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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Razorback Track - Alpine National Park

Unquestionably, the Razorback Track in the Alpine National Park is one of the very best high-level summer trails!

It links the Great Alpine Rd with Mt Feathertop, starting at the Diamantina Hut, and is a 10.5 km one-way route.

The Mt Hotham village is close by.

In December 15, 2008, we did part of this spectacular track, from the Diamantina Hut, and then taking the Bon Accord Track down to the site of the former Johnson's Hut, burnt down in the 2003 fires.

This was 6 km total.

The highest point reached was 1744 m, at the junction of the Bon Accord Track. We descended on this track to the Johnson's Hut site, at altitude 1601 m. In the distance, Mt Feathertop, at 1840 m altitude, beckoned, but 21 km for us was out of reach for a day walk.

Our turnaround point on the Bon Accord Track was the hut site, then a steep climb back to the Razorback Track link track, a change in altitude of 145 m.

We then continued north along the Link Track, then downwards over the "Big Dipper", a very steep and rocky descent from 1744 m to 1660 m, meeting up with the Razorback Track itself.

From there, it was back to the car, following Razorback Track high up on the side of the valley with the River on our left. Sections of this part of the Track are steep and narrow, suitable mainly for Alpine goats, and care is needed!

The views from this route are truly and really amazing, with Mt Buffalo on the distant western horizon, Mt Feathertop to the north, and the Mt Bogong massif to the north-west. To the south is the Mt St Bernard/Twins region, and the Dargo High Plains. The town of Harrietville is visible in the valley. The various spurs surrounding Harrietville are easily identified, such as Bon Accord Spur, Bungalow Spur and the North West Spur.

These Spurs provide various routes to Mt Feathertop - tracks following these spurs were cut in the mid 1800s and early 1900s to support gold exploration and commerce. When the gold ran out, extensive logging was undertaken.
The Bon Accord walking track begins on the eastern edge of the Harrietville township. The track follows the east branch of the Ovens River, along the Bon Accord spur, and ends where it intersects the Razorback, north of Mount Hotham.

The Bon Accord track was built in 1896, using government finances. It led from Harrietville to the site of the Bon Accord mine in the Mt Wills goldfield, following the Bon Accord spur and the Razorback. The track was also used as a cattle track to the Hotham-Loch snow plains instead of the blocked Dungeys Track.

The track was rediscovered and cleared by Warrand Begg of the University Ski Club, and was upgraded in about 1939 when the Bon Accord Hut was erected. The track became a favoured access route for skiers from the 1930s. The track was the main route from Harrietville to Hotham Heights during winter months when the road was impassable. Using packhorses and escorted by a Snow-Line representative, the trip averaged eight hours (with wide variation due to weather conditions).

Mt Feathertop itself is a target for experienced walkers, with overnight stops made at the Federation Hut.

Most of the forest and huts in this region were completely destroyed in the disastrous bushfires of 1939 and 2003.

See the full set of Photos of our trip

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