Abel #56; 1344m
Mt Weld had been on the to do list for some time; I’d first taken an interest in it while walking along Nevada Peak, and noted it’s apparent isolation around some more well-known mountains and mountain ranges. The original plan for this week was to traverse the Western Arthurs, but unfortunately a persistent knee injury and a pretty average weather forecast prevented that from happening.
The walk begins at a collapsed bridge on Isabella Creek and follows the South Weld Road for just over a kilometre. The road then turns sharply to the left and a taped stick in front of a wall of cutting grass indicates the start of the track. This old bulldozer track is now overgrown with high cutting grass, and a number of fallen trees slow progress. Between sections of cutting grass the track passes by large eucalypts, as well as a number of small streams. Overall it is well marked with ribbon and relatively easy to follow to the Trout Lake outlet creek. This is the last source of decent water for a while so it is recommended to fill up here before starting the long climb.
Once the Trout Lake outlet creek has been traversed, the track then passes briefly through some horizontal forest before climbing very steeply through Tea Tree and Dogwood forests and along a ridge line. There is no defined track for most of this section and locating the next coloured ribbon can be tricky at times. As you climb higher, large eucalyptus are replaced by old myrtles and sassafras, and before long pandani and snow gums begin to appear. This is probably the worst section of track as it is very overgrown and poorly marked; we spent a character-building hour or so pushing through bauera, scoparia and pandani while still climbing up towards the campsite. Eventually the track levels off, before dropping slightly to a nice alpine moor with a number of small ponds. From here the coloured ribbons disappear, and you need to follow a faint pad across the moorland. Views of Trout Lake and the skeletal remains of snowgum are a nice change from the scrub that made up the last hour of walking.
The plan here is to walk (in a south westerly direction) towards the outlet creek of the unnamed tarn above Trout Lake. As far as I could tell, there was no distinct pad from here and we just followed the clearest line up towards the tarn along the creek. The western side of the creek seems to be more open-however the rocks are slippery when wet. Once up on the plateau, there are a number of decent camp sites on the southern side of the tarn. After a wet, scrubby climb we decided to have some dinner before heading up to the summit for sunset. As outlined in the Abels Vol.2, head up on the northern end of the creek outlet and follow the easiest route up towards the eastern highpoint. We came across a few cairns along the way, but for the most part we just followed the most obvious path along the boulders. As we climbed higher we were treated with a light show from the fading sun trying to pierce through the cloud. Rays of light lit up parts of the Anne group and the Gallagher Plateau, as well as the Western Arthurs. To reach the summit you need to drop back down along a nice, but windy, alpine plateau before a short climb to the summit of Mt Weld. Remnants of an old trig were scattered around the highpoint, and unfortunately the clouds rolled in just as we reached the top. We then walked back to our camp and settled in for the night.
My alarm was set early to catch the sunrise, but the cloud was so thick that I didn’t get to see anything and opted to stay in bed. Intermittent rain and strong gusts of wind were another good reason to stay in the tent longer than planed. A break in the rain gave us enough time to pack up and cook some breakfast in the cold before heading back down the way we came.
Walking back was a pretty painful affair as my supposedly good knee must have had enough of making up for the dodgy one and decided to go about 10 minutes after leaving camp. I resorted to walking down backwards on the steeper sections as I couldn’t bend it all and was forced to drag it over the numerous obstacles strewn across the track. The last few kms through the cutting grass weren’t much better as the lack of foot lifting meant that I would constantly get snagged on loose strands. Apart from that it was an excellent trip and lived up to the expectations. Unfortunately I will have to take some time off doing some of the more strenuous walks as I wait for surgery on my knee, it might be a good chance to go and check out some waterfalls or buy a packraft…
Getting there: Follow direction as outlined in the Reuben Falls Post.
All up 23.3kms with 1511m ascent.
Carpark to Trout Lake outlet creek crossing – 4.8kms in just under 2 hours.
Creek crossing to campsite on unnamed tarn – 5.2kms in ~4 hours
Campsite to summit – 1.4kms in 1 hour
Campsite to carpark – 10.2kms in a painful 6 hour and 15 minutes