Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Overland Track: day 4

After a pleasant night at Pelion Hut, this was set up a little differently to other 4 huts we used, and another great breakfast it was off to climb the highest mountain in Tasmania: Mt Ossa.

The Mt Pelion hut almost hidden by the surrounding vegetation

Starting at an elevation of around 850m we climbed up to Pelion Gap, situated about 300m higher than our stating point. The ascent was a fairly steady climb through rainforest following Douglas Creek.

We did a side trip to cascades on Douglas Creek which provided us with a opportunity to fill up our water bottles.

A very pretty and restful spot.

We encountered many Pandani. Some were in flower like the one shown below.

Walking through groves of mature pandani, with dry lower leaves, was like walking through a car wash ... something that we encountered on the climb up Mt Oakleigh.

I think that this is Cathedral Mountain viewed across the trees
Leaving the rainforest we emerged onto Pelion Gap, an exposed alpine saddle between Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa.

Pelion Gap is quite exposed and probably qualifies to be described as a moor. It is certainly wet and boggy.

We left our packs on a platform at Pelion Gap and headed towards Mt Ossa with light packs which included our lunch, waterproof jacket and plenty of water.

We stopped for lunch on the relatively flat section on the slope of Mt Doris. There were great views out across the valley below as well as to Mt Ossa. It was rather daunting watching other climbers climb up or down the track that we were soon to tackle. Sometimes I would rather not have a close look at what is ahead and just take it as it comes!

Lunching on Mt Doris. Note everone sticking to the rocks to preserve the fragile flora
Mt Ossa ... the track heads around the left of the bump to the right
While the route up and down the mountain is well marked picking the best track was sometimes a challenge. Scrambling was the order of the day once we reached the upper slope.

Still quite a bit of climbing to go
Looking back along the track towards Mt Doris
Plants dotted the mountainside

After a short breather on reaching the top of the right hand bit it was then a case of crossing a saddle to get to the summit.

Our objective ... the summit of Mt Ossa

As we came over the final crest we we confronted with a glorious array of flowering plants hugging the rocks.

At the edge of the plateau was a pretty tarn

But there was still a climb to reach the official summit ...

Finally, the marker on the rock ... 1617m ...

And here I am ... with my foot planted on the marker

There were panoramic views from the summit.

The group gathered at the summit ...

Boys being boys ...

Tackling an outcrop ... just because they could!
Sean taking a break on the descent
This skink kept us amused while waiting for the rest of our group to get back to our lunch spot
 Once back at Pelion Gap we collected our packs and headed down to Kia Ora and our hut.

Once again, dinner was quite late as it was late when we finally arrived at the hut.

The distance today was just over 12km with quite a substantial elevation gain.

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