This was another walk organised by the PWC, and a chance to catch up with friends.
We had a couple of options when it came to how we would tackle this one. Option one was an up and back starting with Cathedral Rock, then onto Montagu Thumbs and finishing with Mt Montagu. Option two-the more exciting option-was a circuit where would head up to Mt Montagu as per option one, but then head down towards Wellington Falls and cross the North West Bay River twice before heading back to the cars.
We arrived at the Betts Road carpark shortly after 8 and the group (9 in total) set off. Having had walked parts of these tracks on my own, I knew what was ahead and prepared myself for the annoying zig-zag track that leads to the start of the Cathedral Rock climb.
By the time we reached the top of the zigzag track, the previous nights’ snow was becoming more apparent, and from here on in we practically didn’t see the sun for the rest of the day. We had a quick snack on top of Cathedral but decided to move on, as we were expecting a decent days walk ahead of us. On the way to Montagu Thumbs the snow started to fall, transforming the whole place into a scene out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I wasn’t familiar with this section of the track and we passed a number of false summits on the way to Montagu Thumbs; however I’m sure on a clear day you wouldn’t have this problem. We stopped for some lunch on the fairly unimpressive highpoint of Montagu Thumbs, and decided that we would take option two and continue on to Wellington Falls. Shortly after, we reached the old Montagu fire-trail and made a quick detour up to the summit on Mt Montagu. The cloud was too thick to see any nearby peaks but the climb up was still an enjoyable scramble.
We made our way down toward Wellington Falls, where we would have to cross the North West Bay River for the first time. Luckily there wasn’t too much water coming down and we found a pretty good spot to jump across. After a quick stop for a snack at the Wellington Falls lookout, we continued down towards the Siphon Track which would take us straight down to the North West Bay River. Anyone who has walked down the Siphon Track knows how steep and slippery it can be, and this day was no exception. Having walked it only a couple of weeks earlier I had said to myself that I would not do it again in a hurry. Unfortunately I was not interested in taking the long way round and followed everyone else to the bottom. No serious injuries to be reported, but plenty of near misses, skids and uncontrolled falling.
We then crossed over the North West Bay River for a second time and followed the Cathedral Rock Track back to the cars. Unfortunately the batteries in my GPS died just after crossing the river so I don’t have the exact distance and time taken but it should be pretty close.
All up: ~16kms in a bit over 9 hours with plenty of stops and 1176m ascent.
Getting there: There are many ways to walk to Mt Montagu but we started from Betts Road. To get here drive along Huon Road until you reach the junction with Leslie Road. If you are coming from Longley, Betts Road will be immediately on the left after you pass the Leslie Road Turn off.