Monday, February 14, 2011

Mt Pelion East, Tas, Australia


2011 February: Day 1 - Climb Mt Pelion East, from Arm River Track - Tasmania, Australia

This is day 1 of a 2-day overnight climbing trip. The 2nd day will be climbing up Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain ... Refer to http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/ossa-tas-australia.html

Information on this climb:
Mt Pelion East:
- It is on the East side of Pelion Gap (The Overland Track from Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut goes through Pelion Gap.)
- Wikipedia gives its height as 1461 meters.  A sign at Pelion Gap gives 1433 meters ... refer to photo #11.

Hiking route:
- Start from Arm River Track which you can reach from the unsealed Arm Road.
- Walk on the Arm River Track all the way to Pelion Hut at Pelion Plains.
- Then walk on Overland Track to Pelion gap.
- At Pelion Gap, turn east to climb Mt Pelion East.
- From summit, retrace steps back to Pelion Hut.
- Camp overnight at the back of Pelion Hut.

Hiking distance and time:
23 km, 9 hrs 45 min

Book:
"Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair & Walls of Jerusalem National Parks" by John Chapman, Monica Chapman & John Siseman has a good description of the Arm River Track and Mt Pelion East.

Maps:
The 1:100,000 scale topographic survey map 8114 Mersey is good enough as the tracks can be easily followed. But if you wish, you can get the 1:25,000 scale maps.

Water Requirement:
From Pelion Hut to Mt Pelion East and back, I carried 2.5 litres of water.

To get to Arm River Track:
From the town of Deloraine, it takes about 1 hr 15 min to drive there:
- Get to the town called Mole Creek.
- Follow sign to Cradle Mt until you reach junction to Mersey Forest Road.
- Turn into Mersey Forest Road and drive along it.
- Turn west into the unsealed Arm Road.
- Follow Arm Road, then look for a sign to Arm River Track, turn into it.
- After 700 meters you'll come to a small car park.
The Mersey 8114 map has all the details.

Description:
The small carpark is the start of the Arm River Track. Ricky and I park the car and start walking at 9am.

Usually for a long walk, we start real early. But this morning, Ricky just got off the car ferry from Melbourne to Devonport. By the time he reached Deloraine where I am staying, it is already 7:30am ... which explains the late start. Ricky is an amazing guy, he only had 3 hrs sleep on the ferry, yet he manage today's 10 hr walk with not a hint of tiredness.

At the carpark, we find the entrance to the Arm River Track blocked by a large fallen tree trunk. I assume it is done on purpose to prevent 4-wheel drives from barging onto the track. Once we climb over the tree trunk, we encounter a small stream ... that is a good sign we are on the right track ... because from various sources, there is a small stream to be crossed at the start of the Arm River Track.

The plan for the first leg of today's walk is to get to Pelion Hut on Pelion Plains where we can dump the tents and sleeping bags. Then we can hike to Mt Pelion East on a light pack.

The Arm River track is reasonably well maintained. Though some sections are quite muddy. Within the first hour, there is a very very steep uphill section. On the return trip, I wonder how I ever managed to carry a heavy pack up such a steep climb!

But, it is really enjoyable walking on this trail. For example, we come across a forest with green mosses on all the tree trunks - like an enchanted scene from a Disney cartoon movie. I specially like the open marsh plains with their patch work of colours due to different types of vegetation. And at about a third of the way through the trail, we pass Lake Price with Mt Pillinger framing the background ... so magically beautiful!!! ... will show you the pictures further on.

At 12:40, we reach Pelion Hut, a nice place with clean toilet facilities. It is normally reserved for hikers on the famous Overland Track. As we come from the Arm River Track, we settle at the back of the hut where there are camping spots. There we drop our tents and sleeping bags, have lunch and a rest, then proceed to hike to Pelion Gap.

At 3:15pm we reach Pelion Gap. This is a 4-way meeting point. Direct ahead is to Kia Ora Hut for hikers on the Overland Track. On the east is the track to Mt Pelion East which we are going to climb. On the west is the track to Mt Ossa which we'll climb tomorrow. (Refer to http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/ossa-tas-australia.html) And of course, turning around is back to Pelion Hut.

Mt Pelion East is a truly awesome mountain. From far away, it looks like a nipple. Up closer, it is like another scene from a Disney cartoon movie ... sharp spires and vertical cliffs ... evil looking. A wicked witch would find it a perfect place to build a castle on its summit. And we are drawn to it like a magnet. It is magic!!!

It looks impossible to climb too. It is steep. But some cairns point the way up. As it turns out, it is not too hard to get to the summit. It took us only about an hour from Pelion Gap.

It is a sunny afternoon with a magnificent view from the top. We can see most of the well known peaks - Barn Bluff, Cradle Mountain, Mt Pelion West, Mt Hyperion, Mt Massif, Mt Oakleigh ... etc. And of course, Mt Ossa which we'll climb tomorrow.

After taking photos, it is retracing steps back to Pelion Hut for the night.

Here are the timelines:
09:00 Start walk on Arm River Track.
12:40 12 km later, arrive at Pelion Hut at Pelion Plains.

------ 1 hr 20 min lunch

14:00 Leave Pelion Hut.
15:15 4.2 km later, arrive at Pelion Gap.

------ 5 min rest

15:20 Leave Pelion Gap.
16:20 1.2 km later, arrive at summit of Mt Pelion East.

------ 20 min rest

16:40 Leave summit.
17:25 Back at Pelion Gap.

------ 5 min rest

17:30 Leave Pelion Gap.
18:45 Back at Pelion Hut for the night.

------ Total: 9 hrs 45 min, 23 km

Pictures:

1.) Paul on the Arm River Track to Pelion Hut.
Only a small section of the track has board walks like this. Many stretches are muddy.



2.) On the Arm River Track - Ricky in an enchanted forest of green mosses.



3.) Beautiful Lake Price and Mt Pillinger on the Arm River Track



4.) Love these marsh areas along the Arm River Track



5.) Marsh area along the Arm River Track.
Only a small section of the track has board walks like this. Many stretches are muddy.



6.) Suspension bridge over Douglas Creek - looks like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie.



7.) We are very near to Pelion Hut now. The mountain on the left of this picture is called Mt Oakleigh.



8.) A cute lovely wallaby watching us walking by. (Or is this a Pademelon? I can never tell which is which.)



9.) After 3.5 hrs walk on the Arm River Track, we reach Peilon Hut. This hut is meant for hikers on the Overland Track. Since we are from the Arm River Track, we will camp out at the back on a tent platform ... more of this later.



10.) We are on our way to Pelion Gap now, and walking on the famous Overland Track. This part of the track takes 1 and a quarter hours. Again, only a small section of the track has board walks like this. Many stretches are muddy.



11.) This is Pelion Gap. Turning left (east) is to Mt Pelion East which we are going to climb right now. Turning right (west) is to Mt Ossa, Tasmania'a highest mt, which we will climb tomorrow (Refer to http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/ossa-tas-australia.html).



12.) Mt Pelion East - awesome looking !!! From Pelion Gap to the summit and return is about 2 hrs (including a 20 min rest at the summit).



13.) Mt Pelion East - awesome looking !!!
It looks like a scene from a Disney cartoon movie - a perfect place for a evil witch to built a castle at the summit.



14.) Mt Pelion East - awesome looking !!!
It looks impossible to climb ... but as it turns out, it is not too hard. There are some cairns pointing the way.



15.) Paul doing the hard climb.



16.) Made it to the summit !!!



17.) Paul taking pictures at the summit.



18.) Ricky climbs on top of one of the rocky outcrops.



19.) View from the summit - Here you can see Barn Bluff, the nipple looking knob on the left. Cradle Mountain is just at the right of the centre of this picture (in the far horizon). Mt Oakleigh is the close by mountain (in front of Cradle Mountain).



Photos and write up on the Barn Bluff climb is my blog: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/barn-bluff-tas-australia.html
Cradle Mountain is in: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/cradle-mountain-tas-australia.html


20.) View from the summit - The highest point in this photo is Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain - we are going to climb it tomorrow !!! (Refer to http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/ossa-tas-australia.html)



21, 22.) Coming down from the summit is not easy!!!




23.) These small white flowers, Mountain Gentian (Chionogentias muelleriana), are abundant around the mountain.



24.) These small flowers are abundant around the mountain.



25.) Looking down at Pelion Gap where there is a sign pointing to the tracks up Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa.



26.) Paul back at Pelion Gap.
I am pointing to Mt Pelion East which we have just climbed. Tomorrow will be Mt Ossa !!! (Refer to http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/ossa-tas-australia.html.) But for now, it is 1 and a quarter hours of walk back to Pelion Hut.



27.) At the end of a 10-hr day, we sleep out here on a tent platform at the back of Pelion Hut. But I wonder if the platform is also doubled up as a helicopter landing pad, because there are steel cables around the platform which can be used to anchor a helicopter.
All my stuff are in view here - sleeping bag is rolled up in the foreground. The orange thingie is a large plastic bag where everything go inside in case of rain. The grey blob thingies are stones - no, I don't carry those around.



28.) Ricky in his bivy bag


No comments:

Post a Comment