Mt Fell / Mt Richmond Huts
Is anyone familiar with Mt Fell Hut & Mt Richmond Hut (and the tracks) in the Richmond Ranges? I'm pondering where to spend Queen's Birthday weekend and have my eye on going up Mt Richmond. I've got a couple of questions for anyone who may be familiar with the area: 1. Is there decent camping near the huts? Given that next weekend is a long weekend I'm not counting on getting a bunk, but from what I've seen online Mt Fell Hut has limited camping. 2. What is the ford like on the road leading to the Mt Richmond track (Top Valley Stream)? Is it actually 4WD only like DOC says, or would a normal car manage ok in normal conditions? Any info is much appreciated.
IIRC the area surrounding the hut is gently sloping downwards, and a lot of tussock grass. There might've been a flat patch above (west) of the hut - but again you'd probably be on top of tussock. Here's a few photo's when I was there https://imgur.com/a/gWBhKMX. and a picture from wildernessmag shows the slope & there is a tent pitched on a level part - https://wilderness-production.imgix.net/2016/11/Mt-Fell-Hut.web_.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&ixlib=php-1.2.1 There could be something at the old hut site (idk), but the hillside there could've been unstable or something, but many self proclaimed 'experts' in the hut book said it was fine.
The old fell hut site had no flat ground at all. Can't speak for the new one. Good camping at Richmond Saddle.
Crossing Top Valley Stream is definitely 4WD only. Staircase Stream just before is fine for 2WD. Unfortunately it's a boring 3kms up the 4WD road to the trailhead proper. Great track, medium grade that doesn't seem as steep as the 900-1000 meters vertical from Top Valley Stream would infer. Definitely summit Mount Richmond if weather permits. With a day pack expect 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes to summit. A fun day trip is to Mt. Fell hut and back in case you'd like 2 nights at Richmond Saddle.
Will second what every one has said re camping and stream crossing — 4WD is definitely best for getting to the top carpark. There is a lot of flat area around Richmond/Armchair Saddle hut but I seemed to remember quite a few stumps from the cleared bush. However, has been a fair few years since I was up there so @madpom probably has more current knowledge. The Fell Escarpment is definitely worth a look over the edge of if you have a head for heights.
Thanks for all the useful information folks. Not sure that I'll make it up there this long weekend after all given the average weather forecast, but definitely good stuff to know for future plans.
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