Sunday, 16 October 2016

Mt Jukes

14th - 15th October 2016

Mt Jukes

Day 1
After driving to Queenstown from near Hobart, I met up with a few mates who were in town for the Unconformity Festival and had a good catch up while I waited for Nick to arrive from Launceston. When he did, we went for some late lunch and then shoved enough stuff into some packs for a cheeky overnight visit to the nearby Abel; Mt Jukes. We left Queenstown around 3pm and drove 20 minutes along Mount Jukes Road to the high-point of the road, and start of our semi off track walk. The terrain was very eye opening and a real hoot to walk on. Large open volcanic rocky slabs interspersed with low scrub and a very steep incline made for two happy mountain climbers as elevation was gained quickly and expansive views admired. After around 50 minutes we had attained the top of a glacial cirque some 400 metres higher than were the car was parked. Here we found a fairly well trodden path marked with cairns which we followed around the cirque, gaining a bit more elevation and suddenly the small peak north of Jukes; Proprietary Peak. From here it was a doddle to the summit trig, a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes after leaving the car. The summit has very rewarding views, with the West Coast range was a stand out, as well as the Frenchmans group, and The Eldon Range. The wind was fierce, so we headed around 200m from the summit to a suitable camp spot. A few card games were had and then bed as soon as the sun went down.

Getting stuff ready!

Looking towards Mt Huxley and Mt Owen.

The car looks so teeny!

The summit of Jukes towering above the cirque.

Look at that amazing geology!

Stunning location for a cairn.

Stunning location for a Nick.

A truly interesting summit. So volcanic lookin'.

Day 2
"Zane!" I heard at 1:20am. The wind was so strong that it destroyed Nick's tent (a classic Wilderness Equipment beast, that had just had one too many nights use). I helped him pack up his gear in the howling wind and we set him up under a nearby rock overhang. It was out of the wind and I ended up being very jealous when I went back to my tent and had to put up with the constant noise. Luckily the night was clear, otherwise it would have been a snug snooze in my single man tent.

We next got out of bed to watch the sun rise over the many mountains east of us. A beautiful sight and the main reason we wanted to sleep up on Mt Jukes in the first place. After sunrise, we had a quick breakfast and then walked down to the car. On the way back we explored and old mine shaft, some 50m in there was a huge vertical shaft that I couldn't see the top of with my head-torch. We then went back into Queenstown for another breakfast and a day filled with arts, music, friends, and beer; a great way to finish off a great week.

Sunrise over Lake Burbury.

The King William Range and the Frenchmans Cap group. Sexy.

Nick's home away from home away from home.

93 left.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Adamsons Peak

13th October 2016

Adamsons Peak

With the roaring sound of water I awoke at the Esperance River picnic ground having spent the night there after driving down from Hobart the previous day. Not long after I exited my tent a local woman by the name of Sharon walked through the semi-flooded rest area looking for a lost dog; I hadn’t seen him. Queue half an hour later and I had a very bedraggled but happy pup scrounging around my campsite (presumably lured by the scent of baked beans cooking), I put him on some rope and walked up the road the direction Sharon had walked off, not too long after the pair were re-united and Sharon gave me her phone number with the promise of a coffee back in Dover that afternoon.

Now to climb a mountain. Only a few kilometres up the road is where the track to Adamsons Peak leave. Viewed from Dover it is a very impressive mountain, likened to Mt Fuji in Japan for its triangular profile. The sign at the trail head states 7-10 hours return, so I prepared for a big day. The walk starts on easy boardwalk, leading to an old forestry bridge from the 1920’s complete with a few interpretation boards tell tales of times gone by. The track then heads up through lush rainforest studded with huge old growth Eucalyptus; perfect habitat for Lyrebirds, which I heard many and even saw one! After 45 minutes I reached the aptly named Manuka Flats, a welcome pause to the steady uphill, even if it was classic Tea Tree scrub complete with plenty of Cutting Grass, Baura, and mud. Another 45 minutes of up before I suddenly poked out on the large sandstone shelf that sits beneath Adamsons. Here lays the remains of an old fire hut from the 1950’s, and the first proper close up look at the Abel. After a short rest I continued towards the clouded summit, passing some amazing grassland that reminded me of “The Dead Marshes” from Lord of the Rings! The track turned to scree covered in snow as I approached the top, and to my great relief when I arrived at the impressive summit cairn a window of semi-fine weather broke through the sleet and fog! I ate a quick lunch in the freezing wind and then sauntered back down. The walk down was beautiful but uneventful, and I returned to my car after 5 hours of walking. Easy peasy.

When I was back in Dover, I called Sharon and she made good on the promise of coffee. Zog (the dog) had been to the vet and was in good health after his 12 day walk in the southern forests!

Adamsons Peak viewed from Dover.


Pfft! More like 5 hours return!

Native Laural doin' its thing.

The old fire lookout.

Great looking mountain. Very sexy.

Dead Marshes.

Looking west from the summit, super windy!

The spiralling summit cairn, all frozen over.

94 left.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Mt Wellington's Three

10th – 11th October 2016

Mt Marian
Trestle Mountain
Collins Bonnet

Day 1
I drove south after doing some boring adulty things in Launceston and met Shelly (my friend, fellow Abel climber, and Spires Adventure Buddy) at the car park to the beautiful Myrtle Creek just beyond the rolling green dales of Collinsvale. We quickly got ourselves ready as a slight amount of sleet fell on us, all the while having a chat to a local who was walking his dog. We set off up the trail the leads to a beautiful cascade, complete with a viewing platform. After that, the track went steadily uphill through lush fern forest and towering swamp gums. After about an hour we reached the fire trail that we needed to follow in order to get to our first Abel, Mt Marain. We followed the fire trail for 30 minutes to the base of Trestle Mountain, and left the bulk of our gear stashed in the scrub there. We planned on coming back to this point to spend the night. Another 30 minutes of fire trail walking and we arrived at the trail head up Mt Marian. Snow had started to fall as we squished our way through the soggy trail. It took us about 40 minutes to get to the boulder strewn summit studded with low Snow Gum scrub where the view opened up wonderfully for us and we could see the next two Abels on our list; Trestle Mountain and Collins Bonnet. 

We walked back to our gear at the base of Trestle Mountain and decided to go up this quick Abel too, as we still had a few hours of daylight. The track was great most of the way, but as we got to the scree fields near the summit the snow had cut visibility and made the cairns harder to follow than they should be. We climbed the last few spires and arrived at the top, but unfortunately there was a poor view as the snow kept fluttering down. Before we got too cold we smashed back down to our gear and set up camp on the side of the fire trail. A snowy night was ahead, but the sleeping bag was toasty warm.


Beautiful big ferns on the banks of Myrtle Creek.

Mt Marian.

Marian is spelt wrong on this sign...

The view from the summit,looking towards Trestle and Collins Bonnet.

The track up Trestle Mountain.

The needles of the summit in the fog.

The icy summit of Trestle Mountain.

Day 2
The sound of snow sliding off my tent woke me up in the morning, and a quick peek outside showed that a good 10 centimetres had settled overnight, and blue skies were overhead. A quick breakfast was had, saturated tents packed up, and we were off along the fire trail by 8am heading for Collins Bonnet. While walking the road a great time was had spotting footprints in the snow; we saw Possum, Wallaby, Wombat, and even Devil! After about 45 minutes we reached the junction to the Collins Bonnet track where we dumped our gear and headed up the very snowy path to the summit. The track was very easy to follow, and super enjoyable in the gorgeous weather. A mere 20 minutes later and we were hanging around the trig point on the summit with fine views back to Trestle and Marian as well as Mt Wellington and even out towards Mt Field. After some time spent milling around the top we headed back to the cars, a walk that took around an hour and a half.

What a beautiful sight to awake to.

Trestle just touched by the sun.

Collins Bonnet, the goal for the morning.

Looking back at Trestle Mountain in the sun.

Shelly forging ahead.

Snow on scree, a Tasmanian cracker!

The summit of Collins Bonnet was beautiful!

One of the most interesting track markers I've ever seen...

95 left.