Mark Oates has made some great backcountry films. The following is an update about his most recent winter traverse of the Australian Alps Walking Track, which he did with his brother last winter. He will be uploading a ‘snap shot’ video of each day of the trip, starting today. Check the link for a daily update of mountain goodness.
Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition planned for the 2020 winter.
It aims to cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way.
The Victorian Mountain Tramping Club is a legendary presence in the Australian outdoor community. It recently celebrated it’s 70th anniversary. Many clubs are aging, and in a refreshing move, the VMTC appointed 29-year old Susie Hale as its new president.
Earlier this year, Susie completed a 153-day solo trip on the 4,280km Pacific Crest Trail which she completed in 153 days. Other major accomplishments on her impressive walking CV include leading a VMTC group who completed the Australian Alpine Walking Track in 42 days.
There is a profile on Suzie and what inspires her, which is available here.
The Australian Alps has hundreds of fantastic trails. The iconic long distance trail is the Australian Alps Walking Track, which stretches from Walhalla, east of Melbourne, almost to Canberra. The AAWT was created in stages, starting with the Victorian Alpine Walking Track, which was developed in the 1970s as part of a larger vision of linking the Australian Alps with a three-state trail. The dream of a long distance track was only fulfilled after years of work and a lot of ‘big picture’ thinking by many people.
Now there are plans to extend the track network all the way to Melbourne and right into Canberra. There are two alternatives for the track from Melbourne, and a proposed route into Canberra, which are outlined below. This well researched proposal identifies gaps in existing tracks and a number of options for connecting up with the existing AAWT.
Long weekend in March (2 – 5 March)
Help clean up the Australian Alps Walking Track where it traverses the Baw Baw plateau. There will be a variety of work to undertake, requiring a range of skills and experience, including chainsawing, brush cutting, clearing debris, transporting equipment and fuel, clearing water bars and replacing/adding track markers.
Parks Victoria will supply all food and water, so please provide us with the days you will attend and any special dietary requirements. You will need to bring all your camping gear (tent, sleeping bag and mat etc.).
We will camp at Jeep Flat Track, a short walk from the Mt St Gwinear carpark. Remember, we will be in alpine conditions, so bring appropriate clothing.
Come for a day or stay the entire four days. To help with planning and catering please book by Thursday 16 February.
Contact: Convenor Peter Maffei, Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation, Bushwalking Victoria by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0418 149 465
The Australian Alps Walking Track, formerly called the Alpine Walking Track, stretches more than 600 kilometres through the mountains of Victoria and New South Wales.
Isabel Brown is planning to walk the track to raise awareness about the treatment of refugees in mandatory Detention in Australia.
Conservation Volunteers have two Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) projects remaining for the 2014/15 season, with some spaces left on the respective teams.
They are both base camping projects in the Victorian high country:
Bogong High Plains March 1 to 7 2015
Work involves Track definition and surfacing using rubber tiles, and creating drains.
Omeo region March 22 to 28 2015
This will involve a mix of track clearing, brushcutting, drainage installation, and track marking.
If you are interested it will be fantastic to hear from you.
To express interest, please contact Adam via email, on 03 54440777 or on 0427 507 004.
Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and Parks Victoria are embarking on their 3rd year of a joint maintenance program of the Australian Alps Walking Track from November 2014 to mid-March 2015. They are looking for fit and strong outdoor volunteers to join the program, committing 6 days to support the track maintenance activity.
Ross Grant, Parks Victoria Ranger in Charge, says the volunteers will be working in some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenic locations on a variety of projects.
This trip is from several years ago but remains an impressive effort: a traverse of the Alpine Walking Track (AWT) from near Canberra through to Walhalla in winter.
This short video gives some highlights of a trip done in 2005 by two brothers, Andrew and Mark Oates. The main ranges images are lovely, but it’s the earlier stages of slogging through the wet plains of the northern Snowies and fording flooded rivers that is perhaps the most impressive.
They say of their trip:
Our first seven days involved walking and carrying our skis, with pack weights around 35 kg. We first put on our skis just after Kiandra and apart from one or two days of pure walking we were able to ski most of the way from there to Hotham. A 60 cm dump of light dry snow near Thredbo helped keep us on our skis but it also made the first few days afterwards extremely challenging. Even with the fattest touring skis available we were still sinking at times thigh deep in snow with our skis on.
After crossing the three highest peaks in the ACT, NSW and Victoria we reached Hotham after four weeks. Unfortunately though the snow did not last – our fifth week out, from Hotham to Howitt saw us experiencing a week of solid rain and strong winds. This resulted in much of the existing snow along the remainder of our route melting away before our eyes.
The AWT remains the quintessential trail through the Australian Alps, and at 680 km in length remains a committing project with complex logistics, because of the need for multiple food drops along the route. You can find some extra info on the track here.