All posts by bogholesbuckethats

Mt Weld

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

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Heading into the cutting grass. Emily in her anti-leech fortress.
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The final creek before the climb.
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Horizontal.
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The track through bauera, scoparia and all other things nice.
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Small tarn on the plateau.
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First view of Trout Lake.
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The outlet creek from unnamed tarn.
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Setting up camp.
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Unnamed tarn and our campsite.
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Pineapple grass below a rocky outcrop

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Looking towards the Jubilee Range.
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Looking back towards our campsite.
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Last rays of light on Weld Ridge.
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Looking over the Western Arthurs and Anne group.
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The south eastern highpoint from near the summit.
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Blue light on the way back down.

Reynolds Falls

I had heard very little about this waterfall, but when I saw it pop up on the Pandani program and that it was being led by AB we decided to join.  The plan was to walk to the campsite on day 1, spend day 2 walking with day packs to the waterfall, and to walk out on day 3.  The weather forecast for the weekend was hot; temperatures around 30 degrees, with the chance of rain and a thunderstorm on the final day.

Day 1: Our party of 7 left Cradle Lodge just after 9am and made our way onto the Speeler Plains, the last section of the Penguin/Cradle Trail.  It was already starting to get hot, so we spent little time out in the open and headed towards the forest.  Once you have traversed the buttongrass fields of Speeler Plains, the track to Reynolds Falls can be found off the left of the main track-about 5.8kms from the Cradle Lodge. The track then descends down an old four wheel drive track that crosses Fleece Creek, which is a good spot to have a break and refill water bottles.  From here the track climbs slightly, winding through dry forest and buttongrass fields, before a rock cairn on the right hand side indicates the start of Ossie’s Track to Reynolds Falls.  After passing over a couple of small creeks and pandani groves we bumped into the other two members of our group- Marie and Anna-who had camped further along the Penguin-Cradle trail at Fourways the night before and had planned to meet us along the track.  We continued on for another 10-15 minutes across large open plains covered in coral fern, before finding a shaded spot to have some lunch.

The track then enters open myrtle forest and descends rapidly towards Tumbling Creek, passing by a nice unnamed waterfall along the way.  We decided to name this falls Numbum falls as AB slipped straight onto his arse while crossing the slippery rock.  Descending through the forest can be particularly difficult, especially when wet, and finding the next blaze or ribbon can sometimes be tricky as a number of trees have fallen over the track.   This section of forest is pretty special; I have since heard it referred to as Cloud Forest, as the higher altitude limits growth of the understory, leading to a thick canopy of myrtle branches over an open forest floor that is only home to a patchwork of ferns. We reached Tumbling Creek 5 and a half hours after leaving the Lodge, and had made it to our campsite on a spur above Tumbling Creek shortly after.   There were a number of descent spots to pitch a tent, and a small creek about 100m metes further along the track provided an adequate source of water for us all.

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GPS track.

 

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Mt Beecroft from Speeler Plain.
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Fleece Creek.
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Walking along the 4wd track.
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Pandani Grove.
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White flowers cover the plains.
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Coral Ferns
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Descending Cloud Forest.
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Heading up from Tumbling Creek.

 

Day 2:  Expecting a shorter day than the previous, we didn’t get going until just after 9.  We passed the creek that we used to get fresh water, and the track then climbs up before contouring another spur. We followed a pad marked by blazes and ribbons down towards another potential campsite a couple of hours past our own, with room for a couple of tents and a descent water source nearby.  Much of the walk down to the falls was fairly similar and there was little to look at except a number of large trees and the occasional glimpse of the western-most slopes of Mt Beecroft.  The track then drops very steeply down to the Vale River, which we reached just over 3 hours after leaving camp.

It was very warm and we didn’t hesitate to jump into one of the many rock pools and cool off. After sufficient paddling, a few of us ventured further up the creek to the base of the falls and had a quick swim in the large and seemingly deep bowl where the water lands. Unfortunately, I was unable to take my camera up this far as it required some swimming, but I would highly recommend checking this out if the water level is low.  We spent the next 2 or so hours relaxing and taking in the view, before heading back the way we came. From the campsite it was approximately 9.5kms return in a comfortable 8 hours (including all stops).

 

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Reynolds Falls.

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Vale River downstream of the falls.
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Face in the tree.

 

Day 3: We were all packed and ready by 7am so that we could get the steep walk back up through Cloud Forest out of the way before things really started to heat up. By the time we reached the Fleece Creek crossing, it had really started to heat up and so we made the most of the last bit of cool, running water before crossing the exposed Speeler Plains.  We reached the Lodge just shy of 6 hours and were getting stuck into the refreshments and burgers before long. All up, this was a great trip over a very hot weekend. Although this trip would be possible to do over two days or even as a very long day trip, I would recommend taking your time and really taking in the waterfall.  It would have to be one of the best I have been to in Tasmania and was particularly good on a hot day.

All up: 29.4kms with 1703m ascent.

Cradle Mountain Lodge to Start of Ossies Track: 5.8kms in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Start of Ossies Track to Tumbling Creek: 3.8kms in 3 hours (with lunch break)

Campsite to Reynolds Falls: 4.7kms in 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Getting there:  Drive to the Cradle Mountain Lodge and park in the carpark across the road at the interpretation centre.  The track can be found by following the signs to the Pencil Pine Track.

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Ursula and Marie above “Numbum” Falls.
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10 minutes before a beer and some lunch.

Mt Campbell

Abel#87; 1248m.

Australia Day long weekend had been set aside to join a Pandani Club walk to Reynolds Falls. Instead of leaving Hobart early in the morning, we decided to drive up after work and stay the night in the Cradle Mountain area.  This gave us good opportunity to bag a peak and we decided on Mt Campbell, as it’s a short walk and has an excellent view of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake.

We arrived at the Dove Lake carpark around 7pm and made our way around the eastern side of the lake and followed all directions to Hansons Peak.  Instead of walking to the saddle between Mt Campbell and Hansen Peak, we decided to head up a rocky scree a bit earlier in order to save a few minutes.  This was a mistake and most likely took a little longer than just going the regular way.  Once at the saddle head left and follow one of many paths that snake through the fagus and up towards the peak.  Once you get to the rocky scree there is only one main path that can be followed all the way to the top.  We stopped for sometime about halfway up as the sun was setting and lighting up Cradle Mountain in a yellow/orange glow.  The flat and unimpressive summit was our next target and we reached the heap of rocks that is the highpoint (~40 minutes after leaving the carpark).

All up: 4.1kms in an easy 1 hour and 40 minutes with 318m ascent.

Getting there: Follow all directions to Cradle Mountain and drive to the Dove Lake carpark.  Once at the lake, walk around the eastern side and follow directions towards Hansons Peak.  At the saddle, turn left and follow the pad up to the summit.

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GPS track.
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Emily on the way up.
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Near the top.
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Taking in the view.
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Sun setting over Marions Lookout.
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Golden hour.
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The summit cairn.

Mt Ossa

Abel #1; 1617m

Summiting Tasmania’s highest mountain had been on my mind for a very long time, but the thought of getting there and then not caring about climbing any others was a slight concern.  However, after experiencing some of the wide variety and variable difficulty  of other mountains in Tasmania, this was unlikely to be the case. We had decided to do it in style, and walk in-and-out in a day from the Arm River Track.  A number of online sources stated that it would take around the 12 hour mark, so we were keen to get an early start and be back on the road to Hobart before too late.

We arrived at the carpark at 9:30pm the night before and were surprised to see a number of cars parked, there given the weather had been pretty average over the last few days. After a quick check of daypacks and food, alarms were set for 5:30 and a restless night ensued.

We were on the track by 6:20am and made our way up the zigzag track to the western rim of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair NP.  We reached Lake Price in 50 minutes, slightly wet from the dew covered bushes that were encroaching on the track.  In an attempt to reduce weight and increase comfort we had opted not to wear gaiters and only pack the bare minimum, not including my tripod, which I had instantly regretted when we arrived at the lake.  The next 15 minutes were spent taking a number of photos of the lake and Mt Pillinger.  From here the track descends into open myrtle forests, before crossing a small creek and onto clear marshland.  Another small tarn is passed before heading south, down into the forest and towards Lake Ayr.  The registration box can be found near the start of Lake Ayr and it also indicates the hard to see intersection with the Lees Paddocks Track.

It was then onto New Pelion Hut where we had a quick snack and avoided the hoards of miserable looking people (this might have been due to the rain the previous day or the fact that they had to sleep in a hut with 40 or so other people). We had arrived there in just under 3 hours and were making pretty good time, even with the extended stop at Lake Price.  The walk up to Pelion Gap consisted of overtaking large groups of people and Emily taking a slip on a tree root.  Fancy new steps, similar to the grippy plastic stuff that we saw on the way to Vera Hut, had been installed on the first part of the ascent to Mt Doris and made for quick climbing.  The track then contours the southern side of Mt Doris on some very nice rock work that weaves around cushion plants and scoparia, before dropping down into a saddle before the first rock scramble.  Unfortunately we were following a couple in front of us, and hadn’t paid attention to the ski poles marking the way; this meant that we went straight up the chute and had to a climb up a fairly exposed section of rock instead of the somewhat less airy route on the right hand side.

The track then dips again slightly, before the last little climb to the plateau and on to the mass of boulders that is the true highpoint. Hail had started to fall as we reached The Pools of Icarus and we sought shelter from the wind on a large rock on the northern side of the boulders, looking towards Cradle Mountain and Mt Oakleigh.  After a bite to eat and losing half my chocolate bar down a deep crevasse between the boulders, we made our way back down towards New Pelion Hut.  About 15 minutes before reaching the hut we made a quick detour to check out a track that leads down to Douglas Creek beside the track.  We were delighted to find a couple of very nice little waterfalls that were flowing quickly, and again made me regret not having a tripod.  From here we basically walked straight out, with only a couple of short stops to get a snack or stretch the legs.  We were happy to have made it back in just over 11 hours and for the most part, in pretty good condition except for a sore knee and a bit of sun burn.

All up: 39.2kms in 11 hours and 9 minutes with 1660m ascent.

Start of the track to Lake Price – 50 min, 3.2kms

Lake Price to New Pelion Hut – 1 hour and 55 minutes,  8.8kms

New Pelion Hut to Pelion Gap – 1 hour,  4.4kms

Pelion Gap to Ossa summit – 1 hour 15 minutes, 2.8kms

Ossa summit to carpark – 5 hours and 18 minutes 19.5kms

Getting there: Access to the Arm River Track is off the Mersey Forest Road.  Follow the Mersey Forest Road past the dam and continue until the road becomes dirt.  Shortly after, take a right up Arm River Road and continue for 3kms past the old Arm River Outdoor Education Centre.  The road then forks and you need to turn left onto Maggs Road as the bridge on Arm River Road is down. Follow Maggs Road for 13kms until you reach a pile of dirt.  Take a left again and follow this road for about 1km to the carpark.

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GPS track.
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First light as we reach the rim of the plateau.
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Mt Pillinger from Lake Price.
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Myrtle oranges everywhere.
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Lake Ayr and Mt Oakleigh.
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Mt Oakleigh.
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Pelion East and the new track.
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Rock steps.
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Local wallaby.
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Looking back down the chute that we mistakingly took.
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Pools of Icarus.
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Getting cricket scores on the highest rock in Tassie.
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Looking south. Too many mountains to name.
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Looking towards the southern end of Ossa.
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Cushion plants near Mt Doris.

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Small waterfall on Douglas Creek
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Open walking near the Lees Paddock intersection.

Mt Tyndall

Abel #112;1179m

We were still camped by Lake Rosebery and it had been raining on and off for most of the night, showing no signs of stopping.  After flicking through The Abels Vol 2. we were keen to do a longer walk in the area, but decided against it due to the lack of visibility and the likelihood of spending half a day wet and cold.  Having done Murchison the previous day, we were left with climbing Tyndall or driving down to Queenstown and summiting Jukes or Owen.  I had always been interested in doing the Tyndall Range and so we decided to go and check out the first part of it.

The road by the highway leads to a locked boom gate, but has room for a number of cars.  Follow the road past the boom gate and continue across a bridge before reaching a road on the left that follows the powerlines.  Continue along this road for a few hundred meters and you will reach the registration box.  The start of the track follows a boggy, overgrown section that makes its way up towards the short section of forest, where the climb begins and is pretty relentless until you reach the Tyndall Plateau.  A number of small creeks are passed along the way, as well as large conglomerate boulders that provide a good place to stop and catch your breath.

Once we reached the plateau we turned north and followed a faint pad up towards the summit.  The visibility was low and there was no distinct summit, so we walked to what we thought was the highest point and had a quick bite to eat.  The wind was blowing the low lying cloud up and over the cliffs on the north eastern of the summit; before long, we started to get cold and decided to head back down to the car.

Even in poor visibility it was clear that this is a very beautiful mountain range with excellent camping, and I am looking forward to getting back here for a few days.  The way back down was much quicker and we reached the car in 1 hour and 20 minutes, unfortunately I had left the lights on and we had to spend almost 2 hours sitting in the car waiting for a friend to come and give us a jump.

All up 7kms in 3hours and 10 minutes with 696m ascent.

Getting there: Coming from Queenstown, follow the Zeehan Highway (A10) until you reach Anthony Road on you right.  Follow Anthony road for 10.8kms and you will see a dirt road on the right hand side with a pile a tyres.  Note that this road is a few hundred meters before you drive over Tyndall Creek.

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GPS track.
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A small creek to cross on the powerlines track.
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Emily heading uphill after leaving the scrub.
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Lots of water coming down.
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The north eastern cliffs under cloud.
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Starting to feel the cold.

Mt Murchison

Abel #73; 1275m

We were camping with a group of friends on the shores of Lake Rosebery and managed to convince them to head up to Mt Murchison with us.  In hindsight, it was probably not the best walk for those with very little bushwalking experience-not to mention with a fear of heights.  We left our campsite and drove a short distance to the start of the track.

The well cleared track starts off by climbing up through teatree forests, before the bush thins out and reveals the glaciated cliffs and small lakes that occupy the main ‘bowl’.  The track then continues along a ridge before climbing steeply to the north.  Unfortunately we had to leave one of our friends before the steepest section, as she did not think she could make it back down due to a fear of heights. Luckily, the skies were clear and the view towards the east was very easy on the eyes.

A couple of small creeks and nearby tarns are passed on the way up and would be an excellent place to camp; however, some sections of this track are pretty exposed and would require extra care in adverse weather.  The trig can be seen a few hundred meters away after climbing up through a small rocky chute and requires you to drop back down on the western side of the ridge before following a large rock slab straight up to the top.

All up 6.3kms in 4 hours and 25 minutes with plenty of breaks for those less experienced and 774m ascent.

Getting there: Drive along Anthony Road  and you will see a sign indicating  start of the track.  There is a sign on on both sides of the road and there are a number of spots for cars to pull over.  The start of the track is closer to the Tullah end of the road and about a 10 minute drive from the town centre.

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GPS track.
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Climbing up one of the steeper sections.
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Conglomerate rocks and Eldon Peak.
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Looking down into the ‘bowl’ from near the summit.
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Heading back down the more exposed section.
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Interesting rocks.
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Blue skies and green fagus.

Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff

Well-over a month had passed since the previous walk in Tas, and we were keen to get some longer days in before attempting Ossa in a day.  Originally we were thinking about heading to Lake St Clair and climbing Rufus, Hugel and maybe Little Hugel, depending on the time; but we ended up canning that idea and sticking to something a bit closer to home.

We had attempted to summit Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff on a very wet and windy day last winter (Mt Chapman and Burgess Bluff (almost) , but were forced to turn around at Square Tarn due to blizzard like conditions and a very high chance of walking back in the dark if we had kept going.  This day was a much more enjoyable 23 degrees, with light winds and barely any cloud cover, and I was keen to see what the area actually looked like.

We arrived at the the track just after 9:00am and left the car at 9:25am.  The start of the track follows an old logging track that is now overgrown with cutting grass and other small trees, before making its way into the bush after about 5 minutes.  From here, its basically straight up through the forest and over a bunch of fallen trees-but for the most part, it is easy to follow. Additionally, it looks as though someone has been through fairly recently and retagged the route with pink ribbon.  After about 50 minutes the forest starts to thin out and you can start to see Mt Picton across the valley.  This area is mainly heathland, with a track running through the middle. When we were here last in winter, that same track was basically a knee high creek and we were forced to wade through it;  this time there was a significantly less water, and apart from a few large bog holes we managed to stay relatively dry.  It is a bit scrubby through here though, so a long sleeve shirt and pants isn’t a bad idea-but it is over fairly quickly.

It was then onto the first plateau, where the scrub clears up and pad makes its way towards Square Tarn.  This is one of my favourite sections, as not only is it full of wild flowers but on one side you can see Mt Chapman and Mt Picton, while on the other side you can see Hartz, Esperance, Adamson’s and Bobs.  Large rock formations begin to appear, and the track takes you right along the side of one before reaching a small and hard to see junction.  We decided to head to Square Tarn to refill our drink bottles and have a quick snack; this was a good idea, as there was very little water for the rest of the walk apart from a few stagnant ponds on Abrotanella Rise.   Two hours had passed since we left the car and we now had to make our way up to the saddle.  I had heard that there was a faint pad that heads up from Square Tarn and rejoins the main track on the left hand side of Abrotanella Rise; we managed to find some sort of track but ended up having to scrub bash our way back across.  I would recommend back tracking to the junction and heading up from there to avoid any unnecessary scrub.

About halfway up, the track pretty much disappears and it’s up to you to find the easiest way up on the southern side. We reached the top of Abrotanella 40 minutes after leaving Square Tarn then headed south to climb Burgess Bluff first.  The walking here was easy and we were careful not to tread on the hundreds of flowers and cushion plants that dot the area.  I later found out that a number of the landmarks around here are named after the abundant flora that grow in the area; for example abrotanella is the genus of cushion plants, Pineapple Flat is named after Pineapple Grass (Astelia alpina) and Hewardia Ridge is named after the Tasmanian Purple Star (Isophysis tasmanica), which is also called Hewardia.

We first made our way across Anderson Bluff to avoid the scrub on the eastern side, then found a cairned route across to the summit of Burgess Bluff.  We had some lunch and took in the views of Mt Bobs and PB to the south and Federation Peak to the south west.  It was then back the way we came, and across Abrotanella Rise to the base of Mt Chapman.  We passed a number of nice spots to camp below the rocky scree on the southern face of Mt Chapman, but unfortunately there is almost no water near here in the dryer months and it would require carrying what you need up from Square Tarn.  We came across a cairned route about halfway up Chapman but overall it was an easy rock hop to the top.  Looking north-west from the summit you could see all the way up to The Thumbs and Mt Field West, but it was Mt Weld that really caught my eye.  On the way back down we bypassed Square Tarn and took the much quicker, direct route across the plateau.

All up: 19.2kms in a leisurely 8hours and 12 minutes with 1134m ascent and plenty of stops for photos.

Carpark to Square Tarn – 5.4kms in 2:20.

Square Tarn to Abrotanella Rise – 1.2kms in 36min.

Abrotanella Rise to Burgess Bluff (via Anderson Bluff) – 2.2kms in 53min.

Burgess Bluff to Mt Chapman – 3.2kms in 1:15.

Mt Chapman to Carpark – 7.1kms in 2:32

 

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GPS route.
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Christmas Bells everywhere as we leave the forest.
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Still some water on the track as we enter the heath.
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Mt Picton from across the valley.
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The scrubby section.
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Mt Chapman from the first plateau.
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Interesting rock formation.  The track passes right beside one of these.
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Looking back from where we came.
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Reflections on Square Tarn.
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Snack spot by Square Tarn.
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In the scrub after leaving Square tarn.
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Mt Chapman from Abrotanella Rise.
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Looking at Burgess Bluff, Mt Bobs and Precipitous Bluff from Anderson Bluff.
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Lunch on Burgess Bluff.  Federation Peak behind.
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Federation Peak.
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Heading back up Anderson Bluff, Lake Burgess behind.
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Cushion plants on Abrotanella Rise.
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Mt Chapman.

 

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Nice camp spots below Mt Chapman, but no fresh water nearby.
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Looking back at Anderson Bluff and Burgess Bluff from Mt Chapman.
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A wedgie joins us on the summit.
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Tasmanian Purple Star (Hewardia) – Isophysis tasmanica
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Lake Burgess.