OBSERVATIONS, FOR YOU, POWERED BY YOU
These pages are for 'In the field' observations for Mount Bogong specifically. This is an open social platform for everyone to contribute to. There are some pointers on what and how to submit observations here: 'How to write and submit observations'. So if you're up on Bogong, please take the time to punch through an observation below in the 'Comments' section. This is pretty basic and easy, and let's face it, you're just sitting around a lot between 6pm and 6am so if you have enough network coverage, help us all out.
Scroll to bottom of this section to see most recent observations
How to write and submit observations
Universal Terms Descriptive terms that are universal like Patchy below... / Baseless / bullet proof ice above... / Firm Crust / Breakable Crust / Hard Packed / Rime Covered / 'Strugi Covered are great and generally well understood. More optimistic terms like: Fresh Wet / Fresh Dry / Packed Dry / Loose Powder / Sugar and Corn etc are also obviously great, but don't embellish or become emotionally involved. After all, things change. Then you might need terms like Wet heavy / Warm gloop / Rain affected Mush!
Aspect and Elevation Obviously on any given day of touring you will come across a variety of conditions. Quality observations will pair approximate elevation and aspect (N/S/E/W) against the snowpack. This creates a good picture for the community to understand the conditions. This can be a specific location if it is well known - like a hut, or a specific bowl / face. However remember to mention aspect and elevation anyway so that people can piece the puzzle together regardless. If you see evidence of snowpack instability, cornice collapse or debris make a note.
Snow Depth This is a really hard one. Existing snow depth is not really that relevant, more importantly we really urge you to upload 'dumps'. Anything from 10cm and upward at your location is handy for everyone - even more so those in excess of 30cms. How do you guage this? Ski stocks generally have rulers on them. A Snow shovel is roughly 30cm wide. Indicate it by what you measured it with. The duration over which the precipitation event occurs is also handy.
Snow Pack Stability So if you're qualified, having completed a AST2 (Avalanche Skills Training) or equivalent, then feel free to get tech and throw us snow pack stability details. Even if it's as simple as an ATES rating from your assessment. If your ATES rating is Moderate or above, then detail around how this conclusion was drawn is expected to be included.
Access Notes If you come across newly fallen trees, on the road or track, bang it into the comments - in some situations we can action Parks to help out. If there are other navigation hazards that you note have changed, or you become aware of, then this is also the place for them.
Submit an observation by creating a user identity as a part of the 'comments' field below each area summary and 'submit'. It's super easy. If you wanna make trouble, or create fanciful comments, we will delete the post, track your device IP and block you.
WELCOME TO MOUNT BOGONG
She is the highest, and the boldest of the Victorian Alpine Peaks. With this come a raft of challenges - not only for those that venture there, but also for any rescue. The contingencies for rescues here are poor. It experiences the most 'No fly' days of any peak for aerial rescue, and access up and across the mountain is also often very difficult. No less than nine critical (near fatal) incidents have been reported here this decade, not including the avalanche fatalities of 2014. A mountain that must be treated with respect and should only be undertaken by parties with solid understanding of backcountry travel, safety and rescue. That said, it offers some of the best terrain (and accommodation) in the state and will prevail as one of the best venues regardless.
Below is an abridged version of the stub from Wiki Ski and provides great detail on the mountain, its challenges and its terrain. It is an awesome resource. Read the full article here.
Thankfully there are no roads up the mountain, making it quite a commitment to get in there. The most straight forward approaches are from Mountain Creek (accessed from Tawonga on the Kiewa Valley Highway, by taking Mountain Creek road). The two most popular routes are:
Staircase Spur. Turn in to Mountain Creek picnic area and drive another 2 km to where you can park at the locked gate. A few km of flat country gets you to the base of the Staircase (sign posted), then a long haul through foothill forests eventually brings you out into gorgeous snowgum country on a bench-like ridge at Bivouac Hut (roughly 1,350 m asl). The country from here is especially badly burnt out, with intense regrowth along the steep haul up to the treeline.
Eskdale Spur. If you continue past the Mountain Creek picnic area, on Mountain Creek road, you will start to climb into the ranges. At a saddle, there is a right hand turn (dirt, 2WD in most conditions) named Trappers Gap track. Turn here and follow this for a few kilometres to an obvious saddle with a parking spot on the left. Eskdale Spur trail starts here. It is shorter than Staircase and more direct and also starts about 300 metres higher, so is quicker and easier than Staircase. The only caution here is that the road can be quite slippery in wet conditions, exercise caution especially on the descent down Trappers Gap road into the saddle.
Much of the trail has also been burnt, through to the treeline (except for one gorgeous area of alpine ash where you can normally get water. Michell's hut is reached not long before treeline, it was recently rebuilt after being destroyed by fire. The camping here is not as nice as at Bivouac hut. Continue on and climb the final, quite impressive ridgeline to the summit area.
The summit area is incredibly exposed, and like all alpine areas, conditions can deteriorate very quickly. Whiteouts are common and the summit ridge can be very icy. Slab avalanche risk should be assessed in the gullies – particularly on the northern face, which is more affected by direct sun and down in the main valley on the southern side of the summit ridge (Cairn Gully). Winds on the summit can be intense, making it impossible to travel safely - best bet is often to just hunker down (build snow walls and set up camp), especially out on West Peak/ Hooker Plateau area.
There are some serious rocky sections in the steepest gullies under West Peak and into Cairn Gully. If your skills are up for getting into this area, best bet is to check things out from the ridge above Cleve Cole to get a sense of the lay of the land first time before you head in there.
When approaching the mountain via Eskdale Spur, note the cautions about the access road from Trappers Gap.
If you have not climbed the mountain before and are approaching via the most common routes - Staircase or Eskdale, be aware that it can be slow going to get up and over the mountain to Cleve Cole hut from the treeline at the top of the spurs. If the weather is bad, visibility is poor, or your group is tired, consider camping at or near treeline (this side of the mountain is generally fairly well protected from weather) rather than battling on over the top.
The skiing is often great in spring, but watch those early summer season lightening storms - probably quite rare but certainly exciting when they happen as there is no quick way down. So if its late season and warm and you get rapid formation of anvil head clouds, have a look around for your quickest descent, just in case!