With my only aspiration for the day to make the easy stroll once again to Lake Vera; I left home at 9:00am, and after a quick lunch stop at The Hungry Wombat, I started walking at 12:30pm. It was a clear day, and quite warm, especially in the buttongrass fields. I took three and a half hours to walk to the lake and a swim was most appreciated when I got there. I spent the afternoon talking with others who were in the area. In the late evening my friend and occasional bushwalking buddy, Steve rocked up. He had spent 4 days out around the Cap, climbing some mountains. I got some helpful advice from him on Clytemnestra, which he had just summited that day. I went to bed excited at the day to follow, knowing the weather was to be superb!
Day 2I woke up at 6:00am (thanks alarm), and had a quick breakfast, prepared my lunch, and packed my things for the day. I was striding out of camp at 6:45am, coasting through the rainforest that banks Lake Vera by the light of my head torch. I made very good going on the steep hill up Barron Pass, having only a day pack and the advantage of walking in the cool morning. I made the pass only an hour after leaving my tent. I paused for a snack and to soak in the view, Frenchmans and Clytemnestra in full morning glow. Another 45 minutes of walking and I arrived at Lake Tahune, where I met the builders who are busy constructing the new hut! They let me have a look inside, very fancy. I wasn't surprised when I heard that Frenchmans will indeed become a ticketed walk ($90 per person). After a 15 minute break there, I headed up the Cap. It is a steep but easy walk, and very fun. This was the third time I'd climbed Frenchmans (although, I hadn't 'bagged' it in this round of Abeling yet), and I don't think it would ever get old. I took 40 minutes from Lake Tahune to reach the summit, and paused for a good 30 minutes on top.
Around 10:00am I set off for Clytemnestra. I knew there were some routes directly off the south of the Cap, but dubious of the cliffs I opted for the route down the western col. I picked up a good pad, marked by regular cairns as the ridge became more defined. This easy going, but steep route delivered me into the beautiful basin at the south-western foot of Frenchmans. Here I filled up water in a tarn, and then made my way up to the high ridge connecting the Cap with Clytemnestra. Once I was on the first knoll on this ridge, the going was very easy. Super open walking, with views in all directions; heaven. The walk up the final slabbed portion of Clytemnestra was fun and simple and I was on the summit only an hour and forty five minutes after leaving the Cap. Much quicker than I expected... That was fine though, as it gave me an opportunity to spend close to an hour sitting on the mountain. It was bliss.
I re-traced my steps going back over Frenchmans, taking a bit more time to get back up there as there was considerably more uphill involved in the return walk. But it was nice to summit Frenchmans again. About 5 minutes after I started descending on the track, I had one of the best wildlife experiences of my life, having a Tasmanian Wedge-Tail Eagle soar within a few metres of me, and then LAND! Just there! I could almost reach it! We both eyed each other for a few minutes before it set flight again. And I set walk again. On my walk back to Lake Vera, I passed another Abel lover and we had a good chat about all things Tasmanian mountains. I was back at my tent by 5:30pm, after a long, but fantastic day. Another swim in the lake beckoned...
|Rainforest in the morning light.|
|Morning fog nestled over the Livingston Rivulet valley.|
|A stunning pair. Clytemnestra on the left and Frenchmans on the right.|
|Looking to the Cradle Mountain National Park peaks.|
|Looking up at Frenchies from Lake Tahune.|
|The new hut under construction!|
|Such fun scrambling!|
|The open summit.|
|On top of Frenchmans, looking at Clytemnestra.|
|Walking off the summit to the west.|
|Small tarns with Lake Sophie in the back.|
|On the ridge. Beautiful walking.|
|Frenchman towering above.|
|The humble summit cairn of Clytemnestra!|
|Look at that. Amazing.|
|Looking to Barron Pass.|
|OHMYGOSH! So close!|
|Home sweet home.|
The birds woke me up, and it wasn't long before I had had breakfast, packed up, and was heading out. The mist was thick, and the air crisp. Perfect weather to stride out 17kms of walking. I hiked back to the car in a little over 3 hours, smiling all the way. I love you Tasmania.