Back Country Awareness Please read the following articles bfore considering going back country and research widely. Do not use information provided here as textbook accuracy as anyone can edit it. Double check anything found here and consult with experts before heading beyond the resort boundaries. People die in the back country every year, don't add your name to the list.
= Destination = Mt Feathertop
- Backcountry Run Rating
- RATING: Approach Steepness II - mostly moderate grades but exposure on summit ridge. Possible with an early start to get there and get some sliding in a day, before first night there. If you want to do the big lines it is much better to have a minimum of 2 nights at camp, so one or more full days to explore the mountain.
- PITCH: S3-S5
- EXPOSURE: significant!! all slopes end abruptly in rocks, cliffs, creek or trees. you will slide a long way fast if it is icy. consider avalanche conditions. the summit ridge may be icy due to wind scouring. crampons advisable.
- CORNICE WARNING: The cornice on the east of the summit ridge gets big and can be unstable. It may be technically possible to drop the cornice and ski away, but if you have any regard for personal safety to do not think about it when it is big, and do not stand on the cornice. If it breaks away and you die, you will not even have the distinction of being the first! You can get around the main cornices by taking a smaller drop onto a subsidiary ridge, then pick your line.
- ELEVATIONS:summit 1922m
Federation Hut 1700m MUMC Hut 1620m
- VERTICAL: up to 700m or possibly 800m in a really good snow year
Access and Trip
most commonly to Federation Hut via Razorback Ridge near Hotham (a lot of ups and downs of nuisance value if on skins or if marginal snow cover, but very scenic and a chance for a ski along the way) or via Bungalow Spur from Harrietville (long steady uphill, easy track, OK in bad weather). Can also be accessed by Northwest Spur to MUMC Hut or from Stony Creek Tops to the north, which has a seasonal closure to the last 3 km of road. Do not rely on reaching the hut and it having space to sleep - carry a tent!
some merely black runs near Fed Hut: you wont find slopes like this without the intimidation factor once up on the mountain proper. If not feeling adventurous, or if snow or weather conditions are not safe for the steeper runs, or if you dont have time left in the day for the big lines (and big climbs out), you can try: - east from the saddle between Molly Hill and the south end of the summit ridge. - west from Molly Hill Cairn. If its good, keep going down into the trees. - south from Little Feathertop, which is close to Fed Hut. The best lines off Little Feathertop are closer to "The Cross" track junction than to Fed Hut.
southeast gullies: as you start up the summit ridge from the saddle, there are 3 main gullies to your right. Steepness, vertical and access difficulty increase as you go up. The last one has a major cornice, but you can probably sneak under it if you pick your entry. Beyond this is the southeast ridge.
southeast ridge lies between the third gully and Avalanche Gully. It's south face is the main face you see from Hotham. The ridge provides good access to a variety of steep slopes with different aspects. E into Avalanche Gully (make sure you know where the cliffs lie), SSW into the third gully, or continue SE to the triangular face very visible from Hotham.
Avalanche Gully: I will refer to this as the whole bowl to the east between the southeast ridge and the summit. The most serious terrain is here, with the biggest cornice, very steep narrow chutes and cliffs. Be very careful! If you have a chance before you go, look at Room With a View under the Considerations section. See also Cornice Warning section. Immediately north of the summit there is one more particularly gnarly chute that also feeds back to Avalanche Gully, then another ridge beyond which Hellfire Gully is found.
Hellfire Gully: Again I will refer to the whole bowl, on the east side, from just north of the summit to North Peak. Serious terrain again, but less scary than Avalanche Gully. Potentially the biggest vertical available, in a good year. It bottoms out in Feathertop Creek at just over 1100m.
West Face a great wide steep even pitch here when good snow conditions. Less snow accumulation than the east side. No cornice to worry about. The line just south of NW Spur, starting about 200m SW from the summit, gives maximum vertical and usually most snow as the lower part then gets a bit of sun protection from NW spur.
north of Northwest Spur and North Peak A whole variety of great, steep skiable slopes again in every direction, but likely to have poor snow cover if conditions are marginal.
datum AGD1966: 1085 0736 Diamentina Hut (start of Razorback approach), 1121 1596 Memorial Cross junction, 1081 1586 Federation Hut, 1148 1612 saddle between Molly Hill and Feathertop (start from south of summit ridge), 1219 1667 Mt Feathertop summit, 1240 1699 North Feathertop summit, 1120 1769 MUMC Hut, 1152 2307 April to early Nov locked gate Stony Creek Tops track, 1198 2043 Stony Creek Tops (closest summer vehicle access).
Mobile Phone Coverage
Good on summit ridge. Marginal at Federation Hut. Poor in gullies.
Vicmap 1:25000 "Feathertop"; Vicmap 1:25000 "Harrietville" (Razorback and Bungalow Spur approaches); Vicmap 1:25000 "Freeburgh" (NW Spur approach); Vicmap 1:50000 "Bogong Alpine Area" (covers all approaches but less topographic detail on the mountain). You should be aware that these maps are up to 30 years out of date. Many roads shown no longer exist, nor do a few walking tracks.
Room with a View
If you want a great view of the mountain, there is much more of it than you can see from Hotham, visible from this walking track which is just over the Great Alpine Road from Dinner Plain. A great pre-trip jaunt if the visibilty is good, giving you a good idea of the snow cover down low, and to get into your head some of the lines that are relatively safe or unsafe. Morning will give best light on the southeast gullies and Avalanche Gully. An hour is enough to comfortably walk it and spend some time checking the mountain with the binoculars you brought with you. From time to time you may be able to ski down to the lookout point.
= Destination2 = Razorback Ridge
- Overview :
Razorback Ridge may be used as access to Mt Feathertop, but there are some tasty faces and gullies along the way. These are mainly on the eastern side of the ridge, either at the Great Alpine Road end or closer to Feathertop, with a lower section inbetween which has less skiing potential.
- Backcountry Run Rating
- RATING: Approach Rating II unless you stay close to the road (rating I then). lots of ups and downs but not more than moderately steep
- PITCH: S2-S4
- EXPOSURE: most runs end abruptly in creek or trees
- ELEVATIONS: Diamentina Hut 1720m: low point 1600m.
- VERTICAL: not big vert here - get over to Feathertop for that.
Access and Trip
Park by the Great Alpine Road near Diamentina Hut, on the left side facing down the road away from Hotham. The start of the ridge is obvious immediately over the road. Complete the intentions book at the start of the trail before you go.
see under Mt Feathertop
Mobile Phone Coverage
OK on higher parts of ridge. poor down low.
as for Mt Feathertop
Feathertop ski history
Before the Second World War, Mt Feathertop used to be a popular ski destination with well maintained ski runs and a commercial ski lodge. Feathertop Bungalow