Mount Victor to Rumpff Saddle – AAWT

AAWT Stage 3 – Mount Victor to Rumpff Saddle, hiked in reverse (Rumpff Saddle to Mount Victor)

Written by Katka.

The beginning was depressing. We all – me, Lorelei and Jacob – had so many problems… I had a meeting with my supervisor which didn’t go well, even saying “go” still seems like too inadequate description. Jacob had to handle car shuffling and peak Friday traffic from the city… and Lorelei? Actually Lorelei was quite fine, except the fact that she had to interact with two miserable passengers in one car.

It was dark soon after we headed of. Then dinner and couple U-turns led us to a highway towards mountains. And to make the depression even deeper, radio in a car was possessed by a demon named TEL, who kept muting all music! We eventually gave up and decided to conversate. It was refreshing… At 12.30 am I was happily and tiredly putting up a tent at the caravan park in the village with Italian name Licola! And the sky! Oh my, have you seen the sky that night? Incredible! Amazing! Magnificent! I keep forgetting how breathtaking southern sky is!

The next morning was very slow, slower than the river behind the camping ground. Lorelei made a cowboy coffee, but the speed of our motion didn’t increase much. Luckily the car’s engine was working ok, because we still had to drive about 2 hours. Which also meant that TEL, the radio parasite, had something silent to tell us too…
Up in the mountains, after a few mis-navigation turnings Jacob made an executive decision to split the team: Lorelei will drop me and him at the beginning of our track, then park the car further down with our backpacks and walk towards us.

And so it started! So so so many months after my broken face accident, it was happening! I was hiking!!! Ehm, hiking… Turns out, our team is really good in making the wrong turns. First we thought that that descending is far too steep so we must be wrong. Couple minutes later we found ourselves again on the gravel road where we started, so we changed our statement: that steep hill was the right way! Fortunately there were some nice, very very nice views!


Here is a photographic proof that we really went down that down that crazy drop to Rumpf Saddle:


But walking back up that wall? Delicious! Especially when my water tasted like dishwashing liquid. (I was very thorough with washing the bottle 😉 Finally following the right track we met Lorelei again!!! So happy! Lorelei made for us some great navigation and life saving stick arrows, so finding the right way was ok, for approximately half an hour.

Then we did this:


And this:


Then again, we got confused by a fallen tree, but managed to stay on the track, all good. Plus we found a great log to sit on and have a lunch.
“So heavy!” Commented Lorelei with crackers in right hand and peanut butter in another, when looking at my wrap, avocado and cucumber. Afraid to bite, I gave them both a confused look. I thought I’m following their example with the food choice. (That’s what they had last time I hiked with them.)
“We’ve changed.” Concluded Jacob, biting his cracker + peanut butter ‘sawdust sandwich’.

And so they did, now only super light weight everything: no heavy hiking boots, one ultra light sleeping bag for both, and the lightest boring crackers for lunch. Anyway, invigorated, walked we again. It was hard difficult terrain, no views, no clear track, no sign of markers, just deepest deepest bush of wattles. We fought forcefully to find our way through towards, what we thought, was the right direction. And luckily, it was! After a hard descend, harder battle with the ants (one attacked Jake’s ankle) and even more harder combat with snapping yellow wattles everywhere… We found the river – Black River!


After a chat with 3 through hikers, we reunited with our dear Caroline and her dear friends Kelsey and Ian. It was a very tight camping spot, big for just about 3 tents.


It could have been the best of my day, a naked dip in the river, but it turned into the weirdest: Imagine, you’re in the piscine nature, fallen logs are framing the scene of clean stream running through the gum tree forest. A perfect place to wash off the wattles and refresh after the day of hiking. I walked a bit downstream, further from the ford near our campsite, to have some privacy. Cold water was energising my body and with a blissful smile I was lowering deeper and deeper in it… But suddenly: VVVVVRRRRRRRMMMM and VRRRM, VVVVVRRRRRRRMMMM! A motorcycle noise cut through the silence… WTF??? I thought, and quickly run towards the pile of my clothes. A second after I managed to put on my underwear a motorcycle passed me, and another one, another one, and another 7 or so… So the evening refreshing dip went well, the water went turbid…

It rained during the night, and I kept waking up wondering how crazy the rainstorm it is, how strong the bank is and how muddy everything will be if we’d slide down to the river… But it stopped in the morning, all good ☺ Standing breakfast was outstanding, as well as Caroline’s skills with packing the tent! I did enjoy the time with our friends.


Because Loz and Jake took their sleeping hours much more seriously I set up before them. The path by the river was up and down, beautiful and wet, but that hill afterwards? It juiced me to max! And in a state of drying sweaty and wet clothes Jake and Loz found me again. We successfully walked around the undefined track detour and then made one big wrong decision – we trusted the map! Well – I trusted the map, Jake trusted the cartographer (me) and Lorelei (although she did trust her not so sure intuition) trusted both of us. I and Jake had really great convincing arguments. And so we happily walked (not) following the Champion Spur Track. Couple turns didn’t make sense, true, but we always managed to ensure each other, that we’re doing good, that this is the right way, that AAWT is rubbish with marking the path anyway and that there are 3 versions of Champion Spur track in the map, so no stress!


Until – the ‘Burn camp track’ and than ‘McMillan track’ and then going steeply downhill what didn’t make any sense at all. Yeah, shit got real and we realised we were lost, like really – LOST. We tried not to panic and managed to call Lucie and made her panic. We used all of our devices, compass, maps, guides, senses, walking there and back, running there and back and eventually admitted – we made a mistake – we made a mistake 7 km ago!!! And now – burning afternoon heat is on, our water resources are reaching the bottom of our bottles and frustration scowls our mood. With a deep resignation we walked back, confused, tired and even when we already were on the right path, we didn’t believe it. The topo map was just wrong, wrong, not to be trusted…

Luckily, I had that heavy weight cucumber which saved us! And couple signs (like Mt Selma road) seemed right, even saw a marker! So because we are all fit and great friends, in the end we were cracking jokes! We have a saying in Czech: “If you don’t have it in your head, you have it in your legs.” And I can say now – that our legs certainly have it!
And then! There it was! I remember it like yesterday! Beautiful blue Camry, Caroline’s car – we were rescued! We were saved! We’ve done it! This is the end of the hike!!! We could sit down! Take off the boots, and socks, together with blisters! And quickly drive down to the Woods Point to get some DE-LI-CI-OUS the best NACHOS I ever had in my life! Oh my, the best of my day…

Have to confess – we didn’t make it to Mt Victor, but I believe, we walked twice as much.

Lessons taken from this trip? The cartographer is only as good as the map and vice versa. It’s VERY useful to have a smart phone and coverage and that taping the potential-blister zones before walking can save you a lot of pain! And yeah, Champion Spur track together with TEL are not our friends!!!


Trip summary

Total Ascending (TA): 1575m
Total Descending (TD): 1750m
Total Distance of AAWT completed (TKM): 33.5km
AAWT Points: ((TA+TD)/1000)*(TKM/10) = 11.14 points