Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Things are looking up...

This is only going to be a short update on the progress of my Abel climbing, but it is a very important one!

As you may well know, I have been feeling the pressure over the last few months on trying to complete the Abels in the time frame I set myself. At first I thought the main reason was I was falling out of love with solo walking because I'd been doing so much of it, and felt like I wasn't bushwalking for the real reasons I love it. I began to tee up people to head bush with in order to keep to my schedule, but that still left me feeling strange. Until I sat down to really reflected on why I am doing this.

As silly as it sounds, it was never about peak bagging. Ever since I was small I always saw the Abels as a list of amazing adventures to go on, not so much as a list of peaks I need to bag. And with the desired deadline (June 16th) fast approaching, things are getting tighter. That results in me feeling like I am being more of a peak-bagger, and less of a bushwalker walking for the love of it.

For this simple reason of "Peak Bagery-ness" I have decided to add some more time to my challenge so I can appreciate it more. I climbed my first Abel of this challenge on the 26th of November 2015. I will strive to have them climbed before 26th of November 2017. Two years to summit the Abels is still something I will be very happy to have done, but it also allows me to enjoy the last part of this journey infinitely more. I was anxious to make this decision before, as I felt like it might make me regretful for not pushing though it. The factor that made me made this choice so easy now is figuring out exactly what the root issue was.

So, I'll still be climbing mountains and I'll still be writing about them. I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive!

Things are looking up!

31 left.


Mt Hobhouse

14th - 15th April 2017

Mt Hobhouse

Day 1
With kayaks in tow, Chevi and I headed for the southern end of Lake King William. We arrived at Guelph Basin by 9:30am and organised the kayaks for our trip. We were in the water a bit after 10:00am and started following the eastern shoreline. There was a considerable wind up causing white caps on the lake, but with the kayaks laden with gear we felt very solid and powered through. About 1km into the paddle we veered away from the shore and headed straight for a point of land on the southern side of the basin (approximately 2kms away). The clouds were sitting thick and low on the King William Range, but Mt Hobhouse had sun shining on it and promised of a good day. After we pulled the kayaks ashore the daypack was filled with our gear for the day and we set off between the fill level and water-line; easy walking.

A short time of that pleasant walking was had before we found an open Buttongrass field to head into on the right direction to the ridge that leads up to the summit. The Buttongrass was quite large, and actually made for harder walking than usual (we both took several falls). Whenever we could we headed for the isolated patches of Eucalyptus forest, which had surprisingly open under-story and abundant bird life. We had a quick lunch in one of these, and kept linking up patches of similar forest until we reached an open forest dominated by Myrtle at the bottom of the ridge. This was marked on the map, along with the next feature we found, an old survey road from hydro times gone by. The overgrown road provided some easy walking for a few hundred metres and it was here that we picked up a taped route. We followed the tape as it shot away from the road into rainforest and up the crest of the ridge-line. As we gained altitude the track became more and more obvious and it was very appreciated as we headed through a thick band of Bauera and Tea-Tree just below the rocky outcrop leading to the summit. Once the final steep push had been made atop the outcrop, it was easy walking for 500m to the summit which we gained at 2:15pm (3 hours of walking). We had quite nice views, especially to the north and east, but the views west and south to the King Williams, Prince of Wales, Spires, and the Denison were hampered completely by low thick cloud.

After some summit time we headed back the way we came, only differing our route for a more straight forward approach to the lake when we reached the buttongrass flats. This cut some time and it was just over 2 hours for the descent. Once we were back at the kayaks we had a bit over an hour of daylight to set up camp on the edge of the forest. A lovely evening was spent playing cards by lantern light.

Pulling ashore at First Bay.

Drift wood and mountain tops.

Pandani in the forest.

Buttongrass stompin'!

A beautifully tied piece of tape.

Getting high!

The rocky outcrop leading to the summit.

Looking north to Lake King William from the summit.

Day 2

The original plan had been to head up Slatters Peak and Mt King William II, but the range was firmly in the cloud as we woke and began packing up camp. By the time we had the kayaks packed, nothing had changed, and considering that the previous day they had been in cloud all day we formed a decision. The weather and a painful hip (sustained from the Buttongrass stomping) lead us to opt for a long paddle on the lake, and then heading back to the car. We paddled through the Guelph Narrows and looked at a little island in the main body of water that is Lake King William. Then on our way back to the car, we looked at an old fisherman's shack on the lakes edge. Once back at the car we headed to Lake St Clair for a coffee and then sussed out the recently completed Wall in the Wilderness.

31 left.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Mt La Perouse

3rd - 4th April 2017

Mt La Perouse

Day 1
With high hopes for completing the Southern Ranges with beautiful weather, I set off on the walk in the far south of Tasmania after the 4.5 hour drive to the start of the track. The Beginning of the track up Moonlight Ridge follows an old train line to a quarry site near Mystery Cave. There was plenty of signs of old building sites, peppered with old bits of iron, boots, and glass jars. By 9:30am I left the quarry behind and was walking up the track, gaining elevation steadily and listening to the cries of many Lyrebirds. The track headed through wet Eucalyptus forest, with a base of Lime Stone, studded with small caves and interesting features. After a few hours I poked out on the broad, somewhat flat, ridge near Bullfrog Tarns. The area around me had been burnt out a few seasons ago, and the going from there was easy. It was at this point that the first views of the range came into focus, and it looked wonderful.

Another hour of steady going and I was sitting underneath the crest of Hill 1 for lunch. Some wonderfully made track took me along the south-west facing ridge for the next few hours, passing Hill 2, 3, and 4, before finally delivering me to the splendid camping at Pigsty Ponds. As I was coming through one of the scrubbier areas around Hill 2, I broke one of my boots pretty dramatically... I had plenty of time to sit around camp, having arrived just after 2:00pm. I had a swim, brewed a coffee and read as the sun began to slowly go down. Unfortunately, I was also having those recent feelings of anxiety as I went to sleep.

A bygone era.

The ground looked quite beautiful.

Heading up the ridge.

A fire-swept landscape.


Looking along the Hills towards the Southern Ranges.

Mt La Perouse.

My home.

Day 2
I awoke to a beautiful sunrise. But still was struggling with my head space. I packed up and moved out by 7:00am, and within 15 minutes I was at the junction to Mt La Perouse. From here I headed up, which only took about 40 minutes. The summit was spectacularly flat, having not lost its sandstone cap from glaciation like so many of our Dolorite peaks. I walked to the eastern side of the summit and looked down at the amazing Swallows Nest Lakes, and then took shelter from the brisk morning wind behind the huge summit cairn. From here, due to my emotional issues and my (now even more) broken boot, I decided to turn around. I do hugely regret this move, but it felt right at the time.

I headed back down Moonlight Ridge to my car.

Morning over Pigsty Ponds.

La Perouse.

The wind is powerful. Natures topiary.

The iconic summit cairn. Looking to Pindars Peak... Another time.

32 left.