo Highway
Omeo Highway to Thredbo Village - 12 days, 141km, sealed road, food drop in Thredbo Village or Thredbo post office
(above section can be broken into two using quiet gravel forestry roads for a food drop - Buenba Creek or Stony Creek below The Cobberas are suggested sites)
Thredbo Village to Kiandra - 8 days, 124km, sealed road, food drop hidden in bush near Snowy Mountains Highway
Kiandra to Tharwa - 6 days (8 days if sidetrip to Cooleman included - recommended and changes total days to 48), 120km, sealed road, taxi to Canberra

Thanks,
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby north-north-west » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 9:28 am

The only closures likely to be an issue for your food drops are the track into the Cowombat carpark - but that's not a lot further to walk from the Limestone Road anyway - and the Jamieson-Licola Rd. Everything else will be open, although the road into Buenba is rough and could have some awkward tree falls past the Hope turnoff at that time of year.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 11:05 am

Thanks NNW :)
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Bushwalker99 » Thu 16 Apr, 2015 8:18 pm

Hi Suz,
For your long walk from Omeo highway to Thredbo you could do a food drop at Taylor's Crossing if the logistics work for you. A great camp site as well! We did the walk in November last year and had a nice time at TC. So good we had a rest day and plenty of good swimming in the river.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby madmacca » Fri 17 Apr, 2015 12:26 am

Suz wrote:Obviously I need maps…are the 1:50k sufficient or do I really need the 1:25K? (lotta maps for this trip!) Keep in mind that I do not actually even know how to read a map yet! Do you guys know if there is a group/forum for selling 2nd hand maps so I can get the whole lot cheaper? It's like $300 for the complete set new! Or is another method like GPS or smartphone apps better? I have already ordered the Chapman book.


The Chapman book actually has a 1:50K strip map of the entire route - this is fine for navigating. But you do need some broader maps showing exit routes, access, etc. Given you have the book, a set of 1:100Ks should cover it (fewer maps and cheaper).

I'm not a fan of Taylor's Crossing for food dumps. It is open and grassy all around, and very popular with flyfishers and 4WDers, so I'd be worried about the security of any cache. A better option is probably the Benambra-Corryong road.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 17 Apr, 2015 11:51 pm

Suz, you need to be able to navigate with a map and compass in a total white out/atrocious weather which can happen in Spring along the AAWT. This winter you need to get up to the mountains and build up your navigation skills in show shoes . Always allow for the difference between true north and magnetic north. The Spatial Vision maps usually advise how many degrees this adjustment needs to be made with the compass. Blind faith in a GPS is not a good idea. I'd feel more secure knowing that I am 'driving the trip' with a map and compass. Holding the map the right way up also helps too ;-P
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Sat 18 Apr, 2015 7:53 am

Hey,

Thanks everyone. Okay I will get the 1:100 maps for escape routes. Thanks for the suggestions of food drops between Omeo and Thredbo - I really wouldn't have enjoyed carrying 12 days of food :( I will learn to navigate Paidal, I swear! That's all part of the challenge. Unfortunately I was told by the physio yesterday that I shouldn't attempt this track until March next year (1 yr post op for my ACL). I realise the weather is better in March / April but water is harder to find. For those who have done the track in Autumn…exactly how hard is it to find water?

Physio says I also shouldn't do my Kungsleden trip in Sweden in August - waaaaaaaa :(
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 18 Apr, 2015 12:47 pm

madmacca wrote:The Chapman book actually has a 1:50K strip map of the entire route - this is fine for navigating. But you do need some broader maps showing exit routes, access, etc. Given you have the book, a set of 1:100Ks should cover it (fewer maps and cheaper).

I'm not a fan of Taylor's Crossing for food dumps. It is open and grassy all around, and very popular with flyfishers and 4WDers, so I'd be worried about the security of any cache. A better option is probably the Benambra-Corryong road.


Knowing escape routes is a good idea. I'd go a little further and carry large scale road maps, perhaps photocopies that can be buried after you finish that section.

Suz wrote:Thanks everyone. Okay I will get the 1:100 maps for escape routes. Thanks for the suggestions of food drops between Omeo and Thredbo - I really wouldn't have enjoyed carrying 12 days of food :( I will learn to navigate Paidal, I swear! That's all part of the challenge. Unfortunately I was told by the physio yesterday that I shouldn't attempt this track until March next year (1 yr post op for my ACL). I realise the weather is better in March / April but water is harder to find. For those who have done the track in Autumn…exactly how hard is it to find water?

Physio says I also shouldn't do my Kungsleden trip in Sweden in August - waaaaaaaa :(


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." - John Lennon. Just do the ebst you can and hope that the ACL does not get unhappy again. You now have time to learn to navigate. Start with basic compass use on tracks and progress to off tracks. The AAWT is - amazingly - a track, but having the ability to navigate off-track is good. A compass with a fixed magnetic offset is good, makes life much easier.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Sun 19 Apr, 2015 8:32 am

Ah thanks Lopohaps. Yes I do have time to learn navigation properly now - glad there's mostly track on the AAWT tho. I'll do some on and off tracking navigation training maybe around the great north walk track.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 19 Apr, 2015 3:09 pm

Suz, if you get the chance and your ACL is happy, think about a series of short walks on and near the AAWT in Kosciuszko National Park. You could carry in a week of food and have a moving base camp. There are some lovely flattish sections north of the Guthega Power Station. This would give you an idea of the terrain and what is involved in the relatively friendly parts. Also, it would mean that at least some of the route would be familiar.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Drew » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 4:11 pm

Unfortunately I was told by the physio yesterday that I shouldn't attempt this track until March next year (1 yr post op for my ACL).


Sounds like a fairly conservative physio. I've had ACL recos on both knees (soccer, not hiking injuries). 12 months or so is a reasonable timeframe for returning to competitive sport like soccer, footy, netball etc, provided you've done your rehab and ticked all the boxes. I had my second knee reconstruction in mid April 2013 and went on my first (fairly easy) overnight hike in late August 2013.

Of course every case is different and your physio might have a very good reason for being so cautious. AND, walking the whole AAWT is a different proposition to doing a 2 or 3 night walk! My knee was getting quite stiff after long descents until quite recently. Not sure that it would have coped very happily with such a big trip less than a year post-op. I think you'd want to get in quite a bit of training first to see how it copes.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby Suz » Thu 23 Apr, 2015 9:10 am

Ah thanks Drew. I can cope with waiting on the AAWT although it does kind of mess with my plans for winter 2016, it's probably not that much of a big deal. I'm sadder about her saying I shouldn't attempt 2 weeks on the Kungsleden in Sweden in August (5mths post-op). I might attempt some light-weight short sections on the Great North Walk in a month or so to see how the knee feels. It's good to know you had a good experience after your first hike out.

That is a good idea Lophophaps, I might do something like that.
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Re: AAWT advice

Postby madmacca » Mon 27 Apr, 2015 8:30 pm

Drew wrote:
Unfortunately I was told by the physio yesterday that I shouldn't attempt this track until March next year (1 yr post op for my ACL).


Sounds like a fairly conservative physio. I've had ACL recos on both knees (soccer, not hiking injuries). 12 months or so is a reasonable timeframe for returning to competitive sport like soccer, footy, netball etc, provided you've done your rehab and ticked all the boxes. I had my second knee reconstruction in mid April 2013 and went on my first (fairly easy) overnight hike in late August 2013.

Of course every case is different and your physio might have a very good reason for being so cautious. AND, walking the whole AAWT is a different proposition to doing a 2 or 3 night walk! My knee was getting quite stiff after long descents until quite recently. Not sure that it would have coped very happily with such a big trip less than a year post-op. I think you'd want to get in quite a bit of training first to see how it copes.


I agree it definitely pays to be conservative with recons and a big trip like that. Your knees cop a pounding day after day on the trail (as against soccer where you have to turn it on for 2 hours 3-4 times per week, which gives your body plenty of opportunity to recover). And if anything goes wrong, you are a long way from medical assistance.
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