Water on the AAWT

A forum for discussing the Australian Alps Walking Track. This is a 655 km long track from Walhalla (Vic) to Tharwa (ACT)

Water on the AAWT

Postby sara1h » Mon 29 Oct, 2018 8:55 pm

Hi all,

I'm planning a southbound, full length AAWT walk starting at the end of this November. I'll be doing my food drops this weekend, and was hoping to get some up-to-date information about water availability this year along the track. Given that it's been a pretty low rainfall winter, is anyone able to recommend places where I might need water drops?

FYI, I've planned a slow walk of around 47 days, averaging 14km per day with 5 rest/zero days. My food drops will be placed at Thompson River, Rumpff Saddle, Selwyn Creek Rd, Hotham, Sunnyside, Buenba Hut, Thredbo, and Kiandra.

Any general tips also welcome.

Thanks!
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby crollsurf » Mon 29 Oct, 2018 9:36 pm

From Tharwa to the Vic border, water wont be a problem that time of year. You probably already got this book but just in case
http://www.john.chapman.name/pub-aawt.html

Enjoy
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Mark F » Tue 30 Oct, 2018 12:43 pm

Always worth putting a 1.5 litre bottle in with each drop. I use cheap supermarket water so there are no surprises about things growing in it. A couple of bottles at Rumpff Saddle will save having to walk to the creek further along the road if camping there. Also include water at Sunnyside unless you plan to walk to the camping site mentioned in Chapman - no water from Gill Creek until the hut on Mt Wills.

Do consider walking your Kiandra drop in from the Selwyn resort to the track. It takes about an hour (return) and saves lugging it up the hill. It is then nicely placed only a couple of km from 4 mile hut.

You may want to check access to Selwyn Creek Road - they don't always open for the Cup long weekend.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby DavidB » Wed 31 Oct, 2018 7:11 am

I'd be looking at dropping some water in at Fiddlers Green or over towards Mt Victor. It will be a big climb up from the Black River and there won't be any reliable water till you get down to the bottom of Victor Spur (Red Jacket).
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 31 Oct, 2018 7:33 pm

Doubtful Creek, Valentine Creek and the Geehi River could be high with snow melt. If you cannot get over the Doubtful, one option is to go north on the true right bank and cross somewhere near Cesjacks. Consider going from Schlink Pass to Dicky Cooper Bogong, and then across the Rolling Ground. From Schlink pass go left and then curve right, avoiding the rocks. At Consett Stephen pass keep going west until you are on the summit ridge, then turn southish to get to Tate. There may still be snow drifts on the higher KNP peaks.

Instead of Sunnyside, consider Glen Willis Retreat, about 40 minutes south on the main road from the Gill Creek track. See http://www.glenwills.com/

Viking Saddle water may be a fair way down. Water between Low Saddle and Chesters Yard may be a challenge. After the late snow the higher water sources should be running.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Drummo62 » Thu 01 Nov, 2018 10:22 am

DavidB wrote:I'd be looking at dropping some water in at Fiddlers Green or over towards Mt Victor. It will be a big climb up from the Black River and there won't be any reliable water till you get down to the bottom of Victor Spur (Red Jacket).


There is a cabin on Short Spur Track just near Fiddlers Green with an outside water tank.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby bigkev » Mon 05 Nov, 2018 7:27 pm

Hi Sara,

It was great to meet you and your dad this morning up at Hotham.

The snow seems to be disappearing a little quicker this year (sample size of one, on the Bogong High Plains :wink: ) so by the end of November you should be OK, even on the Main Range. The rivers up in NSW caused me a few issues last year but they had come up from rain so there isn't much you can do about that really, just err on the side of caution.

It'll be pretty dry from Hotham all the way to Rumpff Saddle most likely, as I'm sure you know! The tank west of The Twins is on the crest of the ridge so if you are walking Twins Track and not the exact route of the AAWT then you need to climb twenty metres up onto the crest to find the tank. The tank at Barry Saddle is a little decrepit and has some swimmers in it but it's still pretty welcome. You should get water at Viking Saddle but as has already been mentioned you might have to drop down a fair way, I went north east of the saddle last year but also found water south west at other times.

I'm guessing that it'll be after Christmas when you hit the Razor Viking area, if the weather is warm when you are going through consider starting at first light, have an extended break in the middle of the day and then walk into the early evening. It's rough and slow through here and the lack of surface water makes it even harder. I did Catherine Saddle to Barry Saddle in around 10 hours but I've walked parts of the AAWT through here a few times before (I had sleet rather than heat) If you are feeling strong your best option might be to walk from Barry Saddle to Camp Creek in a looong day, it would be a very hard day though (Camp Creek should have water at Christmas).

Have you considered a food drop and Water drop at Low Saddle instead of Rumpff? Once you leave Chesters Yard water will probably be hard to come by until the creek on Middle Ridge Road south of Rumpff Saddle, it's around but you'll probably have to search a bit and not be too fussy about quality.

Last year when I went through the top of Mt Shillinglaw was pretty indistinct, no worries for me heading north towards the Jamieson Road but harder for you trying to pick the right spur to drop you down to Black River. If you find yourself dropping below the 1150 metre contour with no signs of the old 4wd track then stop and re assess. Once you find it it's easy to follow all the way down to Black River. If you don't want to go looking for Drummo's cabin on Short Spur Track then you'll have to lug a couple of day's water out of Black River to get you down to the Jordan River. From there on everything will be easy 8)

Good luck with the walk...it'll be awesome.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 06 Nov, 2018 8:55 am

Sara, I hope that your food drop trip was satisfactory.

A clarification. If coming up from the road to the campsite west of The Twins you have to go maybe 100 metres east on the ridge to the tank. It will be dry as Kevin has said. However, in the middle of green season the tanks should be viable and high water sources should be running. The problem is that you will not know if there's water at a campsite until you reach it, so water needs to be carried to cater for a dry tank or a dry creek. Camp Creek on Mount Speculation will most probably be running. I'd carry water from the creek to the shoulder campsite, and if you have the energy, to the summit of Speculation, brilliant views. Camp Creek runs fairly well at the road, and less so about halfway up to the shoulder campsite.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby sara1h » Mon 19 Nov, 2018 5:51 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for your help with this, it's great to have this forum to be able borrow your expertise!

The food drops went well and I have added extra water wherever possible, following advice in this thread. I'm now in the process of collating all other tips and recommendations from this forum, Karen Cody's website, and Kevin's awesome blog (thanks :D ) into the Chapman book (it's looking pretty hectic already with notes everywhere!), so that I can keep everything in one place on the walk.

I have one more question that you may be able to help with. What kind of systems have people used to be notified of any bushfire (or other severe weather) warnings while on the track with minimal communications? I've thought about sat phone and/or small battery-operated radio, and of course will check weather on the phone whenever possible, but it looks like there's quite a few places where I won't have a decent signal for a few days in a row. I will have both a Telstra and Optus SIM while on track to maximise coverage where possible.

Cheers,
Sarah
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 19 Nov, 2018 6:41 pm

Sarah, the forecasts are all well and good but news lags reality by anything from 30 minutes to a few hours. You are on the ground and must assess the likelihood of fire, aided by whatever information you can glean. If you can get line of sight to a tower then you should get a signal. There was a party on Howitt Spur and got a signal from Mount Buller, easy. On the other side of the mountain there was a signal from Mount Hotham, some 70 kilometres away from memory. There was a signal on Bulls Peaks, 30-40 kilometres to the valley to the east. Somewhere near there - possibly Jagungal - there was a signal from the Khancoban-Corryong region.

Devise plans for fires. For example, in Stony Creek there's a few stone shelters, a little protection. Further north the creek get big enough to jump in. Is there time to ascend Johnnies Top? This is a committing climb, no shelter for several hours. Approaching Mount Wills Hut there's rocks. Razor-Viking is also committing. Descending McDonald there's rocks. Go through the route and have a number of options.

If things get really crook then a PLB may be of limited assistance. Roads may be cut and helicopters cannot fly in the very strong hot winds that fires often have.

The walk is viable, but needs care and planning.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby peregrinator » Mon 19 Nov, 2018 8:28 pm

sara1h wrote: . . .

I have one more question that you may be able to help with. What kind of systems have people used to be notified of any bushfire (or other severe weather) warnings while on the track with minimal communications? I've thought about sat phone and/or small battery-operated radio . . .

Cheers,
Sarah


In my experience, a radio is very useful. Depending on your location, reception in remote areas during daytime may not be the greatest, but AM signals at night transmit extremely well. ABC Local radio stations will give you weather reports (via the BoM) at designated times (you can contact the ABC to ask about those, or if that fails, PM me) and they will certainly have current information about any threats from bushfires.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Xplora » Tue 20 Nov, 2018 5:48 am

SMS signal may be possible even if a call cannot get through. Your home team can monitor weather and fires and I am sure you will be sending some regular messages back to home with your location. Be more vigilant after thunderstorms. Those I know who are involved directly in the fire monitoring and work with the fire aircraft are not concerned about the fire risk as yet. I would be more concerned if you were starting in another month.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 21 Nov, 2018 9:24 pm

A pump up water filter can turn a trickle of water that is insufficient to fill a container into a more than adequate water source. The Katadyn Hiker pro. is the one to keep handy.

There should be water at McAlister Springs and at Camp Creek near Mt. Spec. . The water at Hellfire creek near Mt. Magdala often dries up after Xmas. There is water one KM west, down off the Cross Cut saw on Stanley name Spur. It is in a gully some 100 M. north of the crest of the spur where an obvious campsite is. The descent is rather rocky and steep.
There is a spring that crosses the Twins road near the Twins. It has some very cool and clean water. Stock up there for sure and drink it up too , on the spot. I didn't filter it , it was fine and this was in Jan. 2018.
There is no water along Long Spur heading for Mt. Bogong. There is good water usually flowing at a stream at the T spur junction .
That is a good camp site.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Thu 22 Nov, 2018 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby north-north-west » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 7:04 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:There is good water usually flowing at stream at the T spur junction .
That is a good camp site.

That's Maddisons. Have people stopped building massive campfires there?
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby peregrinator » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 11:15 am

Well, the pioneering pyromaniacs keep building them everywhere else, so why not there too?
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 22 Nov, 2018 1:08 pm

For as long as I can recall here's always been water at the top of T Spur. If this is dry, go 10-15 minutes to Camp Valley and Camp Creek is certain, bigger catchment. The Maddisons campsite is big enough for about eight tents. This is the campsite looking westish, creek and T Spur on the left, Camp Valley ahead.
Top T Spur camp.jpg


NNW's reference to massive campfires may be about the person who burned Bivouac, Summit and Maddisons Huts on one weekend in, from memory, 1976. This was no great loss. Bivouac was in a poor state, complete with a cycle-type generator like that used in the outback ages ago for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Summit Hut had caused three deaths. Maddisons Hut was known as Aertex, after the long underwear.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby dashandsaph » Mon 26 Nov, 2018 4:13 pm

From the open saddle about 1k north of King Billy No1, there was good water in the creek to the east, down 2-300m (distance not height) in open forest. Also a beautiful campsite if the weather is reasonable - a little exposed for really poor weather. This was in May this year, but there was a good flow and looked likely to be year round.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 23 Dec, 2018 6:52 pm

18.12.18. Camp Creek near Mt. Speculation was gushing with water.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Mr Bean » Thu 27 Dec, 2018 8:03 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:18.12.18. Camp Creek near Mt. Speculation was gushing with water.


Hi PCV, did you get a chance to check the water at Hellfire Creek? Just wondering what the flow is like.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 01 Jan, 2019 9:47 am

Hi. Hellfire Creek is flowing as a trickle .We were camping at that site this week , on 29/12/18. It is enough to fill a container. It has rained quite a bit up there yesterday and I have just returned from a 4 day trek in the area. I would take a pump up water filter just case you find the trickle is miniscule in its flow. The water in Hellfire Creek should be flowing for another week or so but after that I would not bank on it.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Mr Bean » Tue 01 Jan, 2019 3:31 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Hi. Hellfire Creek is flowing as a trickle .We were camping at that site this week , on 29/12/18. It is enough to fill a container. It has rained quite a bit up there yesterday and I have just returned from a 4 day trek in the area. I would take a pump up water filter just case you find the trickle is miniscule in its flow. The water in Hellfire Creek should be flowing for another week or so but after that I would not bank on it.


Thanks PCV. We are heading up that way shortly.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 01 Jan, 2019 10:45 pm

We went and scouted out the water that is mentioned by the other poster just NE of the the King Billy No.1 area. There is a good campsite down there and the footpad is marked by Timbertop school groups with markers hanging from trees. The water was barely there and a few dry windy super hot days and it will be gone. It is down the Eastern slope .
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 10 Jan, 2019 6:11 pm

Date 27th Dec. - Dec. 31st 2018
There is water , a trickle , enough to fill a bottle, in Hellfire creek. I was up there this week[29.12.18]. We camped up at that saddle.
The recent extra rain will keep it going for another week or so .There is water in the headwaters of Clear Creek on the upper Mt. Clear Spur track. It is flowing well. Finding the track to the water is a matter of locating an old south facing bench cut track that must have been used for logging 30 + years ago. It is a 10 minute scrub bash through regrowth , saplings and fallen logs, flowering shrubs etc. to locate and retrieve the water. This is the most reliable water for the Mt. Clear area.
The water flowing across the track near Chester's Yard was flowing well. There is also a spring flowing about 500 M. before the gate on the Mt. Clear 4WD track where it terminates near the King Billy No. 2 trail head for AAWT walkers.
We looked for water on the eastern side of King Billy 1 saddle just before the AAWT junction veers off towards Mt. Magdala. There was a miniscule trickle in the bushy scrub in a gully full of lush growth suggesting a soak.
A few very hot days soon and it will be gone but it does have a nice campsite nearby. Timbertop School seemed to have marked the clear foot pad down this way with a thingy or two hanging from a tree branch.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby sara1h » Sat 12 Jan, 2019 6:25 am

Hi all,

I told a few people I met along the track that I'd post here to let them know if and when I made it to the end - I'm pleased to say that I walked into Walhalla yesterday! It took me 45 days, including 5 days off (some rest, some bad weather). Had a fantastic time on the track, found it pretty tough given how unfit I was at the beginning but managed to keep slowly plodding along each day. Well, full disclosure - I almost quit after some very hot weather and not carrying enough water over the Viking and Crosscut Saw, but am very glad I didn't.

Thanks to everyone that shared advice here and along the track, I met so many really wonderful people and have been impressed by the wonderful AAWT community. :D
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby bigkev » Sat 12 Jan, 2019 1:52 pm

Well done Sara, that's a great achievement, one that most people can't even begin to comprehend.

Give it a couple of days of 'home time' for it all to sink in.

If you are like me you are probably already planning your next long walk;)
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Lophophaps » Sat 12 Jan, 2019 6:15 pm

Sarah, as Kev said, well done. The AAWT is one of the longer, wilder harder walks in Australia, and to complete this is a great achievement, especially in one trip.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby DavidB » Sat 12 Jan, 2019 6:18 pm

Yes well done Sarah. And all the best with whatever you decide to do next walking and career wise.
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby Mr Bean » Sun 13 Jan, 2019 2:08 pm

Hi Sarah,
Well done. I think we met at Low Saddle on that wonderful walk down/up to Clear Creek :)
Glad you made it all the way. An impressive effort.
Cheers,
Nick and Carolyn
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby sara1h » Mon 14 Jan, 2019 2:56 pm

Thanks everyone :)

Nick and Carolyn - hope you're going well if you're still out there! Or had a great time if you've already made it to Hotham.

Cheers,
Sarah
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Re: Water on the AAWT

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 16 Jan, 2019 1:40 pm

Well done. I have walked sections of the AAWT but not the whole thing. OMG!
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