Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Wed 30 Nov, 2022 1:23 pm

Hi all, I'm planning my first adventure out in the Vic High Country and have settled on the following loop:

Day 1: Hotham > Feathertop via Razorback
Day 2: Feathertop > Diamantina Spur > Dibbins Hut
Day 3: Dibbins Hut > Hotham

I'll have a 4 hour drive from Melbourne to begin day 1 and end day 3, so not worried about those days being short (3-4 hours of walking from my research), but I was looking at ways to extend day 2.

I am fairly fit and have done overnight multi-day hikes before, so would like to be walking for 7-8 hours given the long daylight hours in January - although this would be subject to the heat at the time.

So I was thinking I could at least visit Weston's Hut (from Blairs) but then discovered I could go all the way up to Pole 333, visit Mt Jim, Youngs Hut, down past Basalt Temple and onto Dibbins. This would make for an approximate 24km day (and perhaps 9 hours walking with breaks), but I would have the option of staying at Youngs Hut to shorten it, and it wouldn't add much more the last day (remembering the long drive home). Again, this would be subject to the weather and wouldn't be done if it was too hot.

Also have options to not do the "side trips" to Mt Jim or Youngs Hut if I needed to shorten the extra loop once I'd started it.

I also like the idea of not staying at Dibbins Hut in the middle of school holidays assuming that it will be pretty busy.

I'd really appreciate some feedback on my ideas for extension - as I've already read all the threads on the standard loop and feel very comfortable with that - including going down Diamantina Spur :)

Thanks!
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 30 Nov, 2022 3:47 pm

The basic plan looks good. One option is to carry water from the road and camp at the top of Diamantina Spur, perhaps 10 minutes from The Razorback. If you can leave the road by about noon you should have time to climb Feathertop. Except in very dry years the creek on the Tom Kneen Track about 15 minutes from the summit track is always running, and that's another water option. A Diamantina Spur camp saves about 45 minutes the next day.

It will take 3-4 hours to reach the valley from that campsite, and a few more hours to reach Westons Hut, a good place for lunch. From there it's another few hours to pole 333 and Mount Jim. The SEC Hut is perhaps 2 hours away, flat and downhill. The track is a bit hard to follow in places, especially near the Youngs Hut site. If you go too far and end up in a broad saddle with no trees and Hotham on the right, go left and back, downhill to the hut a few minutes away. There's minimal sheltered camping after Westons until the SEC Hut, although you could drop down from pole 267 to Basalt Temple, flat and a possible creek.

Going from the SEC Hut, cut the corner at the treeline at 1740 metres altitude, north-west. The main pole line is obvious. The descent to Dibbins is a bit steep in places, but much easier than Diamantina. The Dibbins area could be crowded. The start of the climb up Swindlers Spur is steep, about six groans per switchback. From the SEC Hut I usually reach Derrick by about 11 am, then 90 minutes to the road and 40 minutes to Diamantina Hut. Park facing downhill if you can.

If you or your knees die coming down Diamantina Spur, one option is to camp at Blairs, or preferably take water to a dry camp further up the road. The latter is recommended as it makes the last day a bit shorter
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Xplora » Wed 30 Nov, 2022 4:10 pm

Staying at Youngs instead of Dibbins will cost you a few hours but worth it. Going down the last part of Diamantina and then up Westons Spur will be your slowest part but the climb up Westons, although steady and steep in places, is not to onerous. From Westons Hut there is still more climbing to the high plains but once on the pole line traversing is quick. The diversion to Youngs will take you down but there is water and a nice place to pitch a tent. Dibbins can get very busy and the camping platforms are in a crap position. A few spots to pitch a tent might be available near the hut but flat ground is harder to find away from the hut.

If you did the Razorback and Feathertop day one and camped at High Knob you would have a good start for the next day but you would need to carry a bit extra water. Diamantina spur, Blairs to Red Robin and Dibbins is pretty tame for a day. Might as well continue up Swindlers. Even if you don't do Youngs hut it would be better going via Pole 333 and Basalt Temple to Dibbins unless you like walking on a boring road. Mind you, the first part of Westons spur is an old road but it is nice. Your plan has merit.

People talk about a rock scramble on Diamantina spur but I seem to have avoided it. Don't over think it. It is another hill and at least gravity will help.

Just read Lops assessment as I posted. He knows the area well also.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 6:36 am

Thanks Lophophaps and Xplora - it's great to get some feedback and advice from people with first-hand experience.

I think I've settled on staying at Youngs Hut, as long as it's not 30 degrees - if that's the case the case shorter day will be welcome.

As for water, I believe I can get it from:

- Tom Kneen
- Bottom of Diamintina Spur
- Westons
- Youngs
- Dibbins

Which should give me regular topups, although I will carry 3-4 litres from each point.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 7:21 am

Water should be available at those places. If you go south on the West Kiewa River there's water to Red Robin Mine. The road from there to Mount Loch is a bit of a slog. There are quite a few small creeks from about 1750 metres on the Westons Pole line all the way to pole 267. Derrick has good water. The rocky section on Diamantina Spur is easy if you take care, no need for a rope. There's a short-cut to Blairs, dropping off the side of the road to the left. This is a wet crossing, about ankle deep.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 1:25 pm

All of the above is good advice, just adding another vote for camping at the top of Diamantina (behind High Cone)... much nicer/fewer people than Feathertop (Federation Hut) and can get water for the night/next morning from the tank at Federation on the 1st day if you have time to knock off Feathertop on the 1st afternoon. I'd personally also prefer camping at Basalt Temple or Cobungra Gap than Dibbins, unless you can jag one of the clearings near the hut which are often occupied.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 3:46 pm

Yeah, I definitely like the idea of getting Feathertop done on the first day, getting the water refilled and heading to Diamantina to camp for the night - again, to avoid the crowds. Out of interest, how many tents would you fit there? I suppose it could be crowded too, relatively speaking.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 6:17 pm

Federation Hut has room for perhaps 20-30 tents, quite cosy with the higher figure. It can get a bit windy at times. The pictures below show some of the Federation Hut camping.

Family group S.jpg

.
Federation camp 2 S.jpg

.
Federation camp S.jpg
Razorback in the distance


There's masses of room at Diamantina Spur, and it's much more sheltered than Federation Hut. The clearing is 2-4 times the size of the Federation Hut clearing. There's also a much better view of Feathertop.
.
Diamantina dawn 7 S.jpg
Diamantina Spur campsite at dawn
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Thu 01 Dec, 2022 8:06 pm

That's good news then, for some reason I thought it was a small spot
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 15 Dec, 2022 6:19 pm

BYO water to the Top of Diamantina spur. It is a great scenic campsite and away from the crowds at Fed. hut.
:-)
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Fri 16 Dec, 2022 11:01 pm

Well with the weather of late, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about 30 degree days, it looks like it will be the opposite! But I’m not going until early January so I guess anything can happen…
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Fri 30 Dec, 2022 11:44 am

Last piece of the puzzle for me - is the parking at Mt Loch Carpark better than the side of the road at Diamantina Hut? Obviously that’s the better choice for people doing a day hike or 1 night out and back, but I’ll be walking back via Mt Loch anyway so thought that might be a better option, also shortens the last day a bit.

Does anyone have any reasons as to why this wouldn’t be the best option?

Thanks!
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 30 Dec, 2022 12:15 pm

I'm not sure if Loch Car Park exists. Last summer they were building something and there was no parking. There is parking at The Cross about 500 metres up the hill from there. In general it's best to park at the end of the walk so that departure is faster. If starting at Diamantina Hut and ending at Loch Car Park, packs could be left at Diamantina Hut (well back in the bush, away from the track), drive to Loch CP (or The Cross if Loch CP is not possible) and walk back to Diamantina Hut with no packs.

This is Diamantina Hut on 1 January 2022. The hut is the clearing on the left at the back. There are about 35 cars and room for another dozen or two.
Diamantina cars S.jpg
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 31 Dec, 2022 6:45 pm

If it helps, here's some crap video of some walks I did in that area:
Hotham (Mt Loch carpark when it existed), Dibbins, Pole 333, Westons, Dibbins, Hotham (May 2021); https://youtu.be/RFDXGhJ_JPA, https://youtu.be/IelUs81JgU0, https://youtu.be/Ig86HwwV0JY
Harrietville, Fed. Hut, Diamantina, Blair's, Dibbins, Hotham, Bon Accord, Harrietvielle (March 2022): https://youtu.be/RFDXGhJ_JPA, https://youtu.be/2EvbDMiAzXw

Happy New Year All!
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Sun 01 Jan, 2023 9:04 am

Thanks Baeng72, have already watched those when coming up with my loop - they helped a lot.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby Biggles » Mon 02 Jan, 2023 11:32 am

Lophophaps wrote:I'm not sure if Loch Car Park exists.


I have not seen it for many years!!
I have parked the car just at the clearing where the hut is. It's not always a welcome development to add 500m or so walking along the road, especially if it is hot summer sun beating down!
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
― Lao Tzu.
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Re: Feathertop loop - possible extensions

Postby ccar » Mon 02 Jan, 2023 1:33 pm

I've decided to park at the Corral carpark as I thought it was the safest option for a few nights. Adds some kms to the start but not too many to worry about.
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