Having just made the summit of Mt Feathertop, I wanted to share a few tips about how you too can conquer the beast that is THE RAZORBACK and summit Mt Feathertop.
1. Over prepare:
Over preparation is always the best. Don't decide to do a hike based on some inspirational Instagram photo a stranger posted online. Read up, ask people who have climbed it, visit information centers if you can.
When we were doing our research on the optional routes, one blogger recommended to make it a two day journey, but it was possible to do it in one. We analyzed the starting points, one being Harrretville and the other, Diamantina Hut. Because we were on a short schedule, we decided to attempt it in one go, but planned for the worst case scenario and made sure we brought our headlamps in the event that we didn't finish before the sunset.
It took us 7 hours roundtrip (that includes breaks, and photo taking, etc)
Summary: 3 hours to the final ascent, ascent took 30 minutes and was pretty much a vertical climb, and the return trip from the base of the summit to the car park was 2.5 hours without stopping.
We packed trail mix nuts, PB&J's, apples, avocados, bananas, protein drinks, and high carb bars. We had food left over and that was reassuring, and a nice treat on the long drive home.
Bring more water than you think you need. That seems to go without saying, I know, but during our hike we only saw two groups of people. One entire group had all run out of water (and these hikers we super experienced). The Alpine Region is known for having natural fresh water and some tanks at the huts, but there were some contamination issues a few years back. The woman at the information center in Bright told us to bring all the water we would need in our packs. My husband had a 3L camelback which we shared, and I had 1L bottle in my bag. Hubs ran out of water with a few 100 meters remaining, but that is mostly because we shared his pack due of the convince of the mouthpiece.
There is phone reception on Mt Feathertop, but that doesn't mean you should put all your eggs in one basket. Bring a hard copy of your map if you can. If your phone is your only source for taking photos or being connected in case of an emergency, bring an external battery charger to provide back up juice for your device.
4. Take your time:
It is 22km (13.6 miles) RETURN. That means it's 11km to the summit and then 11km to get back. If you decide to visit the Federation Hut, it's an additional 1km (500 meters each direction). I would highly recommend visiting the hut if you can.
5. Have fun: There are parts of the hike that sneak up and you are simply grueling. Talk rubbish with your mates or play a game, but keep the interactions going and the time really seems to go quickly through those rough patches.
6. Know when to take breaks: Remember to refuel and stretch. It is better to preempt the need for a mini break rather than waiting until it's too late.
7. Look UP: Much of The Razorback trail is rugged. So rugged in fact that there are long patches where you won't lift your eyes off the earth below your feet. Remember to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and look up ahead of you when the trail does smooth out and become easier to navigate.
8. Extras: Don't forget to bring a small roll of toilet paper, or wet wipes. I brought both. Also, pack a small trash bag. The mountain doesn't deserve to covered with half eaten apple cores, banana peels or used toilet paper.