A few questions on the Western Arthurs

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A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby philm » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 7:03 pm

We have booked a trip to the Western Arthurs in February and just in planning I have a few questions:

1. Should we take 10 metres of rope for pack hauling - is this required / where are the tricky sections?

2. I am a big fan of Aarn packs and have a Natural Balance and Load Limo - has anyone walked the Arthurs in these packs? Alternatively I have a One Planet McMillian or is this overkill?

3. At the camps has anyone had experiences with critters eating there way into packs / tents? Just checking? and if so what do people suggest? Hang a food bag or just put food in sealed bag in bottom of pack in tent?

I know we need to keep weight down so just after some advice from others more experienced on this route.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 7:09 pm

Difficult to answer without knowing your experience. I've been through there a few times and never needed a rope. Most don't, some do.

The rock can be a bit abrasive, I use a one planet pack so I'm probably biased in that regard.

Yes a few of the lakes have native mice that have been known to chew tents and packs. Again I have never had an issue but I know some who have. Pack your food away wisely and you shouldn't have any problems.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Azza » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 8:09 pm

1. You don't need 10 metres. 4-5m of thin cord (a few mm) should do it, but depends on your climbing ability. I didn't need it on my last trip. Although I'm fairly sure I probably dropped my pack off a few ledges or passed it down. I've done it twice and I remember bits that I thought were sketchy had alternative routes on the second trip, however I tended to end up making the same mistakes as the first trip - a bit of deja vu, hold on a second I remember this yup, I've gone the wrong way.

2. MacMillian is the pack I use. Its the perfect pack for SW Tassie. Keep all your gear inside, nothing on the outside it just gets caught on stuff. I reckon Aarn packs would be a bit of a pain with some of the scrambly sections, but doable.

3. Not had an issue in the Arthur's, but I general I make sure I have my food well packed.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Tortoise » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 9:23 pm

philm wrote:We have booked a trip to the Western Arthurs in February and just in planning I have a few questions:

1. Should we take 10 metres of rope for pack hauling - is this required / where are the tricky sections?

2. I am a big fan of Aarn packs and have a Natural Balance and Load Limo - has anyone walked the Arthurs in these packs? Alternatively I have a One Planet McMillian or is this overkill?

3. At the camps has anyone had experiences with critters eating there way into packs / tents? Just checking? and if so what do people suggest? Hang a food bag or just put food in sealed bag in bottom of pack in tent?

I know we need to keep weight down so just after some advice from others more experienced on this route.


1. I think we had 10m of rope, which was more than we needed for pack hauling. I think we used it 3 or 4 times, but we are 3 smallish middle-aged women.

2. I believe north-north-west has taken her Aarn pack through the WArthurs a time or 3.

3. Hmm. Last time, Lake Cygnus tent platforms were full. Several people (including me) got rain jacket or pack or tent chewed. (The guy with the hole in his jacket had left scroggin in the pocket, so that was predictable.)

I can't actually remember where I put my triple-bagged food, but that wasn't anywhere near the entry point. I think it might have happened because I had toothpaste in a zip lock bag inside a cuban fibre bag that I had put in the pocket of the inner for a short period of time. That's where a decent hole was chewed through the inner, even though there was only my watch and my torch in the pocket overnight. Someone hung their food in a bag from a cord between trees, which looked rather vulnerable to me. But the critters busied themselves elsewhere, on that occasion at least.

I want to look into using a something more purpose-made. There was a thread on that recently, but I can't find it just now. A ??kevlar??bag of some kind, smaller than a bear canister - but a possum (or currawong, for that matter) could probably just run off with it, if it wasn't in my pack. And if I kept it in my pack in the vestibule, or the tent, I might have the same problem of a critter chewing through. I'd be interested to hear how it goes in Tassie. I'd also be very interested in hearing from people who go there often (and camp in the official places), and have found a way to come home with all equipment intact.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby norts » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 9:48 pm

Ursack is probably what you are thinking of Tortoise. It has a strong cord that you tie to a tree. a couple of different types, one especially for rodents Ursack Minor.
I had my tent chewed at lake Cygnus by a mouse, as we were sitting out side talking.
I carried rope on all 4 trips and I think I used it at different places each time. Weather conditions were the reason we used it at different places. Going down a cliff in the dry is alot different to doing it in a downpour .
I would take at least 8mm rope, if it is wet and cold you need a slightly larger diameter to grip easily.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Tortoise » Thu 08 Nov, 2018 10:10 pm

norts wrote:Ursack is probably what you are thinking of Tortoise. It has a strong cord that you tie to a tree. a couple of different types, one especially for rodents Ursack Minor.
I had my tent chewed at lake Cygnus by a mouse, as we were sitting out side talking.
I carried rope on all 4 trips and I think I used it at different places each time. Weather conditions were the reason we used it at different places. Going down a cliff in the dry is alot different to doing it in a downpour .
I would take at least 8mm rope, if it is wet and cold you need a slightly larger diameter to grip easily.

That's the one, Norts.
Yes, I'm not sure what diameter rope we used, but you're spot on about the grip in the wet. On one haul 2 of us couldn't get enough grip to pull up the heaviest pack. So we had to unload some into my substantial bumbag and do it in 3 goes.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby north-north-west » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 9:16 am

I've taken a LoadLimo through the WArthurs twice. Couple of spots where I had to remove one or both balance pockets, but mostly not a problem. It depends what you're like at scrambling. The descent to Oberon, the cave on the way up Pegasus (although this can be bypassed), the descent of Capricorn, Tilted Chasm and the unnamed gully west of it, the descent of Taurus, the drop to Sirona and (if you do a full traverse) the descent from Centaurus Ridge are the most likely spots to need packhauling. I use a five or ten metre length of light webbing rather than rope as it's easier on the hands.

Only place I've had critter problems was when snowed in at Haven.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby philm » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 12:44 pm

Thanks everyone for the great information, its really been useful.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Mark F » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 2:10 pm

I agree with nnw on the webbing rather than cord - much easier on the hands and somewhat lighter.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Tortoise » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 2:54 pm

Mark F wrote:I agree with nnw on the webbing rather than cord - much easier on the hands and somewhat lighter.

Any particular webbing you recommend, Mark? (I realise many people's packs are heavier than yours.)
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Mark F » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 3:39 pm

I've used 19mm grosgrain tape which weighs about 10 g/m which is fine for pack hauling but not for hauling bodies. This is compared to about 16-20 g/m for 5mm climbing cord (8mm is about 40 g/m). Regular 1" webbing would be equivalent weight-wise to 5-6mm rope, much easier on the hands and strong enough for bodies. An easy source is Bunnings [url]https://www.bunnings.com.au/grunt-25mm-x-10m-poly-webbing-black_p4310851][/url] Also in red, yellow and blue to colour coordinate with ones pack or parka :D Do learn to do a tape knot, it's really easy and works well with tape but most other knots will be ok.
Last edited by Mark F on Fri 09 Nov, 2018 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Tortoise » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 3:42 pm

Mark F wrote:I've used 19mm grosgrain tape which weighs about 10 g/m which is fine for pack hauling but not for hauling bodies. This is compared to about 16-20 g/m for 5mm climbing cord (8mm is about 40 g/m). Regular 1" webbing would be equivalent weight-wise to 5-6mm rope, much easier on the hands and strong enough for bodies. An easy source is Bunnings [url]https://www.bunnings.com.au/grunt-25mm-x-10m-poly-webbing-black_p4310851][/url] Also in red, yellow and blue to colour coordinate with ones pack or parka :D

Thanks, Mark. Very helpful!
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby Mowser » Fri 09 Nov, 2018 4:53 pm

I generally carry a small length of rope on all trips i've made into the Arthurs. Have hardly ever needed it but it can be handy. 10m would be plenty. I've had animals chew holes in my tent once at Lake Oberon as some toothpaste was stored in a bag that was up against that wall of the tent so bag food etc up well and try and keep it in the centre of the tent or away from easy access points.
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Re: A few questions on the Western Arthurs

Postby tasrider » Sat 10 Nov, 2018 6:24 pm

I’ve used a load limo a couple of times in the WAs.

No problem with the front pockets. This pack is old and looks quite scuffed now. Possibly due to rock scraping etc. I also have a McMillan but prefer the Aarn for this kind of stuff.

I take a bit of rope. Prolly less than 10m. Used it a few times but probably could’ve just tossed the pack down to my mate. Yeah, I found a couple of spots where I was more interested in minimising the risk so the pack came off.

No problem with small creatures. Food always gets packed in my pack anyway. It smells too bad of me for any animal to be capable of sniffing food through it. On my last trip I shared my tent with a mate and two packs.
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