Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

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

Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby jobell » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 1:32 pm

Hello all,

I can see that there's a few forum members who have fairly recently completed walks on the AAWT as well as quite a few aspiring walkers like myself. I'm starting a south to north walk on the track mid November, as part of a party of two. I've gleaned lots of useful information from reading other threads, but there's a few questions I have still unanswered so I thought perhaps i would start my own thread to address those.

Today's question is in relation to gaiters. I've done most of my walking in long pants and thus have avoided the need for gaiters previously beyond a short pair of dirty girl gaiters under the pants to keep sand and small debris out of my trail runners. I note that many of the photos of people on the AAWT feature either short or, more frequently, long heavy duty style gaiters. Can someone advise if my long pant combo is going to be sufficient for this walk or should I consider going over to the tougher gaiters, in which case would short ones do the trick with my pants or would long ones be preferable?

I'll have a few more questions as the date gets closer. Lots of preparation to do in meanwhile, including slogging up and down every hill I can find to strengthen my legs....

Thanks,

Joanne
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby north-north-west » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:10 pm

Unless you intend to do a fair bit of the optional off-track extras, the shorter, more basic gaiters along with long pants should suffice, although the pants will suffer in those sections that are less well maintained.

But, technically - and please excuse my pedantry - AAWT posts really belong in the Victorian section. It was a Victorian initiative and the Victorian section is still the only bit that is taken seriously by the authorities. :wink:
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:10 pm

Not AAWT specific but long gaiters offers protection to your lower legs whenever the going gets rough and when there are fanged wrigglers around. Long pants and long gaiters aren't equivalent.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby jobell » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:19 pm

I walk with hiking poles which seem to help to clear the fanged wigglers from my path, not sure if its the vibrations that they create or what. The only time I put my foot down near one I didn't have them with me as I was doing trail maintenance and had my hands full. I think the poor snake was as surprised as I was. :D The only thing with most of my walks is that I usually can see where I'm putting my feet as I like my trails. I suspect from what I've read that this isn't much the case with the AAWT? In which case, yes, perhaps I need extra protection from the beasties too!

It's sounding like I need to at least consider short traditional gaiters... particularly for Victoria. I'm getting the feeling it's especially prickly down there! :wink:
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Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:25 pm

Is there a reason you are reluctant on a pair of long gaiters? Weight? Comfort? Excessive purchase? The feeling of able to kick through brush and branches without damage to the more fragile pants is nice, let alone the ability to keep things dry through small creeks and mud patches.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby jobell » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:34 pm

Weight, comfort... having my legs enclosed in less breathable conditions. I have previously had experiences with a not-so-lovely rash and swelling if my legs overheat, starting from my ankles up.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby north-north-west » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:06 pm

jobell wrote: The only thing with most of my walks is that I usually can see where I'm putting my feet as I like my trails. I suspect from what I've read that this isn't much the case with the AAWT?

It varies. Not so much an issue in dubberland or the ACT, because you're mostly on firetrails, but the Victorian sections have a lot of narrow walking tracks, and the maintenance schedules mean that approximately one third will be sufficiently overgrown to be a nuisance at any given time.

I hardly ever walk without proper gaiters, partly to keep the laces done up and partly to protect against mud/water/snow/scrub/grass seeds/etc, but loose long pants and short, light gaiters should work provided you're careful. Would slow you down a bit at times, but that's all. It's really your decision about which way the compromise goes.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:13 pm

The latest models from Outdoor Research/S2S are really quite excellent. With Gortex or eVent membranes in place, you'll likely find them a lot more comfortable than those canvas and non-breathable gaiters. Of course, won't be as comfortable as having nothing there, but there's always a bit of trade-off. Perhaps you can borrow a pair from someone and try them out. If it's overheating, you can experiment with different clothing arrangements eg. Long sock with shorts or tights with shorts than long pants. Just different ways to regulate the temperature and sweat wicking characteristics underneath the gaiter.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby jobell » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:18 pm

I'll have a look at those models, thank you, sounds interesting. Worth a try. Might try borrowing a pair for a training walk and see how that goes, just have to find a friend with gaiters. Oh wait, that's what facebook is for :0)
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:33 pm

Having gone through that exercise for my wife, I can say that S2S's smallest size was still too big for my wife while OR has women's dedicated sizing for gaiters. If you are on the petite side, then just look into OR's Crocodile gaiters. Good luck with your FB call up!
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GBW » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:55 pm

+1 on gaiters. I have S2S Events or whatever they're called and dont leave home without them. Even though the odds of actually stepping on one are pretty low, you will see a few snakes along the way and find yourself in waist high long grass or off track in scrub so for safety and peace of mind I'd wear them.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby walkon » Sun 23 Aug, 2015 7:24 pm

hi Joanne
I'm a gaiter wearer, I wear shorts all the time and since I go off track a bit my legs get ripped up. I thought there were not many spots 'on' track that I thought you needed to wear gaiters and if you had long pants that you would be right. This comment coming from someone who wore gaiters so its a bit like a 4wd owner saying the road wasn't too rough for normal cars... I went off track as much as possible and did as many side trips that I could on my aawt walk so the gaiters came in more than handy. Also in big weather I like the feel of the gaiters on my legs.
Last pair of little gaiters that I tried lasted a full day before being ripped to shreds so I just go with the heavy ones now. If its hot I have the Velcro as loose as possible and don't find them bad at all though compared to you I have bare legs under them. Your call on the gaiters, its what makes you comfortable when you walk.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Mon 24 Aug, 2015 1:02 pm

north-north-west wrote: But, technically - and please excuse my pedantry - AAWT posts really belong in the Victorian section. It was a Victorian initiative and the Victorian section is still the only bit that is taken seriously by the authorities. :wink:


Haha yes that's true.
OT a bit, but I have wondered before about whether, being a multi-state/territory walk, it might be useful to have a separate forum for AAWT posts (maybe under Local Track)? Just a thought... might be overkill.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby peregrinator » Mon 24 Aug, 2015 1:41 pm

Yes, if it was a choice between NSW or Victoria, then north-north-wast is on the money. But no doubt some members won't be aware of the history of the AAWT or the manner in which the authorities (whoever they might be) treat it. In any case, a new forum does seem very appropriate to me. (Although do we then need new forums for other cross-border trips that have been mentioned here like the Simpson Desert and Croajingalong-Nadgee?)

Of course if I wanted to be pedantic, I'd say this topic should actually be on the Equipment forum (with an explanation of where said equipment is planned to be used).
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 25 Aug, 2015 12:05 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:
north-north-west wrote: But, technically - and please excuse my pedantry - AAWT posts really belong in the Victorian section. It was a Victorian initiative and the Victorian section is still the only bit that is taken seriously by the authorities. :wink:


Haha yes that's true.
OT a bit, but I have wondered before about whether, being a multi-state/territory walk, it might be useful to have a separate forum for AAWT posts (maybe under Local Track)? Just a thought... might be overkill.


Of course Victorians came up with the idea. We are both clever and modest. People that have lived here and have now - alas - moved away are also included as honourary Victorians. A section devoted to the AWT, sorry, AAWT, in the Victorian section is an excellent idea. If there's room for a Six foot track (barely three paces) in NSW then Victoria should have an AAWT. Seriously, there's a lot of dispersed AAWT posts with information and reports that would usefully be in one heading.

Oh yes, gaiters. Something that keeps out bities and scrub is essential. A light material suitable for the OP's legs is indicated. I always wear long gaiters. Not to formal dinners, but that's my problem.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GBW » Tue 25 Aug, 2015 1:07 pm

Who are these 'Authorities' of whom you speak NNW? Do you mean the guys with a handful of yellow triangles, a bag of nails and a hammer?
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby north-north-west » Tue 25 Aug, 2015 2:59 pm

GBW wrote:Who are these 'Authorities' of whom you speak NNW? Do you mean the guys with a handful of yellow triangles, a bag of nails and a hammer?

Various and assorted Parks Departments and the like. For a long time it was the AWT and ended at Cowombat Flat, because them there toffee-nosed sods north of the border didn't want to know about it. It was only when the Australian Alps Management Authority (or whatever they call themselves) was created (by Hawkie, I think), that they were forced to join in. And I do mean forced. Mostly what they did was designate a bunch of interconnected firetrails and roads as the route and try to bugger up the signage as much as possible.

I'd tell you what I think of them but that much bad language would probably get me permanently banned.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby FootTrack » Wed 26 Aug, 2015 12:42 am

GPSGuided wrote:The latest models from Outdoor Research/S2S are really quite excellent.

I'm not sure what other people's experiences have been, but I wasn't impressed with the quality of the S2S gaiters. I've bought several pairs for myself and other family members over the last couple of years and they haven't stood up to the task like they should have.

After very few days of use (and only a handful of genuinely rough days) they are starting to fall apart; something you don't expect from such an expensive purchase (mine were around $100 from memory). The stitching down the bottom has been abraded away on all of ours (possibly a design inadequacy) and the elastic cord at the top has come loose from it's internal attachment on both of my gaiters too. Fixable of course, but that's not the point.

Maybe the Outdoor Research ones are different...
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby scoha » Wed 26 Aug, 2015 8:09 pm

Hi Jobell - I am locked and loaded for mid Nov kick off in Tharwa so I guess I'll see you at Morass Creek heading north! Happy to share my thoughts to date if it helps - have been planning for quite a while and of course there is an impressive spreadsheet to accompany! Enjoy the preparation - the anticipation is part of the joy.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby Tortoise » Wed 26 Aug, 2015 8:33 pm

I'd use my S2S Feathertop gaiters for the AAWT as lighter options, and leave my Quagmires at home. The Feathertops are more comfy, but don't cope well off-track.

Trying to remember where we encountered those slithery critters. Buenba Creek area: lots of water & long grass . Snake was swimming, almost collided with my friend. Mt Misery fire trail - a couple hiding in shadows on the track. Jagungal - almost trodden on by another friend on the way down to O'Keefe's hut from the summit. 2 or 3 on the frost plains in the north. Nearly trod on 2 near Schlink Hilton during a hay fever attack. I'm more comfy having a bit more protection on my legs. :)

Btw I miss the baggy pants AWT signs. :(
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 26 Aug, 2015 11:04 pm

Tortoise wrote:Jagungal - almost trodden on by another friend on the way down to O'Keefe's hut from the summit. 2 or 3 on the frost plains in the north. Nearly trod on 2 near Schlink Hilton during a hay fever attack. I'm more comfy having a bit more protection on my legs. :)

Btw I miss the baggy pants AWT signs. :(


I saw a snake about a metre long on the plateau about 200 metres east of the Jagungal summit rocks. I have boots, socks, long pants and gaiters - which should stop a snake. It's not on the AAWT but I came too close to a snake while climbing a very steep track. I pulled up on a ledge and the mongrel was just in front of my face. Using the all-descriptive word "Copulation!" I let go to fall at 9.8 metres/second/second to a soft landing below. This involved the bloke underneath me, and he was not happy.

I miss the AWT markers. Perhaps the baggy pants could be incorporated in new signs. Here's an old one, maybe 40 years of weathering. Or did PV keep using the old markers until they were used up?
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby GBW » Wed 26 Aug, 2015 11:56 pm

I'm with you Tortoise...bring back the baggy dacks...
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 27 Aug, 2015 7:05 am

That track looks like it's slightly hard to follow. I note with interest that the tree with the AWT marker has provision for a private message. Fascinating.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby north-north-west » Sun 30 Aug, 2015 8:32 am

Tortoise wrote:Btw I miss the baggy pants AWT signs. :(

Best walking track logo ever.
I have a few that I found out in the middle of various nowheres, that had either been discarded or had come off fallen trees. My favourite walking souvenirs (apart from the photos).
Some of the old ones in burnt areas still show a faint image even though all the coating is gone. Tough old things.
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Re: Advice for upcoming AAWT walk

Postby RVG » Sun 27 Sep, 2015 5:29 pm

Generally speaking long trousers are fine and there is very little of the track that needs anything else. Leave them out, save the weight, and if anyone says they are really essential then put them in the kit for that section only.

In terms of the route. There is a variation through Kosciuszko National Park which is well worth doing. Instead of going on a long road bash along the Grey Mare Fire Trail, use the alternative.

That is, between Schlink Pass and Crooks Racecourse, go by way of Cesjacks Hut, the old Bulls Peaks Fire Trail and along the Dividing Range to Mt Gungartan.

It is more interesting, a good deal shorter and was the route taken by all the record setters. Check Klaus Hueneke's Kiandra to Kosciusko for details. It's also covered in detail in a new book coming out before Xmas, firstly as an ebook called "Exploring the Jagungal Wilderness" and then in print version.

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