Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

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Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 9:03 am

Hello guys,

I have read extensively info about the hike and got several questions:

1. A hiker took a Tarptent Notch but no poles were listed in the "geargram" log:

https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=4015

I was wondering how the managed to keep the tent upright! :?

Are there any other tarptent models close to that weight (800g) that don't require trekking poles?

2. No tent. Yay or nay? I'm heading to the trail early Sept. this year.

Maybe bugs and crawling critters are still quiet after winter since it's only the start of spring. The risk of raining during the night would warrant using a tent. Also read stay away from the official shelters due to mice being as smart as monkeys abs knowing all the tricks of the trade to steal your food plus they can be noisy at night due to searching for food in those areas.
Pesky rodents! :lol:

3. Food drops. Yay or nay? What would you recommend me. I also read online people tend to overpack with food so maybe is best having the food sorted out in drop zones hence you won't be carrying food weight. Downside: cost factor.

That's pretty much it.

Thanks a lot for your replies :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 11:30 am

Early September means you will get quite warm days. We commenced on 31 July a couple of years ago; after a week or so it was well over 30C and not going down again. The nights were still quite chilly early on, we had one or two zero nights.

The shelters have a large rodent-proof cupboard so even if you’re not sleeping in the shelter, it’s prudent to stash your gear in there. We only encountered mice at Jay Creek, not many although the shelter platforms & table were a bit mousey and smelly. Obviously their numbers fluctuate.

Food drops – worthwhile, you can even put in some treats which is a nice touch. What sort of cost are you looking at? It might be cheaper to hire a car for a day, although you would have to do it twice. Note you would need to obtain a key from the Tourist Information Centre with a $50 refundable deposit if you do this. Keys can be in short supply so it would be wise to arrange this in advance. You keep the key until you have collected your empties afterward.

Bugs and critters are never really quiet! A flynet is a must.

Rain in the Centre doesn’t really happen at any particular time of day, or season for that matter. It comes when it comes. Note if there is good rain in the months beforehand, you may encounter a lot of seeding grasses which makes gaiters a good idea, aside from protection against spinifex & snakes.

Birds (crows/ravens) can be a problem at some of the campsites - Redbank, Ormiston. If you're preparing food you will need to be on your guard.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 3:01 pm

Thanks Eremophila,

Did you guys carry food at all?

Not sure about the cost. Planning to do the trail in one week to 9 days max. (if anything happens like taking easy for a day or two).

Which operator would you recommend for the food drops + transfer to get back to Alice Springs?

I'll be hiking with a small group. Can we keep the food & transfer costs down this way?

I'll probably change the date to August. Not keen on hiking above the 30 deg. mark.

Cheers :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 3:59 pm

Yes, we did carry food. 4-5 days' worth from memory.

I believe the number of transfer operators has increased substantially, I don't know much about them but I would certainly shop around. I imagine transfer costs will be cheaper shared with a group, food drops they might just charge one fee or might charge per head. I'm an ex-resident so had friends/fellow walkers to do this.

Yes the trail is very exposed so if it's hot there is no relief.

Also be aware that dingoes love to steal anything that's not packed away during the night. You'll hear them howling in the distance, but once they get close to your camp, they are the masters of stealth.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby ChrisJHC » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 5:32 pm

7-9 days is quite short. Make sure everyone in the group can do 35+ km a day for 7 days.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Wed 24 Feb, 2021 8:45 pm

Yep. Not much time to enjoy anything.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 5:01 am

Thanks again for the extra tips.

Eremophila, which sectors did you use for your food drops?

Too much heat will spoil the food (plus more water/weight to carry) so I'm checking past climate data to select the best dates. Available here for anyone interested:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml

Definitively August for me as I'm not too keen on July's colder nights.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 6:35 am

We left food drops at all 3 sites: Standley Chasm kiosk, Ellery Creek and Ormiston Gorge. Also in the tubs we had bags for our rubbish, spare batteries, band-aids and other bits & pieces. There may have been some whisky in there somewhere. If you’re keen you can even have a change of clothes at the halfway mark.
Edit: clean socks in the food drop is not a silly idea. Your feet will thank you.
And take plenty of Hydralyte or something similar ! If you're not used to the dry climate it can really knock you around.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby ChrisJHC » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 12:31 pm

Strongly recommend putting some luxuries in the food drops as you don’t have to carry them anywhere (assuming you’re using a company that drops and picks up the containers).

I put a small bottle of liquid soap (from a hotel room) in my food drops at the locations that have showers.

Also tinned fruit. Yumm!

It’s interesting what you consider to be a luxury when you’ve been bush for a while and you have to carry everything on your back.
:)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 3:49 pm

Yes I know the feeling! I grew up in a Mediterranean climate and look forward to the dry weather of the NT as opposed to QLD's east coast...but once you acclimatise after living here for a couple of decades it is a bit difficult to get used to a different one. In any case I much prefer the dry.

All your suggestions noted as usual.

One more question: which operator(s) did you guys use?


*For the record:

Showers available at:

3.1 Standley Chasm (section 4)
3.2 Ormiston Gorge (section 10)

Rubbish bins available at:

3.3 Simpson's Gap (section 2)
3.4 Ormiston Gorge (section 10)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Thu 25 Feb, 2021 5:14 pm

I was staying with an Alice local, who was also a co-walker, so we did our own drops.

I reckon we had some shampoo in our Ormiston drop too. Unfortunately by then I was pretty ill, with a resting heart rate of around 120, so combined with the 30-35C heat that was the end for us :(
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Fri 26 Feb, 2021 7:55 pm

And this was in July?? :shock:

Sorry about your experience; definitively not fun.

Btw, is probably going from west into AS as in that case whether you finish early or not doesn't matter you got back into town; however the other way round if you arrive late and the pickup is missed = trouble.

Any advice in that regard as I honestly much prefer finishing facing west and enjoy the view at the top of Mt Sonder! :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Fri 26 Feb, 2021 9:24 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much about missing your pickup - you can use the phone at Ormiston kiosk to contact your transfer operator, if you get to there and realise you’re going to take longer than expected.

Possibly hitch back to Glen Helen after you’re finished and arrange your pickup from there??? Enjoying a cold beer in the meantime.

Just allow yourself a bit of flexibility- 7 days is extremely tight.

We started 31 July so it was early August. Bear in mind that if it’s warm, it will be warm early and stay that way all day. On our last day it was 30C before 10am. I was wrapped in a big fleece jacket with my teeth chattering....

Personally I prefer east to west, a much more inspiring finish. Bit of a comedown walking back into town.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Sun 28 Feb, 2021 9:22 am

Yes east to west, will be. :)

Btw, someone told me on Sat. that I need a fly net to cover my head, is this correct?

About the spinifex, are gaiters a must-pack item for the hike?

About the hike, where does the fun start, thinking of skipping section 1 altogether.

Cheers :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby ribuck » Sun 28 Feb, 2021 10:13 am

Definitely take a fly net.

Section One is low key, but still makes a good start. Hiking the edge of Euro Ridge is dramatic, and the "gap" at Wallaby Gap is your first introduction to the many gaps you'll be encountering along the way.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby north-north-west » Sun 28 Feb, 2021 10:17 am

re: gaiters. I didn't take them and the only time they were missed was during the off-track sidetrips. It really depends on how recently the spinifex has been burnt.

It's all fun. Even Telegraph Station is interesting, especially all the raptors.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 7:40 am

I am seriously thinking of doing only the interesting bits (I know the whole thing is worth it) due to time constraints and to save money by skipping food drops and more money spent on extra gear; hence travel a heck lighter. Max 3-4 days, take my own food; how is this done without having to pay an operator to rely on with the car/4WD pickups. Or maybe I need one as it's impossible any other way.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 8:26 am

Your main weight will be water and that's not something you want to skimp on.

Which parts do you term "interesting"? And how many in your group?

Edit: any of the following might have some helpful ideas, if you contact them.

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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby ribuck » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 11:25 am

Gbagua, this is essentially a remote linear path which needs transport. If you just walk the "best bits", you will need lots of transport from one bit to another.

In my opinion you will have a better experience if you can find a way to pay for the food drops and one end-to-end transfer, and walk it as a linear journey.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 1:48 pm

Eremophila wrote:Your main weight will be water and that's not something you want to skimp on.


I know but gear is heavy, especially cheap stuff. Start adding cooking utensils, clothing that maybe unnecessary due to unusual/ weather conditions, etc. Then you realise I a carrying way too much weight.

Eremophila wrote:Which parts do you term "interesting"? And how many in your group?.


NONE so far. It may end up being a solo hike. I might hook up with other hikers on the trail.

Eremophila wrote:Edit: any of the following might have some helpful ideas, if you contact them.

Lone Dingo
Central Australian Bushwalkers
Friends of the Larapinta Trail


Thanks. I will contact them.


[quote="ribuck"]Gbagua, this is essentially a remote linear path which needs transport. If you just walk the "best bits", you will need lots of transport from one bit to another.

In my opinion you will have a better experience if you can find a way to pay for the food drops and one end-to-end transfer, and walk it as a linear journey.[/quote


At this stage I'm not sure if I want to walk the entire length, and I certainly not in the mood to walk 60 km per day and prove myself to be a tough dude. I have done enough crazy stuff in my younger years and enough racing, I lareadydo enough hard hikes in Mt Barney, QLD. I want to walk for fun and enjoy the natural wonders of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Plus it's my holiday!

So I am considering short trips to selected parts of Larapinta.

So how about getting dropped off at the Glen Helen resort by one of the daily tour operators. Take my light load (48L pack, tent, sleeping bag +pad, dry food, water, puff jacket, rain jacket, phone for photos, power charger, headlamp and that's pretty much it).

Come back get a warm meal (bowl of lovely pasta/rice with chicken and veg. + mango pudding...not sure if this stuff is available :mrgreen: ) at the resort and take a second trip to round up the whole thing.

First trip:

Standley Chasm to Glen Helen (107 km). Two day walk.

Second trip:

Hike up Mt. Sonder via Redbank gorge and back. Distance? I have no idea, around 50 km? Two day walk most likely as it is an up and down event. Planning to spend the night atop Mt Sonder.

What do you reckon guys? :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 3:58 pm

According to my calculations it's 130km from Standley Chasm to Finke River campsite, then around another 3km detour to Glen Helen Lodge. Are you looking at road distances or trail distances?


So - this is more than 60km/day for your suggested two day walk. I'm a little confused, as you've stated "I certainly not in the mood to walk 60 km per day and prove myself to be a tough dude".

It might be doable if you ran the whole way, probably not. I met a guy who had run the whole thing and was expecting to finish in 5 days - that's an average 45km/day. In short, it's totally insane. Sorry, but that just had to be said. You wouldn't have time to even speak to other hikers, let alone hook up with them.

There's also at least one section (Section 9) where you won't have access to water for almost 30km. I think Section 6 is the same.

Glen Helen to Redbank Gorge is around 30km each way, Mt Sonder is 8km each way.

Mt Sonder does not have cleared tent pads.

Your gear list doesn't include any first aid / PLB. Do you have a contingency plan if you are injured or bitten by a snake?

Glen Helen Lodge is coming up on Google Maps as permanently closed. This does not surprise me as it had a change of ownership some time back. You can get meals at Ormiston Gorge kiosk and Standley Chasm.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby north-north-west » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 4:20 pm

Camping is not permitted on Rwetyepme.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 4:27 pm

That's what I would have thought, but I wasn't sure.

It would be freezing in any event.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby north-north-west » Mon 01 Mar, 2021 6:22 pm

This is kind of confusing. You're travelling to the Alice to do some walking. Fine so far. Presumably flying, bus or train as it sounds like you won't have a car. And you think it's worthwhile to go all that way and then cut down the walking to just two x two day sections? You don't want to do reaaaaaaally long days but Standley to Yperlpe in two days?
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Tue 02 Mar, 2021 10:45 am

That's why we have this wonderful forum! To ask questions and get informed. I have never been there in my entire life :lol:

My reasoning for cutting it short is to avoid eating bad food for too long. I enjoy a warm meal once a day. This is not feasible if someone is walking the entire trail unless they are prepared/keen to take cooking utensils + dehydrated meals or have the foods dropped off at specific points like many hikers do. Cost is high when you are walking alone...so far.

Still thinking about what I'm going to do exactly. I'll post again in the near future if I get more info on the trail and possible ways of doing only parts of it.

Thanks for your replies. :)
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Tue 02 Mar, 2021 11:29 am

Eremophila wrote:You can get meals at Ormiston Gorge kiosk and Standley Chasm.


Excellent. Thanks!
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby north-north-west » Tue 02 Mar, 2021 2:06 pm

gbagua wrote:My reasoning for cutting it short is to avoid eating bad food for too long. I enjoy a warm meal once a day. This is not feasible if someone is walking the entire trail unless they are prepared/keen to take cooking utensils + dehydrated meals or have the foods dropped off at specific points like many hikers do. Cost is high when you are walking alone...so far.


Hire a car for a day. Standley, Ormiston and Ellery are all accessible by good roads. Short walks in from Glen Helen and Ochre Pits to the track. Just make sure caches at spots without lockers are animal-proof.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Wed 03 Mar, 2021 7:46 am

north-north-west wrote:Hire a car for a day. Standley, Ormiston and Ellery are all accessible by good roads. Short walks in from Glen Helen and Ochre Pits to the track. Just make sure caches at spots without lockers are animal-proof.




Yes it is in my plan. A good hike would be from Standley to Ormiston (107k...correct me if I'm wrong). Leave the car at the start and hitch back...plenty of tourists (and other people) that would give me a lift...I suppose.

I don't mind skipping Mt Sonder as option number 1 is probably the heart of the trail.
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby Eremophila » Wed 03 Mar, 2021 8:28 am

Where are you sourcing your distances ?
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Re: Larapinta suggestions (food & equipment)

Postby gbagua » Wed 03 Mar, 2021 8:30 am

north-north-west wrote:Just make sure caches at spots without lockers are animal-proof.


Sorry can you explain this further? No idea of what it means.
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