Saturday, December 26, 2009

The task revisited

With only 3 days left before we actually hit the trail, I thought I would reprint the quote from John Chapman that summarises the AAWT that Phil posted here last January. Chapman wrote the original guidebook and co-authored the latest update so knows the trail intimately. His words paint a picture of what we can expect:

"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

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