Monday, October 6, 2014

Mt Feathertop, Vic, Australia


2014 October: One day climb of Mt Feathertop, 2nd highest mountain in Vic

Prolog

Having recently climbed the highest peak in every State/Territory in Australia, it is time to consider the 2nd highest peak.   :-)

At 1922 meters, Mt Feathertop is Victoria's 2nd highest mountain. Though Mt Bogong claims the title to be the highest, but Mt Feathertop is far more majestic and the (South) Razorback Trail to Feathertop is one of the prettiest in Victoria.

The other 2nd highest peaks I have climbed are:
• WA - Mt Bruce in 2012 - photos and an account of the climb are in:
   http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/mt-bruce-wa-australia.html

• ACT - Mt Gingera in 2013 -  photos and an account of the climb are in:
   http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/gingera-ginini-act-australia.html

• NSW - Mt Townsend in 2014 -  photos and an account of the climb are in:
   http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/kosciuszko-townsend-twynam-carruthers.html

• Tas - Legges Tor in 2014 -  photos and an account of the climb are in:
   http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/legges-tor-tas-australia.html

Now (ie early October) is probably the best time to climb Feathertop. There is still plenty of snow on the ground to jazz up the scenery. Yet, the trail to the summit is mostly clear of snow.

Map

Survey and Mapping Victoria issued a series of maps called "Outdoor leisure Map". They are very useful for hikers, full of interesting information. The one for this area is the 1:50,000 scaled map called "Bogong Alpine Area".

Route

Our GPX file can be download from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSQXV1UWUybGkyNGc/view?usp=sharing

• The starting point is Diamantina Hut on the Great Alpine Road (3 km by road west of Mt Hotham ski resort).
• Then walk on Razorback Trail to Mt Feathertop.
• After the climb, descend by Bungalow Spur Trail to Harrietville.

In all it is 22 km. As the starting and end points are different, a car shuffle is required.

Elevations

1708m  Diamantina Hut
1922m  Mt Feathertop
 570m  Bungalow Spur trailhead at Harrietville

Hence from elevation point of view, it is easier to start from Diamantina Hut, unless you are a masochist, then you can start at Harrietville.

From scenery point of view, it is also better to start from Diamantina Hut.  The Razorback trail that starts there is quite high and mostly above the tree line. Hence Mt Feathertop is constantly in view, not blocked by trees. Whereas if you start from the Bungalow Spur Trail, you won't see Mt Feathertop until you are near the end of the trail.

Timeline & Distance
07:44   0.0 km  Start walking
10:49  11.2 km  at Mt Feathertop summit

11:01  11.2 km  Leave summit
11:43  13.1 km  at Federation Hut

lunch

12:32  13.1 km  Leave Federation Hut
14:55  22.0 km  at Bungalow Spur trailhead, Harrietville
-------------
Total  22 km in 7 hrs 11 mins at leisurely pace

Pictures

1)  We park one of our cars here - on the map, this spot is called Diamantina Hut on the Great Alpine Road (3 km by road west of Mt Hotham ski resort). And this is where the Razorback Trail starts. After climbing Mt Feathertop, we will descend by the Bungalow Spur Trail to Harrietville ... in all 22 km. As the starting and end points are different, a car shuffle is required.



2)  This photo is taken from the trailhead at Diamantina Hut. Mt Feathertop is the far away snow-capped mountain at the centre of the photo - 11 km to walk there. You can just make out the trail on top of the Razorback Ridge which runs from left towards the centre of the photo.



3)  The Razorback Trail is along the top of the Razorback Ridge - appropriately named as you feel like walking on the edge of a razor blade.



4)  Still plenty of snow around (I had expected them to be all melted by now.)



5)  The snow-capped mountain at the centre of the photo is Mt Feathertop.



6)  You can see the Razorback Ridge running from right to centre of the photo, all the way to the summit. The Razorback Trail is along the ridge top.



7)  Walking on top of the Razorback Ridge towards Mt Feathertop.



8)  Scenery of Victorian Alps from the Razorback Trail.



9)  Scenery of Victorian Alps from the Razorback Trail.



10)  David is in front. Mt Feathertop is on the left.



11)  In 2013 January, just less than 2 year ago, a huge bush fire swept through this area, hence these dead trees along the way.



12)  Looking backwards ... we had been walking along the Razorback Ridge (the main ridge) in this photo ...



13)  ... And we'll be walking along the ridge (from right to centre of the photo) towards Mt Feathertop.



14)  Snow scenery along the trail



15)  Some snow on the trail



16)  David and I with Mt Feathertop in the background



17)  Zooming in on Mt Feathertop



18)  We are getting close to the junction of Razorback Trail and Bungalow Spur Trail. In fact you can just make out 2 tiny huts near the centre of the photo (click on the photo to enlarge it). They are named "Federation Huts" and are located on the Bungalow Spur Trail.



19)  Zooming onto the Federation Huts on the Bungalow Spur Trail.



20)  This big gnarled gum tree marks the junction of Razorback Trail and Bungalow Spur Trail. The Bungalow Spur Trail veers towards the left. The Razorback Trail to Mt Feathertop veers towards the right.



21)  We are getting closer to Mt Feathertop.



22)  Mt Feathertop summit is in sight.



23)  Me, walking on snow



24)  David



25)  The summit of Mt Feathertop is the far one on the right.



26)  Almost at the summit now ... just a few more steps.



27)  We are at the summit !
It is unusual there is not a large cairn or post to mark the top of this mountain. The little pile of stones behind us is all there is to indicate the summit.



28)  Needless to say, from the summit, the 360 degree panoramic view of the Victorian high country is superb.



29)  Victorian high country



30)  From the summit, towards the north east, is the green Kiewa Valley.



We linger around at the summit for 10 minutes, then it is time to leave.

31)  On the Bungalow Spur Trail now, heading towards the Federation Huts.



32)  Me - walking towards the Federation Hut - which is an emergency shelter.



33)  Going down the Bungalow Spur Trail. This trail is not as scenic as the Razorback Trail, but it is an easy downhill walk all the way.



34)  The trees are dead ... as mentioned earlier, there was a huge bushfire that swept through this area in 2013 January.



35)  More of the dead trees ... quite an eerie scene.



36)  This area is not burnt. Phew! Glad to see some green scenes.



37)  We reach the end of the trail at Harrietville.



Then it is back to Diamantina Hut (driving of course !) to pick up the other car which we had left there early this morning. All up, it is a pleasant rewarding day !


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