Date(s) - 10 Apr 2020 until 14 Apr 2020
- Grade 4 Medium-Hard
- Leader: David G
- Phone: 0432632142 after business hours
- Participant numbers:max of 8 participants
- Final booking date: Final bookings Monday 30 March
Cancelled due to Covid 19
Easter in the Snowys
Note – regarding fitness, due to the remoteness of this walk, the shorter days and risk of changing/adverse weather, you need to be comfortable with walks of grade 4 medium-hard standard (e.g. the ‘big walk’ up Mt Buffalo, Mt Feathertop). Similarly, this isn’t a walk for someone who’s only done one or two easy single-overnighters out to, say, Ryder’s yards or Edmondson’s huts. But if you’ve done more than that, give me a call and we can talk about it.
Day 1 Friday – about 9km
We’ll travel to Guthega power station, with a quick rest stop in Corryong and then Khancoban for parks passes ($68/car added to fuel) on the way.
We’ll continue on to the power station. From there, we’ll start our walk and take it slow with an initial big climb up to the dam gatehouse (it can get hot in the sun), before we join the Horse Camp aqueduct which should be nice and shaded in the afternoon. We’ll look at Horse camp creek hut and then continue on to camp at Whites river hut. If it’s busy, the Schlink Hilton is another 3km along (but doesn’t have as much flat tent space). Worst case I know a nice spot for some wild camping a little further on again. We should be in at camp between five and six pm.
Day 2 – 17km (all on good track)
Today we’ll head to Grey Mare hut for the night. The first couple of km are on the ‘main track’, before we turn on to the Valentine trail and we start to feel properly wild-ed. A couple of hours will bring us to Valentine’s hut. We’ll see the falls down below us but won’t go down as the track is a bit treacherous and we’ll see plenty of other streams and scenery.
From Valentines, we have a couple of big ups and downs passing through some narrow valleys, before we see Grey Mare Hut on the far side of a big river valley. We will get wet going across one stream (hopefully knee-height only, and please don’t repeat my mistake and have to go chasing after your boot downstream), and a couple more crossings can be avoided. Grey mare hut isn’t that big and it’s a little rustic inside, but the view back over the valley makes it worth the walk and camp. There are also some mining relics scattered around.
Day 3 – 11km, plus 3km extra optional
We’ll backtrack most of the way to Valentines, before we leave the track on our way to Mawson’s hut. This untracked section is around 3-4km but goes through an absolutely stunning, pristine, river valley, which to my mind is one of the trip highlights. We will have a break on some rocks beside the stream.
Depending on time and the group, once we get to Mawson’s and set up camp, we have the option to do a walk out to try to find Bluff Tarn. I haven’t been there and it might be slow going if we can’t find a good line across the valley (lots of streams to cross), but it looks to only be 3km return. We’ll only go if plenty of time, and if it gets too slow going we’ll turn back early.
Day 4 – around 11km
Almost all of today is off-track. If it looks like there are storms rolling through, unfortunately we’d have to backtrack to Valentines and take the ‘low road’ back to Schlink again, rather than go up onto the exposed ridge.
But ideally, from Mawsons, the first hour is uphill onto the Kerries ridge. Once we get above the scrub and tree line (the first ten minutes are the worst), the views open up with boulder-strewn ridges either side of a long valley. To get the best views, I’m proposing to follow the top of the ridge and it’s about 7-8km to Mt Gungatan (2,068m). That will be the bulk of the day done, and from there we’ll drop down off the side, aiming for the main track at Schlink pass. Getting off the ridge we will encounter some low scrub – this is difficult walking as it obscures the uneven rocks/terrain, but hopefully it’ll be no more than half an hour.
From Schlink pass we’ll continue down the hill and camp at either Schlinks or Whites river hut (both only another 1.5km either direction downhill from Schlink pass), unless they’re jam-packed or we’re making exceptional time in which case we could push on for horse camp hut (but this adds another 4.5km to the day so pretty unlikely).
Day 5 – 9km or 12km (first day in reverse)
From camp, it’s an easy (and mainly downhill) stroll back to the cars. We may or may not take the aqueduct trail again depending how we found it the first day. We’ll have an early start to get back to the cars within the parks pass expiry time. We can see if anything’s open to grab a sandwich & drink for an early lunch in Jindabyne, or otherwise push on and try our luck at the café in Khancoban. But best to bring and leave some snacks in the car for lunch in case. I’m also happy to stop for a coffee/snack in Corryong to break up the drive home.
Risks, hazards, and gear
The main risk is the weather – cold/wet/wind. So you must have appropriate warm clothing for walking, spares / for night-time, and waterproofs.
I recommend (but not mandatory) gaiters given the off-track walking, and poles for the river crossings and uneven terrain. Also need water purification tablets or filter (the streams looks pristine, but there are a lot of walkers and horses etc. up there), spare torch batteries, and a good dry bag system for the stream crossings/rain. Water availability won’t be an issue, and these huts all have long-drop toilets.
There are many stream crossings – some we’ll be able to rock-hop across, others we’ll have to wade. I really don’t expect any of the streams to be much higher than knee height (if that), but this isn’t a certainty – we’ll reassess our route if any are flowing too deep and fast for safety.
In summary, the route is a plan but not a guarantee.
Fuel – if we had a full contingent of eight walkers (two cars), fuel would be around $70/person (this includes $17 towards the parks passes).