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General Climbing Discussion

O.T Overland Track (Tassie) in Winter
4:57:40 PM
I'd be interested in some feedback on doing the O.T in winter.
Are crampons or snow shoes essential kit? or will walking boots surfice?
I've heard that the duck-boards are very slippery.
Note: We would like to do the Pine Valley and Mt Ossa side trips too
5:50:24 PM
I walked it solo in august 2006. Pretty straight forward, I had better weather then when I had done it previously in summer. Was a really dry winter and not much snow about, lots of ice on the boardwalks though. I have heard epic stories of waist deep snow but I still wouldnt take snowshoes if I was to do it again. The boat down at St Clair only runs for a minium number of passengers so unless you want to pay more you ll have to walk out (was like this in 2006 may have changed)
5:54:59 PM
I have friends who had a clear run one year, when they all carried snowshoes, and then had thigh deep postholing on their first day when they didn't have snowshoes...

Obviously, weather can be anything and change quickly, that would be enough for me to think snowshoes are essential.
6:16:20 PM
Snow shoes probably essential then.

Walked it May 2007. Was told that the mini-bus service I took with day-trippers was the last for the season, so start enquiring about rides to/fromCradle Mt. has a lifts/ride section.

6:33:01 PM
We walked it a couple of years ago in July, no snow and could have been summer weather in Tassie! We took snow shoes but and too many clothes and too much food treated it like snow camping but it was just like walking in tassie at any time of year. ended up wearing shorts and a merino tee and thin vest most days.

Some ice was around but pretty easy to avoid slipping.

We came across some local young lads doing it in 4 days in trainers and minimal gear and I remember thinking they had the right idea!

6:50:04 PM
When I did the track in winter, we took snowshoes. There had been a big fall of snow just before we set off. However, by the time we got there, the snow had mainly washed away by rain. But a few days earlier - they would have been very useful. We did find the duckboards and corduroy parts of the track quite icy. Trekking poles did help here providing stability. It was too icy when we passed by to attempt Ossa, so instead we climbed Pelion East, which wasn't too hard. I think Microspikes would have been a good thing to take along.(see I used walking shoes rather than boots. They were fine. I think for most conditions - microspikes and trekking poles would be a good combination rather than taking heavier crampons and an ice axe.


7:43:49 PM
It's probably worth keeping an eye on the weather and phoning the Parks office at Cradle before you go to check on current conditions.
Most times you should be fine without all the full on gear.
Albeit not "winter", here are some photos from a September trip:!i=1489407557&k=LBpNqqx
There was some snow on top of Ossa that was easy to walk on, and we could see snow on top of Cradle and Frenchmans Cap and other high peaks, but the lower peaks were all clear of snow.

Big G
9:21:25 PM
Did it in September. Had waist deep snow for a small section and on cradle mtn. Ossa was 10ft deep. Fog and 10m visibility and blue skies and 25 deg all on the same trip
9:35:22 PM
I walked it in a few years ago July. No special equipment required.

Check reports a few days before you leave. If there is not significant snow on the ground then don't bother with snow shoes.
Cam McKenzie
8:20:18 AM
I've also done it in June / July. We took snow shoes. Would have got by without them, but they were pretty handy in a few places. It's a stunning place to be in winter. We got lucky and had 5 days of pretty much perfect weather. We walked South -> North and ended up in a whiteout on the last day walking around Cradle Mountain, but other than that, all good.

It's a very civilised way of doing winter walking as the huts are all open and have gas heaters in them. No snow covered tents to pack up each day. Awesome.

I'd also second the recommendation for trekking poles.
1:56:34 PM
Contact Tiger Wilderness Tours - he knows everything about it, has done it in all seasons. I'm sure he'd do a drop off - very reasonably priced, airport to shop to trackhead & pick up on your chosen date (though we had a group of 6 which made it affordable)
We did it in May and it just rained the whole week, still nice, if a bit unpleasant.

9:04:27 PM
Did the southern half in May about 25 years ago, and the whole lot in July about 10 years ago. Both times were excellent. On the second occasion, the track was under water for the full width of Frog Flats, except for the bridge. And there was a lake between Mt Oakleigh and the track. Both times very wet, but you get to dry off in the huts at the end of the day.

I understand that the O/T has become quite popular in winter since they started charging big $ and limiting numbers in summer. You really want hut space, so I'd suggest avoiding school holidays.

A friend who has done it quite a few times in winter recommends "boot chains" for icy duck boards. Take snow shoes, as otherwise you might have some serious post holing. Also a good rain coat and a good umbrella that won't get wrecked by the wind.

And a good sleeping bag. The heating in some of the huts can't keep up with the cold temperatures, especially if idiots hang their wet rain coats over the heaters, and they can run out of fuel in winter.

Also, I suggest you delay deciding what direction to do it in until the last minute, if that's possible. Best to have fine weather in the north, so start there if the weather forecast is good, or start in the south if the weather forecast is bad.


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