Mt Pelion West
To me, Mt Pelion West the matriarch of the Overland Track mountains. She isn't the loftiest, that honor goes to the neighboring Mt Ossa, but something about her dominating shape, high above Pine Forest Moor demands you stop and look up. I have wanted to visit the summit for years, and since beginning my Abel quest, this was the 5th occasion I'd set aside time to conquer the mountain that has a reputation for 'Big rocks. Big Holes.'
I walked up the Arm River track late in the afternoon after I finished a shift at work. A walk I have done many times, that I can almost drift off into a dream state as I stroll along. I spent a good while trying to re-count all the times I've walked the track, and as of now I believe it to be 24. I arrived at Pelion Plains around 7:30pm, pitched my tent, socialised with some mates, and made Overland Track walkers jealous with my avocado laden Subway footlong.
|11 Cars in the Arm River car park.|
|Some of the lovely retaining wall track work on the switch backs.|
I awoke a bit before 6am, with a plan in my head to get over Pelion West, and head around to the base of Mt Achilles for the night. Pelion West traverse, here I come! The weather was supposed to be alright, and it felt promising. I left Pelion Plains at 7am, and walked north along the Overland. An hour and a half in, just before Pelion Creek, I came to the junction I'd looked up many times, the track up Pelion West. The track was well defined under foot, if a little scrubby with re-growth (the route was taken off maps some years ago - hence it gets less visitation). After a while of pushing through Pink Mountain Berry dominated under-story, I came out onto a beautiful shoulder of coral fern and low Tea Tree. Pelion West would have been in view, if not for the pea soup cloud that inundated me. I kept walking. Up and up, through some scrubbier track before coming out onto Dolorite boulders, with the track beginning to be marked by cairns. Still in the cloud. And rain. From this point, the going was tediously slow. The visibility was so poor I could sometimes not make out the next cairn, the rocks were deadly slick, and the holes where as huge as I'd been told. I slowly made my way to the summit, which I reached around 11:30am. I had no view, and sheltered down into a gap to wait for a while.
After half an hour on top with no view, I went onward to find a route off the the western side of the mountain, but spent a long time back-tracking when I got stuck. After half an hour with virtually no progress, and rain becoming heavier, I decided it was too unsafe to continue with my plan. I headed slowly back along the cairned route. I trudged down off Pelion West, and made my way back to Pelion Plains. I decided to just keep going, and headed home - defeated.
I have very mixed feelings about this. I am very upset to have not had a view, and honestly, to have had a bad time on the mountain. This is reflected in the lack of photos I took. Either way, Pelion West has been 'bagged'.
|Frog Flats. There should be mountains there!|
|Mt Pelion West track junction.|
|The track had some good work done on it.|
|Heading straight up.|
|The top rock. I didn't climb it - I wanna live.|