Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

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Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Geevesy » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 11:12 am

Hi All,

Although I'm fairly new to the forum (posting anyway) I thought I would write up a trip report from my recent excursion through the southern half of the Cradle-Lake St Clair National Park. I took advantage of the last week of perfect weather in the west to essentially walk the southern half of the OT, with a few extras thrown in.

Day one saw me taking the Lee's Paddocks route into Pelion, and although a little longer, it is arguably a more atmospheric way to approach Pelion especially this time of the year - this day the showers were just starting to clear the area and I had some nice views of the lower peaks, including a nice rainbow off Twin Spires.

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Lee's Paddocks

I picked up the "venetian blind" track up through the rainforest to join the Arm River track at the logbook and arrived at Pelion hut a little late (owing to a slow start). It was very quiet - a total of three others in the hut (all locals in from Arm River). Not many Overlanders in the last week of May perhaps unsurprisingly with the fee period almost over.

Day two was the kind of day everyone dreams of the in the mountains - a little low fog burning off around the plains, perfect blue sky and no wind.

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Perfect morning at Pelion

My initial idea was to head through to Kia Ora on this day, climbing Pelion East en route, but with the perfect weather forecast I decided it was a great opportunity for an unmarked high camp. Not wanting to get there too early, I spent the morning pottering around the plains taking photos, before packing up and heading up to Pelion East around lunch time.

There was quite a bit of track work going on at the time - grating has been installed on the lower slopes of Doris and the verandah at Kia Ora has been extended and closed in. As such, there was a lot of helicopter activity this day, with two seperate helicopters dropping supplies off in the Kia Ora area - and at one time one of them passed quite low through the Gap, dwarfed by Ossa.

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Helicopter flying below Ossa

I returned to my pack at the Gap and started the long trek upward - I had deemed that although Pelion East was pretty icy, by the looks of it, my other option had enough hardened snow on the track that is would perhaps be a bit safer footing wise than would normally be the case. Climbing Pelion East beforehand possibly wasn't the greatest idea I've ever had, and by the time I reached the snow line I was pretty exhausted - making the traverse of the final slopes to the top a real ordeal. I arrived at the summit about 15 minutes before sunset and promptly went about melting some ice for my tea...

The views of course were worth it...

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Last rays of light on the Du Cane Range

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Views to Frenchmans

As you would expect it wasn't exactly a warm night - however with no wind and clear skies it was definitely a memorable experience. Unfortunately I have lost my remote shutter release so star trails weren't an option.

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Frost warning

The next morning justified the trip up the mountain and weather wise it was exactly what I was hoping for... whilst those in the huts woke to substantial fog, I got somewhat better conditions...

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Dawn 1

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Dawn 2

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Dawn 3

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Dawn 4

Obviously this moment of the trip would be hard to top (both literally and figuratively) so I spent all morning wandering around the summit plateau, taking plenty of photos and just enjoying the moment. Around 11am I departed for Kia Ora - thinking I've probably deserved a cruisy afternoon in the hut reading and eating chocolate.

End of Part I

(minor edits by site moderator)
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Lizzy » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 11:29 am

Beautiful!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Geevesy » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 11:36 am

It is always those times bushwalking when you think you'll have the hut to yourself that in fact the opposite happens. Kia Ora was fairly full with a group of 13 from St Mary's College walking the OT. They were a bit of a laugh and definitely a change from the solitude experienced on Ossa. Apart from reading and chocolate, I did a bit of pottering around the creeks in the Kia Ora area.

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Whirlpool near Kia Ora

The next day I was due to meet my girlfriend at Narcissus, so I got to it and headed down south. It was a another perfect day of course, even went so far as to wear shorts (!). I had enough time to drop into Fergie's Falls for a quick snap.

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Fergusson Falls in Full Flow

I arrived at Narcissus pretty early, and was pretty disheartened to see the heater was out of action!! My girlfriend wasn't particularly happy with that either after a late arrival into the hut.

The next morning was another beauty...

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Olympus at Dawn

This day we headed north again, branching off into Pine Valley. We attempted the Acropolis in the afternoon, but the ice turned out to be too much of a hindrance at the final set of shelves before the summit is gained. Feeling pretty dejected, we at least enjoyed some late afternoon sun from the ridge near the southern bluff.

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Gould et al in the afternoon

Again, it was an after dark arrival into the hut.

We were tossing up between a high camp in the Labyrinth with a traverse over Gould back to Narcissus, and a day trip into the plateau and another night in the hut - in the end the ferry schedule decided for us, and we had a early start with the aim of climbing Walled Mountain and getting back to the hut.

Today the first signs of some approaching cloud were appearing and although most of the day was fantastic, the weather whilst on the summit was a little cloudy, especially towards the north which was the view I wanted! Oh well, another excuse to return...

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The Acropolis from the Walled Mountain route

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The view to Eros under the cloud

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Hyperion from the slopes of Walled Mountain


Although we expected to be benighted, we actually made it back in time for the sunset from Pine Valley.

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Sunset from Pine Valley


And so the last day, like all last days, was all about getting home to heating, food, beer, etc etc. A quick ferry trip down the lake and we were back in civilisation. 7 days all up of fantastic weather and great times!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Tortoise » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 1:17 pm

Stunning shots, Geevesy. Thanks very much for posting your report. :)
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Nuts » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 4:46 pm

Nice pics Geevesy.
Your high camp plateau is a sensitive area, please consider the impact v benefit of attracting other campers when posting.
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby warnesy » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 5:54 pm

Great photos and an enjoyable read. Thanks


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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby brettwl » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 5:54 pm

Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing!


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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Tas Tom » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 6:40 pm

Glad the plan worked Geevesy - from one of the 'three locals' you met at Pelion Hut.

Much better photos than mine too; clearly still much room for improvement in my technique in that area!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Geevesy » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 7:15 pm

Thanks everyone for the kind feedback.

Very modest Tas Tom - wasn't hard to take a nice shot on that morning in Pelion.

How did you go with Pillinger in the end?


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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Tas Tom » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 8:01 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed Pillinger. As you said, a different perspective on Ossa and Pelion East, and a great view down over Lees Paddocks. Not hard to imagine it as the high country cattle grazing area it was for many years.
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby DaveNoble » Sun 05 Jun, 2016 9:23 pm

Looks like you had a spell of good weather and you took advantage of it. Nice!

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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby north-north-west » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 2:45 pm

Lucky bugger!

I'd thought of doing something like this after getting back from the Tarkine trip. Should have instead of trying to sort photos. :roll:

Oh well. Maybe it'll stop raining one day . . .
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 3:57 pm

Amazing photos. Thanks for sharing.

Just makes me feel even more inadequate with a camera!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby DanShell » Mon 06 Jun, 2016 8:51 pm

Great pics mate thanks for sharing.
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby stepbystep » Tue 07 Jun, 2016 9:59 am

Nice report and stunning pics Geevesy. Nice way to do a trip, following your instincts and that stunning weather pattern...keep 'em coming!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby frenchy_84 » Tue 07 Jun, 2016 10:26 am

great photos there 'Geevesy'
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby chickenman » Sat 11 Jun, 2016 4:46 pm

seriously tremendous photos ,
great job
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Geevesy » Sat 11 Jun, 2016 7:45 pm

Cheers all


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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby doogs » Sat 11 Jun, 2016 10:49 pm

Sounds like it was an amazing trip. thanks for sharing :)
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby tigercat » Mon 20 Jun, 2016 1:04 pm

Great photos!
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Genesis » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 10:08 am

Mornin'

What sort of time would it be for a day return to Walled mountain from Pine Valley?
And what is the route like? marked?

I am familiar with the open terrain of the area so I gather dead reckoning would suffice?

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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Tas Tom » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 11:38 am

Genesis

No more than an hour and a half from Pine Valley to where the turn off is at the far end of Lake Ophion and then another hour and a half max to the top of Walled. Bit quicker downhill all the way back. The route is pretty easy to follow, a clear pad for a lot of the way and plenty of cairns.

A nice summit - in good weather would be good camping on top too.

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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby north-north-west » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 1:26 pm

Tas Tom wrote:A nice summit - in good weather would be good camping on top too.


Oh, it is. :)
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby Thylaseen » Tue 28 Nov, 2017 10:28 pm

Great photos above, excellent.

It took us 1 1/2 hrs with full packs from Pine Valley hut to the turnoff, so would be a max. with just daypacks. Next day (after camping at Lake Elysia) we backtracked to the turnoff with day packs, from there it took around 1 3/4hrs. Track is well marked, you shouldn't have any trouble.

Absolutely fantastic views from Walled Mountain, we lounged around on top for a few leisurely hours (whilst I must say one of our party slept the time away!), then had a quick look around the top - beautiful 'soft' plants, and the like, then returned to camp.

See here: http://www.andrewgaskell.com.au/bushwalking/january-2016-du-cane-range
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Re: Pelion and Pine Valley Winter Excursions

Postby bigwallclimber » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 8:44 am

WoW what awesome photos, sounds like it was a great trip.

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