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Walking the Alps Track can be very challenging, and there are many aspects to consider. Your level of fitness, and alpine bushwalking experience are important, as are the challenges of the physical environment including:
- harsh alpine weather conditions; including snow, freezing temperatures, strong winds and poor visibility that inhibit navigation, travel distance and enjoyment
- sections of overgrown track or poorly defined track due to remoteness and/or lack of use
- absence of intersection totems (with Alps markers) due to a fire or vandalism
- absence of water, and
- animal tracks merging with the Alps Track causing confusion about the correct route.
Walkers should always know where they are on the map; remaining alert to any track changes and the nature of the terrain to ensure that they are on the correct route.
If you are walking the Australian Alps Walking Track and entering any of the five wilderness areas you will need to:
- check with management agencies before entering these areas for current hazards and updates about track conditions
- be prepared to use map and compass as there are no track markers in the Alps wilderness areas, and
- pay particular attention to weather conditions and be aware of deteriorating track conditions.
The Bimberri wilderness is part of Namadgi National Park in the ACT. The Alps Track leaves Kosciuszko National Park and joins Bimberri just east of Oldfields Hut.
There are no track markers between Murray Gap and the Orroral Valley. Care should be taken with navigation along this section.
This part of the Alps Track is largely undefined until reaching Cowombat Flat Track.
Before reaching Cowombat Flat you will have a chance to experience some of Victoria's wilderness mountains by climbing to the summit of the Cobberas.
This section is largely unmarked and accurate navigation is required if walkers are to meet the Mount Hope Road at a sharp bend.
From the Mount Hope Road you should take care not to take old fire tracks south that deviate from the route.
Between Buenba Creek and the Cobberas expect the Alps Track to be mostly unmarked. Good navigation skills are required in this section. When the track reaches the Cobberas you will be entering a greater wilderness area that includes the Cobberas and Pilot wilderness areas.
The Cobberas wilderness (Alpine National Park) joins the Pilot wilderness (Kosciuszko National Park) crossing into NSW at Cowombat Flat, and the headwaters of the Murray River. Here the Alps Track heads off into an expansive sub alpine wilderness.
Jagungal wilderness lies in the heart of Kosciuszko National Park and there are several options for crossing this region. The Alps Track follows a safe route in bad weather along the fire trails of Schlink Pass, Valentine and Grey Mare.
In fine weather conditions alternative routes can be taken that provide more dramatic scenery.
Just after the Bullock Hill Fire Trail joins the Alps Track you will cross the Murrumbidgee River. At this point for about the next six kilometres you will be crossing open snow grass plains that have no defined track.
Views from the Viking | Parks Victoria
We had walked the Viking in the past and knew the difficulties of navigation through the area and though the track had had little use for some time, it was littered with fallen timber following earlier heavy snow falls and was very ill defined...
The section of track between Mount Despair to the Barry Saddle is difficult in terms of navigation, and physical toughness. There are sections where the track fades in and out, and after the Viking Saddle, the track is very rough and not well defined.
The Razor Viking area is also well known for being difficult to locate water. Water is particularly scarce around the Viking Saddle.
This little used section of the Alps Track is remote from settlements and often challenging due to:
- poor track definition and confusion because of numerous wild horse trails
- blackberry and Gorse infestations making navigation difficult
- sections of track that are completely unmarked
- possible flooding at Morass creek, and
- no suitable campsites and reliable water source between Morass Creek and Buenba Creek.
It is worth checking with the Omeo Parks Victoria Office on the condition of this section.
Way down in the claustrophobic Jordan River gully, one of the lowest points during the trek, both in terms of altitude, and my spirits, I realised that my mood strangely matched the topography: I'd begun to crave height like a drug and was miserable without it. It was the second of three brutally difficult river crossings (over the Thomson, Jordan and Black rivers), each at the bottom of tracks so steep I had to walk backwards to ease my suffering thigh muscles.
Kathryn McCallum, 2005.
If you are commencing your walk at Walhalla you will probably find the section after the Thomson Valley Road to be quite tough. There are many steep descents and climbs in and out of river valleys. The forests along this section can be very thick making travel slow. Beware of leeches and mosquitoes during wet weather in this section.