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BE PREPARED2017-12-08T10:43:17+00:00

Project Description

BEING PREPARED MIGHT JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE

The Buller Huts Trail is a serious grade 5 undertaking for well–prepared, self-reliant adventurers, with a good level of fitness and who understand the risks of walking in a remote alpine area. Weather can change rapidly, even in summer, when people have been caught under-prepared in cold, wet and windy weather. This is a trek not to be taken lightly.

PLANNING YOUR SELF-GUIDED TREK

The Buller Huts Trail is a self-guided adventure for self-reliant and independent outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for remote wilderness. There are no official guided tour offerings at this stage, but watch this space as they may be available in the future.

  • Will this be a solo or group hike?
  • Research your trip using a current map and advice from experience walkers and local authorities.
  • Understand the environment you are entering and risks associated with it, plan for the unexpected.
  • Emergency response / rescue can take time always have an emergency plan factored into your trip.
  • Know how to access local emergency response via phone and/or radio.
  • Leave a hard copy of your plan in your vehicle and with a reliable contact person.
  • Fill out trip intentions books at the start of trips and in huts if available.
  • Notify your contact person(s) if you change your plans.
  • Submit your trip intentions by downloading and completing this form.
  • If you own a PLB ensure that is is registered and on every remote trip register your intentions here.

Your fitness and experience (or that of your groups weakest link)

What are the forecast weather conditions?

  • Always check a current weather report but do not rely on it, plan for worst-case scenario by carrying extra food, water, clothing and equipment.
  • Consider aborting your trip if dangerous weather is forecast. This could include conditions like heatwaves, fires, floods, extreme winds or extreme cold.

What equipment should you take?

  • Always carry maps and a compass, and know how to use them for navigation.
  • GPS and mobile phones can help but they do not replace experience.
  • Clubs can be a good way to advance your experience and knowledge.

Food and water requirements

  • Always carry sufficient water for trip – day and overnight trips
  • Carry more water than you’ll need, plan for emergencies.
  • Stay hydrated and do not rely on creeks unless you have reliable information.
  • As with water carry sufficient food for the trip and pack extra in case of emergencies.

Shelter and clothing requirements

  • Dress for conditions, bring extra and have wet weather clothing available.
  • Always have enough to cover you for the worst-case scenario.
  • Weather conditions in wilderness environments are sometime unpredictable.

Let someone know before you go 

  • You should always plan for the unplanned.
  • Always leave trip intention forms with someone who can raise the alarm if you do not make it back in time.
  • Always pack extra food, water and clothes for inclement conditions.
  • You never know when the weather might change.

While this list is not conclusive I hope it gives you the general idea that planning is the single most important aspect of anything you do.

Source: Trail Hiking Australia

I have started and ended this circuit trek in the Buller Alpine Resort. The reasons for this are primarily for vehicle access as during most seasons it is easy to drive any vehicle to the start point. There are a number of access points along the trail but most, if not all, of these are only accessible via 4WD.

Buller Huts Trail Trek Exit Map

The alternate entry/exit point are as follows. Please refer to the corresponding numbers on the route overview.

  1. Mount Buller Alpine Resort
  2. Brocks Road (anywhere between four mile spur and eight mile flat)
  3. Refrigerator Gap
  4. Bluff Hut (anywhere along the 4WD track between Bluff Hut and Picture Point)
  5. Picture Point
  6. Howitt Plains (this is a remote entry/exit point on the King Billy Track, located an additional 5km beyond Vallejo Ganther Hut)
  7. Speculation Road (anywhere between the start of Speculation Road and Muesli Spur)
  8. Kind Basin Road (Speculation and King Basin Road junctions)
  9. McCormacks Trail (anywhere along King Basin Road between the junctions of McCormacks Trail and Speculation Road)
  10. Craigs Hut (at the junctions of McCormacks Trail and Circuit Road or at Craig’s Hut site)
  11. Howqua Gap (anywhere along Clear Hills Road between Howqua Gap, Mount Stirling and Craig’s Hut)

The Ten Essentials are survival items that hiking and Scouting organisations recommend for safe travel in the bush.

The Ten Essentials first appeared in print in the third edition of Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills Mountaineers (January 1974). Many regional organisations and authors recommend that hikers, backpackers, and climbers rigorously ensure they have the ten essentials with them. However, personal preferences and differences in conditions may dictate otherwise and with experience most adventurers add and subtract from the list depending on the situation. Some lightweight hikers do not always carry all of the items and believe it is an acceptable risk they take in order to travel light and fast.

According to the eighth edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills book there are ten essentials, which are now referred to as the “classic” essentials. While still valid and widely used they do not reflect modern outdoor sports and all of the new gadgets that now are common.

Classic Essentials

  1. Map
  2. Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp (or torch)
  6. First-aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food

In 2003, the essential list was revised as part of the seventh edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills to keep up with modern equipment. The current edition, 8th edition continues with the new essentials list with no major revisions. The new list takes a “systems” or functional approach.

The Current The Ten Essentials

  1. NavigationTopographic map and assorted maps in waterproof container plus a magnetic compass, optional altimeter or GPS.
  2. Sun protection. Sunglasses, sunscreen for lips and skin, hat, clothing for sun protection.
  3. Insulation. Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season.
  4. Illumination. Headlamp, flashlight, batteries. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.
  5. First-aid supplies, plus insect repellent.
  6. Fire. Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container.
  7. Repair kit and tools. Knives, multi-tool, scissors, pliers, screwdriver, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties.
  8. Nutrition. Add extra food for one additional day (for emergency). Dry food is preferred to save weight and usually needs water.
  9. Hydration. Add extra 2 liters of water for one additional day (for emergency).
  10. Emergency shelter. Tarp, bivouac sack, space blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.

The textbook recommends supplementing the ten essentials with:

  • Portable water purification and water bottles
  • Ice axe for glacier or snowfield travel (if necessary)
  • Signaling devices, such as a whistle, mobile phone, two-way radio, satellite phone, unbreakable signal mirror or flare, laser pointer.

Some experts recommend having duplicates of the Essentials in different sized kits: in pockets, on key rings, in pocket kits, belt pouches, belt packs, day packs, and backpacks.

Source: Trail Hiking Australia

So how long does it to get from point A to point B?

On any hike it is vitally important that you know how far the trail is and how long you anticipate the hike to take. Time and Distance Planning is particularly relevant when hiking with other people and over varied terrain.

Correct Time and Distance Planning involves having a good understanding of the different types of terrain and vegetation cover that will be traversed and the probable speed of the group.

Hike Schedule

  • Use the Naismith Law to estimate the time required for your hike. According to this law, a fit adult can cover 5 km of level ground per hour, and an extra hour should be added for every 600 m of uphill hiking.
  • Plan to end your hike two hours before sunset.
  • Select a gentle slope to go uphill. Avoid challenging yourself with a very steep or treacherous route right at the beginning.
  • The party’s entire load should be distributed among all members of the group, taking into account the strength of each member.

Is the group fit and fast or tired and slow? Consider the pace and energy level of the average walker – high energy after breakfast, slowing down to lunch, slight increase after lunch but getting gradually tired and slower late in the afternoon (especially after climbing up hill all afternoon). What packs are they carrying – light day packs or heavy overnight packs?

A guide as to how fast a group of average hikers (say 6) with overnight packs can travel.

1 kph – Climbing up a steep sloping spur with thick scrub

2 kph – Scrambling over large rocks along a steep sloping creek

3 kph – Walking down a steep sloping spur

4 kph – Walking along a flat track (this pace can be maintained all day)

5 kph – Walking with extra effort – Eg. Making an effort to catch the train

6 kph – Walking with considerable extra effort (only maintained for several minutes)

Modify pace according to:
Faster if – Fit, small light packs, less dense vegetation, flat ground, long legs, high energy levels, early in day,
Slower if – Unfit, heavy packs, thicker vegetation, steeper slopes, short legs, low energy levels, late in day, injuries/blisters,

To determine the expected time taken, divide the estimated distance travelled by the guesstimated pace of the group.

Eg. 2 kms to walk / 4 kph = 0.5 hr

Add up the times for each section of the hike, allow for rest periods (5 minutes/hr), tea breaks (additional 5 minutes every 2 hrs) to give a cumulative time for how long the walk is expected to take. Experience will fine-tune your guesstimating skills.

Schedule breaks

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to taking a break on the trail. Some hikers prefer regular breaks (such as every half hour) while others call for a break before or after a tough section of the trail, or in a cool, shady, or scenic spot. My suggestion is to allow for short rest periods of five minutes every hour. Leave your pack on so that your muscles don’t cool down as this makes it harder to get started again.

For lunch or tea breaks I would stop for a maximum of 15-20 minutes.

  • Never eat or drink while moving.
  • Relax to take refreshments. Don’t hurry your food or drink.

Finally, remember that most hikes are not races (unless you are on one of my hikes). Get wet to cool off if you’re getting hot. Unwind. Relax and take the time to observe and appreciate the natural beauty around you. Learn to look for the birds, plants and animals. They also need water and food to survive. Your observations may one day save your life.

Source: Trail Hiking Australia

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted to they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
      • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
      • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
      • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
    • In pristine areas:
      • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
      • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap.
  • Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
    Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
    Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
    Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
    Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

Copyright: The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

The Leave No Trace copyrighted Seven Principles, trademarked logo, associated artwork and texts are the property of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. With permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and under specific circumstances, the organization extends use of its logos and texts. 

Source: Trail Hiking Australia

All hikers should be armed with sufficient knowledge to avoid encountering unnecessary problems in the bush. Before adventuring off the beaten track, it is important to ensure you are well prepared with a hike safety plan and are carrying the correct safety equipment for all possible emergency situations.

We all need to consider hike safety and plan in advance a suitable route, clothing, equipment and food for our hiking party. Planning also ensures that we are aware of the skills of the group, potential difficulties or hazards and the accepted courses of action if and when problems arise.

The following links aim to provide important information to ensure you and your hiking party return safely from every hike.

Please feel free to comment and offer your own suggestions so that we can all be safer out there.

BE PREPARED WITH YOUR FREE eBOOKS

Trail Hiking Australia Free eBooks

ACCOMMODATION, DINING AND ADVENTURES

Undertaking this trek will be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Why not take a little extra time, before and after the trek, to reward yourself by dining and staying in the Mansfield-Mt Buller region. Indulge in the local food, wine and beer, explore historic towns and villages and soak up the local vibe that is an eclectic mix of creative art, music and tales borne of the mountains.

The Mansfield, Mount Buller region offers a range of accommodation options including self-contained houses, apartments, comfortable lodges, farm-stays, caravan parks and hotels, motels, resorts and retreats. Visit the accommodation section of the Mansfield-Mt Buller website for details, booking information and pricing.

MORE ABOUT THE BULLER HUTS TRAIL

4 Comments

  1. Anna Bransden 7 December 2017 at 10:12 - Reply

    Looks fabulous and I hope to do this Trail in 2018. Do we have to book campsites? Is there a fee to do the walk? National Park fee?
    Thanks for your amazing efforts.
    Anna

    • Darren Edwards 7 December 2017 at 10:43 - Reply

      Hey Anna, glad you are inspired to undertake this trek. I have tried to answer most questions under the FAQs section of this site. This can be accessed here: http://www.bullerhutstrail.com.au/about-the-trail/#faqs

      In answer to your questions though. As this is a self-guided trek the only expenses you will incur are your costs to get to and from the trail-head, your food, gear and any food and/or water drops that you decide to prepare. There are no costs for campsites, no fees payable to undertake this trek and no National Park entry fees to pay. Yay, pretty much free.

  2. Giles 11 December 2017 at 22:02 - Reply

    This looks so great and I’m looking forward to working up to it and giving it a go. Water procurement looks to be the biggest problem. In light of that, what season/month would you recommend going? Late spring?

    • Darren Edwards 12 December 2017 at 09:00 - Reply

      Glad you are looking forward to doing this. You can find answers to a lot of questions at http://www.bullerhutstrail.com.au/about-the-trail/#faqs
      In answer to this one, as far as the seasons are concerned, that all depends on your sense of adventure and experience. For 99% of people I would recommend that late spring or autumn are the best seasons to undertake this trek. That will ensure milder weather and will offer a greater chance of procuring water along the route.

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