Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

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Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby stevage » Mon 01 Oct, 2018 4:52 pm

Did the traditional Crinoline/Mt Tamboritha loop walk this weekend with a friend - it was great!

A few specific notes:

- The Crinoline Track was very solid and easy to follow for maybe the first half, then had some odd sections where trail markers (tape on tree branches) and some switchbacks had been established, but it looked like not many people had walked them. Very strange to be walking on virgin grass and moss, yet being sure you're on the intended trail. The switchbacks are also pretty variable in that section, sometimes almost flat, sometimes super steep.
- There are cairns along and down the top of the Crinoline, yet we still struggled to find the path down (for future readers: you have to do a hard right angle along a cliff face then down some slippery gravel).
- As we were concerned about water, we headed straight for the Long Hill creek, which was flowing well. Didn't see any evidence of a trail that supposedly ran parallel to the creek. By sheer luck, we happened upon a campsite located well within the woods here. There was a tape trail and semi-visible path connecting it back to the main (western) trail, but although we looked pretty hard, couldn't see any trail extending beyond the campsite. A bit odd. But a great place to camp on a windy night! (Our night was very still, with a bit of rain and some hail/snow). We found two water bottles, bringing our total capacity to 12.5L, which we filled (!)
- The trail north was pretty well marked with cairns and tree branches, fairly slow going hopping from rock to rock though.
- Around the point the trail turns northeast then east, we lost it completely. Resorted to bushbashing through relatively open countryside.
- It then becomes much more definite following a ridge - really fun walking, and much quicker from around the time you pass the rock shelter.
- Very small patches of snow from around 1300m, approximately where the 4wd track begins.
- The trail up Mt Tamboritha was really clear, a well worn groove.
- We camped 1km short of the summit, pretty good flat spots. It started dumping snow just as we had the tent up. We didn't try searching for water, but would have been ok with the snow on the ground. A beautifully clear, still night after that, with amazing views of the Milky Way. Gorgeous blue skies and no wind the next day, too.
- The trail gradually peters out past Little Tamboritha. Lots of knee night prickly bush. With care we were able to follow the entire trail of pink tape, although given some of it had been attached to very tiny branches, it may not last long. In many places, there was no evidence of any actual trail at all - it felt almost like we were the first people to follow the markers.
- The final descent down the steep spur was pretty easy going, looked like fairly recent trackwork (a few months maybe) clearing vegetation. In fact, the whole hike was fairly easy going on the vegetation front, other than the bit where we couldn't find trail on Long Hill, and fetching water. There were a few places where big branches have fallen across the trail, but they weren't huge dramas.

We did lots of little bits of track work, breaking dead wood that had fallen across the trail to make it clearer, sometimes using branches to mark the sides of the trail, especially where we had had trouble finding it.

Compared to the difficulties other people have written about, overall I found following the trail pretty manageable with a bit of experience. I used the GPS occasionally when I was in doubt.

I've updated OpenStreetMap to add some campsites, mark the 4WD trail. I've also realigned the section beyond Mt Tamboritha, which is now very accurate, as we were very careful to follow the markers and backtrack if we lost the path. Sadly my GPS didn't record at all on the first day.

We met 4 deer hunters, in two parties. One party mentioned a spring which is supposedly 100m off the saddle between the Crinoline and Long Hill, but his description was a bit too vague to search for.

Pretty great hike, really. The terrain was surprisingly varied, and had lots of different kinds of challenges, from scrambling over the Crinoline, to rock-hopping along Long Hill, to fast ridge walking, then striding through open country over Mt Tamboritha. If there was a reliable source of water near the base of Mt Tamboritha, and a more well defined track the whole way around Long Hill, it'd be a really perfect 3 day hike.
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby north-north-west » Mon 01 Oct, 2018 5:12 pm

stevage wrote:We did lots of little bits of track work, breaking dead wood that had fallen across the trail to make it clearer, sometimes using branches to mark the sides of the trail, especially where we had had trouble finding it.

Thank you. Wish more people would do this sort of thing. If everyone tidied up a little, broke back a bit of overgrowing vegetation and the like, our walking tracks would be in much better condition and require less formal maintenance.
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby stevage » Tue 02 Oct, 2018 10:08 am

Yeah, and a lot of it is so easy, you barely break stride.

We also added a couple of cairns in sections where we got confused. (Again, it takes like a minute to build a cairn in rocky areas...)

Any idea who did the tape marking?
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby north-north-west » Tue 02 Oct, 2018 10:26 am

Volunteer work, I think. Xplora was either involved in it or knows the group who did it.
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby davidn3875 » Tue 02 Oct, 2018 4:05 pm

The Crinoline is one of my favourite walks in Victoria and it takes a degree of navigational concentration in some spots. Well done to your party for breaking back some overhanging brush. As NNW says it keeps tracks open. As to the ubiquitous pink tape - that I have reservations about, although I was guilty of placing some when I was teaching young people o/door ed.
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby scroggin » Tue 02 Oct, 2018 5:48 pm

Did a similar walk about this time last year and I agree that it would be great 3 day trek if there was a reliable water source near Mt Tamboritha. The only readily accessible water source up that way would be Shaws Creek in the Bennison Plains it's a few KM out of your way and you would want to treat it before drinking. Even so I went searching on Google Earth and there is an old track that is still visible that heads straight up the western flanks of Mt Tamboritha coming from Long Hill which looks to cut across a gully that feeds the headwaters of Breakfast Creek but I wouldn't like your chances. What is interesting is a clearing about 200 x 50m only 100 or so meters off the track from Long Hill, potentially a nice camp site with potential water a few hundred meters further on in a gully, would make the second day very short though.
Will be sure to check it out soon I hope.
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Re: Crinoline (Mt Ligar) / Tamboritha loop report

Postby CaptainC » Thu 11 Oct, 2018 8:56 pm

A group from Bushwalking Victoria, with support from Parks, did track clearing earlier this year. It was meant to be Australia Day weekend but was changed to 14 - 18 Feb.
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