Mt Field West; 1435m; Abel #24.
Almost a month had passed since our last walk up to Nevada and Snowy South; I’d been checking the weather all week and Sunday looked like it was going to be a good day for a longer walk. Up until now, I hadn’t actually been to Mt Field when the tows weren’t running, and the snow was deep enough to need snow shoes or seal skins. We arrived at the Lake Dobson carpark around 9am and quickly set off towards the ski fields along the Urquhart track. Shortly after, we reached the 4WD track that zig zags its way up towards the ski fields and continued up until we reached the start of the Snow Gum track. The weather was as forecast- blue skies and no wind what so ever. As we started to climb up along the Rodway Range cloud started to make its way up the valley, obscuring the nearby peaks and lakes. Pockets of snow that had survived the previous days sun had started to melt and there was plenty of fresh water on and around the track.
The walk along the Rodway Range involves a bit of rock scrambling and was made more exciting by the frozen puddles that displayed interesting patterns of frozen ice. We then started to descend towards the K. Col. hut and a break in the cloud revealed Naturalist Peak and Mt Field West. Just before the hut you will reach a junction that marks the start of the Newdegate Pass track on your right. We continued straight and made our way up and along the ridge that leads to Mt Field West, with a small detour to the summit of Naturalist Peak.
Unfortunately the view from the summit was pretty average due to the low lying cloud surrounding it and everything else around it. While eating lunch we started chatting with a guy who had walked in carrying a full ~70L pack full of photography equipment, including a drone that he was going to use to shoot a promo for Parks and Wildlife. This was the second time he had walked in in as many days and both times the cloud cover was too great. We also chatted with a German guy who had spent the night in the Newdegate Hut and advised us not to ever stay in there, as it’s probably warmer if you sleep outside.
Having made it to the top of Mt Field West in 3 hours and 15 minutes we decided to take a small detour back through Newdegate Pass and The Tarn Shelf instead of walking back along the Rodway Range. We followed Newdegate Pass past The Watcher and down towards Newdegate Lake, where we checked out the cold and crappy hut that smelt like possum piss and took lots of photos of the yellowing Nothofagus gunnii. The lack of wind the entire day made for a nice walk despite the cloud cover, and provided some nice reflections in the lakes and small tarns along The Tarn Shelf. The track made its way back up towards the main ski fields, where we rejoined the Snow Gum Track and made our way back down towards Lake Dobson. The walk out from Mt Field West via Newdegate Pass and The Tarn Shelf took 4 hours and 15 minutes.
All up 23.9km in 7 hours and 32 minutes with plenty of stops for photos.
Getting there: Getting to Mt Field National Park is very easy. From Hobart follow directions to New Norfolk, here is a good place to stop for additional supplies. Continue past New Norfolk towards Maydena and Lake Pedder, the turn off to Mt Field is on the right hand side between Westbury and Maydena. To get to Lake Dobson continue past the visitors centre and follow the dirt road for 20kms until you reach the end of the road. Chains may be required in winter after decent snow but road access is dependant on the availability of the grader used to clear the road.