Friday, 9 March 2018

Frenchmans Cap and the Spartan Princess

7th -9th March 2018

Frenchmans Cap

Day 1
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!

The Cap.

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.

Beautiful geology.

The humble summit cairn of Clytemnestra!

Look at that. Amazing.

Looking to Barron Pass.

OHMYGOSH! So close!

Home sweet home.

Day 3
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.

14 left.



  1. This looks so beautiful Zane, I love the photos, you are making me jealous!

    1. Thanks, Pete!

      It's not hard to take an okay photo in such a beautiful place. I'm glad I can make you jealous, after you and Mum made me jealous with your stunning mainland adventures! ;)

  2. I remember having a wedge tailed eagle take off from a boulder only about 5-10 metres away from me on Mt barrow (I didn't actually see it until it flew); it was a real honour! Yours sounds better though ;)

  3. Stunning weather for this beautiful corner of Tassie and what a memorable and honorable eagle experience for you Zane! Of all the wilderness experiences, those few minutes, no doubt, create a memory for life. :)

  4. Glad that you got out and stretched your legs in that glorious weather, it would have been pure joy and "food for the soul" !