Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

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Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby drakkar » Sun 23 May, 2021 6:57 pm

I’ve got a couple of mates I am introducing to alpine winter.

I’m interested in car (4x4) based snow camps. So we can can gently widen their comfort zones. Test layering/tents/sleep systems etc. as shorter day walks. With the safety of having all the things a car can provide.

Ideally doable as a weekender. Max 5, ideally sub 4 hours from Melbourne.

Any suggestions welcome.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby Heremeahappy1 » Sun 23 May, 2021 8:30 pm

If you want to introduce others to alpine, ensure you are familiar first.
If you want to broaden 'their' experience and are asking for suggestions, are you really in the position to undertake this?
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby Neo » Sun 23 May, 2021 8:34 pm

As the post is asking for alpine car camping suggestions, yes.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby drakkar » Tue 25 May, 2021 11:45 am

Heremeahappy1 wrote:If you want to introduce others to alpine, ensure you are familiar first.
If you want to broaden 'their' experience and are asking for suggestions, are you really in the position to undertake this?


I’m familiar with alpine, I’m not familiar with good locations to introduce new people, where they can learn some basics, understand how their gear and layering etc works, do some basic nav work, do some easy day walks, practice setting up their tents when they might need to wear gloves or deal with clumsy cold fingers. gauge how their fuel usage changes, but have the option of being able to retreat to a base camp and car. (And I can also carry extra layers/mats/safety if things go very wrong). Hence asking the question of where, not of how.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby stry » Tue 25 May, 2021 12:38 pm

Mt Useful, Mt Skene, and country surrounding both could be candidates. Fits your travel limit, and easy 2wd access (I'd carry chains, and a c/saw if you have one) but the altitude (1500ish) means that snow may not be as reliable, nor as deep as at higher altitudes. I've been there with a few inches to over a foot of snow, which could work for you.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby north-north-west » Tue 25 May, 2021 1:03 pm

Mt Tamboritha/Macallister Saddle area? Lot of walking potential around there.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 25 May, 2021 1:31 pm

I have introduced newbies to snow camping , snow shoe walking etc. at Mt. Stirling. The Bluff spur hut is just 4.5 kms on foot or skis and skins or snow shoes from the car park at TBJ. The hut has a wood burner , tank, dunny and is a good place to hang out and cook food and talk when you are not snow shoe walking / XC skiing.
King Spur hut also has good options on Mt. Stirling for a 5 km walk in snow camping site . If there is a super low dump of snow then Howqua Gap hut or The Razorback huts have snow camping options within the Mt. Stirling resort area. It is a ski/ skin in or snow shoe hike in for both options. That should warm your mob up rather than just sitting down inside a car the whole time.


Most proper drive in 4 x 4 access to good snow is closed in Vic. from June until early Nov.. I do car camp ( sort of )/ snow camp at JB Plain near Dinner plain and do day trips on XC skis . Parking on weekends up there is not easy to find in white season.
The Gorge Car park is as far as you can get on the Howitt road in winter. You can pack carry on snow shoes or BC XC skis for one hour to reach Kelly hut or maybe just over an hour to reach Mc Micheal's hut which is in better condition. I would be doing a briquette and dry kindling in sealable 40 litre containers type supply drop this weekend without fail If I were you.
You can get a 4 x 4 vehicle up to Lake Cobbler all year round. It doesn't hold snow very well unless there has been a big low dump of snow across the Vic. Alps.
From there to Mt. Speculation for snow camping and BC XC ski touring is a 10-12 kms walk one way by two legged human power , past the locked winter gate .
In all cases take a chainsaw, know how to use it properly and take wheel chains and a shovel. Taking two proper 4 WD vehicles makes a lot of sense in white season.
Access to Mt. Skene is subject to a permit system in white season. Permits are only handed out to 4 WD clubs (by the relevant authority ) that can travel safely in convoys so that they can rescue each other if something bad happens.
For this reason I have shelved the idea of hiking in / skiing in at Mt. Skene and snow camping up there and ski touring the area because the 4 WD clubs will churn up the snow and spoil the BC XC skiing!.

The Moscow Villa hut and Nuniong Plains in East Gippsland have potential for 4 WD based snow camping but only after a big low level snow fall.
In NSW in the KNP Island Bend is popular
for vehicle based snow camping . It is close (by vehicle) to Perisher ski resort and the Guthega Power station which has a car park and easy snow shoe/ ski in access to Horse camp hut.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Tue 25 May, 2021 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby stry » Tue 25 May, 2021 6:54 pm

Bit of clarification may be helpful. The winter closure of the Jamieson/Licola road over Mt Skene applies,I think, only to that particular stretch of that road.

By all means check the seasonal road closures for any area that you are considering, but I think you may find that the roads coming in from Walhalla and Matlock, and going via Mt Selma to the area west of the seasonally closed road over Skene, are not subject to seasonal closure.

These roads, plus the road over/past Mt Useful all provide viable 2wd access without putting a tyre on the road over Mt Skene. Condition of these roads can vary from year to year, depending what is happening in the area, but I have always found them to provide safe 2wd access and available car camping sites.

Check before you make a decision as to a destination that will suit you.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 25 May, 2021 8:34 pm

The Rooftops Map says the Woods Point to Licola and the Matlock to Walhalla Roads are rough and are barely 2 WD standard in dry weather. I have not driven them for years so I cannot attest the veracity of these claims.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby dashandsaph » Wed 26 May, 2021 1:08 pm

Mt St Gwinear might be a good place for a trip with newbies where the car isn't far and the skiing is fairly gentle.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby indented » Wed 26 May, 2021 4:45 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I have introduced newbies to snow camping , snow shoe walking etc. at Mt. Stirling. The Bluff spur hut is just 4.5 kms on foot or skis and skins or snow shoes from the car park at TBJ. The hut has a wood burner , tank, dunny and is a good place to hang out and cook food and talk when you are not snow shoe walking / XC skiing.


Hey PCV, I'm actually planning a trip up to Stirling this weekend for this exact reason! Do you think it's worth hiring some snow shoes based to avoid having to post-hole like Baeng at Hotham the other day?
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 27 May, 2021 8:24 am

https://www.ski.com.au/snowcams/austral ... fspur.html

There is some snow up at Mt. Stirling but possibly not enough to worry about carrying snow shoes on your pack for and certainly nowhere near enough to XC ski on.
Mt. St. Gwinear in season i.e August is not bad idea for snow newbies but do not walk on the main ski trails and definitely do not do it in just boots or snow shoes. Get some XC skis for *&^%$# sake!
I think the last 2 kms back to the car on XC skis could be too hard for
total newbies on XC skis and the surface can become icy so snow ploughing on metal edged skis can become exhausting for the legs for over 1-2 kms down a hill.

Get some Kahtoola micro spikes. The summit of Mt. Stirling can become very icy and micro spikes are light and easy to carry and use.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 21 Jun, 2021 3:44 pm

I'm late to this party and I don't know if it's still happening but Mt Buffalo in winter is a great place for an introduction to snow campng as it's only 100 metres from the car to the campsites
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 25 Jun, 2021 9:30 am

There should be some snow falling on Friday July 2nd. Even Mt . Buffalo might get a bit .
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby NW3192 » Tue 03 Aug, 2021 2:37 pm

Just back from Mt Stirling. As a 1st timers location I recommend it highly. A full on alpine experience with plenty of safety back up and a good network of huts if things turn to custard. Not too long or steep.
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Re: Exposure / gear testing (introductions to winter alpine)

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 09 Aug, 2021 10:12 am

A friend and I made it out and about and did some snow camping for two nights at Mt. No. 3 refuge hut and Nordic skied down to King Saddle at Mt. Stirling resort and back just recently , in between lockdowns.

https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/mt-no ... st-4787258
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