Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Planned Itinerary

I have mapped out a broad plan of our (maybe ambitious) schedule. While to the veteran ultrarunner the individual distances may seem conservative much of the terrain is mountainous and rough and we will be carrying far more gear than on the typical ultra. We hope to meet the mothership on all nights except those indicated. This will allow us to go light on most days, while still carrying emergency gear (and perhaps some added weight in Phil's pack to slow him down). The distances vary from book to book and thanks to Spoonmans generosity (access to his extensive library) I have tried to best approximate the track distances. A

1. Walhalla-Thomson Valley Rd 40km 40km
2. Thomson V Rd Jamieson-Licola Rd 52km 92km
3. Jamieson-Licola Rd – The Nobs** 37km 129km
4. The Nobs-East Riley Rd 49km 178km
5. East Riley (Buffalo) Rd-Mt Hotham 44km 222km
6. Mt Hotham-**Maddison Hut Site 42km 264km
7. Maddison Hut Site-Mitta Mitta River 42km 306km
8. Mitta Mitta-Mt Hope Rd 43km 349km
9. Mt Hope Rd-**Cowombat Flats 41km 390km
10. Cowombat Flat-Charlotte Pass 59km 449km
11. Charlotte Pass-**Tumut River 49km 498km
12. Tumut River-Kiandra 58km 556km
13. Kiandra-Blue Waterholes 51km 607km
14. Blue Waterholes-Tharwa 60km 667km

**Denotes camp out nights

6. Pick up night gear at Langford Gap (@30km)
7. Drop night gear at Omeo Hwy (@22km)
9. Night gear at Limestone Rd/Cowombat Tr Jnt(@28km)
10. Drop night gear at Dead Horse Gap (@42km)
11. Pick up night gear at Guthega Power Station (@17km)
13. Access at Port Phillip Fire Trail
14. Access at Orroral Space Station

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Task

"In many ways, it is the grandest and most difficult of all the long distance tracks in Australia. It is not the longest but with over 27,000 metres of climbing and descending it is indeed a tough walk (equivalent to more than 3 ascents and descents of Mt Everest!)

The entire route takes about 50 to 60 days to complete depending on the number of rest days. Fast walkers do the track in around 30 to 40 days. Several groups have walked it in 22 days but on several days they walked at night to reach campsites and such a short itinerary is not recommended - to walk it in 22 days requires an AVERAGE of 11.9 hours walking each day!. As this is an alpine area with variable weather, it is suggested to build in some extra days to wait out poor weather.

There are not just many tough climbs, the track crosses a number of rivers which have to waded or crossed by rough log bridges. Long sections of the track also have no markers as it passes through wilderness areas. The lack of markers in these regions is deliberate, as management of these zones dictate no formal marked tracks. The track has been planned for experienced bushwalkers to follow and is not suitable for the inexperienced. There are even some short sections without any track at all - you simply follow the ridges, at times pushing through scrub and occasionally may find markers confirming you are on the route. Tents are essential - there are only a couple of huts along the track."

John Chapman