Ben Lomond plateau

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Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Jaxter » Tue 29 Jan, 2008 8:49 am

My parter and I are thinking of a long day walk or overnight walk on the Ben Lomond plateau (perhaps out to the lakes/tarns toward Stacks Bluff). There don't seem to be walking tracks (we have a very old 1:50,000 map) but it looks to be very open.

Does anyone have any advice on how long it might take to get across the plateau and back and what its like up there?

Thanks!
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby tasadam » Tue 29 Jan, 2008 9:07 am

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 29 Jan, 2008 9:21 am

Likewise, I've been wanting to explore the Ben Lomond plateau for years, but have not yet got around to it, even after buying the map of the plateau a few years ago.

More recently though, I was told by a rock-climber at work about one particular spot that he saw, that intrigued me. I later found it on Google Earth. Check it out in the attached Google Earth placemark (if you use Google Earth). It is a lake on a scree slope. Odd, eh?
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby johnw » Tue 29 Jan, 2008 11:14 pm

Jaxter wrote:My parter and I are thinking of a long day walk or overnight walk on the Ben Lomond plateau (perhaps out to the lakes/tarns toward Stacks Bluff). There don't seem to be walking tracks (we have a very old 1:50,000 map) but it looks to be very open.

Does anyone have any advice on how long it might take to get across the plateau and back and what its like up there?

Thanks!


I've only been there once, March 2005 we walked up to Legges Tor from Carr Villa along the walking track. As per the Chapman Day Walks book except the circuit returning via the road didn't appeal, so came back the same way. My recollection of the Ben Lomond plateau is mostly flattish and open but very rocky, at least for the immediate area around Legges Tor. The walk up was easy but fairly steep and I recall a bit of rock hopping across a fairly extensive boulder field on the Plains of Heaven before you get to the Monds Ski Chalet.

These 2 photos might provide some idea. I think that may be Stacks Bluff in the distance but I'm not certain.

[img]
Ben%20Lomond%20Plateau%20800x600.jpg
[/img]

[img]
Legges%20Tor%20Summit%20800x600.jpg
[/img]

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Ben Lomond Plateau 800x600.jpg
Looking across the plateau from near Legges Tor summit
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Joe » Wed 30 Jan, 2008 6:18 am

For something different Stacks bluff day walk can be accessed from the other end of part at small township of stories creek. Its 8 hours return walk. with a possible side trip to Broken Bluff as well I believe.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Speculator » Sat 02 Feb, 2008 11:32 pm

taswaterfalls.com wrote:For something different Stacks bluff day walk can be accessed from the other end of part at small township of stories creek. Its 8 hours return walk. with a possible side trip to Broken Bluff as well I believe.


Been interested in this for years, but the length of the walk and distance from home has always made it too difficult to consider. I remember looking at the map, and I can only assume that the walk is fiercely steep. I'd guess the views of the Fingal valley would be extensive and very impressive though, making it all worth the effort.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby tastrekker » Sun 03 Feb, 2008 12:28 am

Speculator wrote:...I can only assume that the walk is fiercely steep. I'd guess the views of the Fingal valley would be extensive and very impressive though, making it all worth the effort.


I've done Stacks Bluff from Storys Creek in dry conditions and also on deep snow and it is definitely worthwhile if you can pick a clear day. (Not too hard in that corner of the state.)

As for being fiercely steep, it is not too bad. It is only a few metres more climbing than if you were doing Cradle from Ronney Creek. The track is fairly well marked and it has several sections where the climbing eases off for a while. Once you reach the top, it actually dodges around the back of Denison Crag so there is a bit of flat plateau walking before the last little climb onto the smaller summit plateau. The view over the 'stacks' to the south is quite intersting. Similar to Mt Oakleigh.

The track passes close to Tranquill Tarn. I don't know how to read the Google Earth file that was posted so I'm not sure if this is the same place. Traquill Tarn does look quite odd from the track above as it is surrounded by scree and it looks like it should all drain away through the gaps in the rocks.

The new 'resort', Craggy Peaks that has been established at Rossarden has set up some walks around their property. I believe one of their walk options may involve accessing the plateau near Sphynx Bluff. I have not yet investigated to see whether it is possible to access these tracks without crossing their private property.

Stop press...
I've just checked out the latest 1:100,000 map and it has a marked walking track that goes from Stacks Bluff via Foster Vale, Lake Youl, Long Valley and Ossians Throne to meet the cross country ski circuit at Little Hell and Surprise Vale.

Also, The Abels Volume One provides an excellent description of the parts of the plateau that qualify for inclusion. I think they are Stacks Bluff, Leggs Tor, Coalmine Crag and Mensa Moor. Once again, the 1:100,000 seems to indicate there is a track heading out toward Mensa Moor from which there would be spectacular views and possible walking options into Speke Gorge.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby walkinTas » Sun 03 Feb, 2008 4:01 am

tastrekker wrote:I don't know how to read the Google Earth file that was posted so I'm not sure if this is the same place.


For those who don't have Google Earth, start here. If you are not sure if your computer is compatible read here first. Google Earth needs a broadband Internet connection.

(modified: Nik has added a kmz file above) To read the file supplied by SOB, click on the link and download the file. In Windows, just double click on the downloaded file, and Google Earth will open and take you to the location marked by the file.

If you mark a spot on Google Earth, you can share it in the same way Nik has, by simply locating the link in the Google Earth sidebar (step1), then right clicking and choosing the Save As option (step2). You can save the file as either a KML file or a KMZ file (step3). A KMZ file is just a compressed version of the KML file - so will be smaller. The a KMZ file can also include an overlay image (ie - a special image with additional info associated with the marked spot).
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby kramster » Fri 15 Feb, 2008 12:15 pm

The plateau is pretty open (as long as you don't mind long stretches of scree-boulders, alpine moor and the odd bit of scaparia).

Spent a weekend up that way ages ago (15 yrs I think), starting at Carr Villa (where it is a pretty easy climb up to the Legges Tor / ski-fields). We headed off climbing every peak we could find (Old Bills Monument, Coalmine Crag, Wilmont Bluff, Stacks Bluff etc)... and camped on the side of Youls Tarn. Returned the following day to Legges Tor / Hamilton Crags and back down to Carr-Villa. If you have a clear day, it is quite easy to navigate, however being the 2nd highest point in Tasmania, it can get clouded in (in which case, the trust old map and compass helps).

You can also drive all the way up Jacobs Ladder to the ski-village, but without snow, it is kinda ugly up there, so I think it is preferable to avoid it (besides that, the road is just plain scary too!)
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby TassieMargie » Mon 18 Feb, 2008 9:34 am

Some really great info here, thanks everyone. Yet another place in Tassie which I would like to check out.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby slparker » Tue 29 Apr, 2008 11:54 pm

Well, I've done 4 overnight walk son the Ben Lomond plateau and the times I've done them I've walked up from Carr Villa (northern end) and passed via giblin fells up through rodway valley and camped at lake youl. It's about 4 hours to lake youl at a fair pace with a 20 kg pack. Lots of rock hopping and best to stick to the creek beds after rodway valley as this makes the easiest going. The valley sides tend to be choked with scoparia which makes interesting and really prickly going so stick with the creek beds where possible. lake youl is a great campsite... mournful and lonely; I don't know why. The aborigines caled this area meenamata. If you head west the next morning you can make a great circuit of the western aspect of the plateau - Heimdall and asgard crags give a lofty view over the midlands. You can clearly see Mt Wellington on the far distance and the expansive aspect over the midlands affords a clear view from millers bluff to drys bluff. If you head Norrth from here you reach Grant Cirque which I must admit is on of the most gobsmacking land features I've seen in Tasmania; the Nile river winds it's way down the collapsed and crumbled side of the mountain as vast fields of dolerite boulders form a wide bowl between mensa moor and the mountain proper. The silence and the vastness of the enormous boulder field are quite memorable.

Back to lake youl the nxt day it is a great morning walk up to stack's bluff; again a formidable feature with an expansive view of the midlands. You can return and explore the eastern side of the plateau the next day or that afrternoon; returning on the third day. The highlights (for me) of this walk are the dour and imposing slopes of Giblin Fells, the huge boulder fields of rodway valley, the delicate mounds of cushion plants and the quiet and mournful waters of lake youl. The view from stacks bluff and the eastern aspect of the plateau are not describeable. Th etimes I've visited Ben Lomond I have not encountered another human... quite rare in my experience of tassy's tracks.

Note: there are no tracks on this walk apart from the carr villla track. I can give detailed info including grid references and compass bearings (I've done it in low cloud)on this walk. This walk is highly recommended: lots of alpine plateau, vast and lofty views and the sight of the nile river descending into the silent and vast bowl of Grant Cirque will never leave me.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby GerryDuke » Sat 24 May, 2008 12:07 am

Thanks SLParker. We just want to do it now!! I went up the Stacks Bluff track last summer from Storeys Creek (via Avoca). Only had and hour but that got us to the start or the track propper at the boulder fields at the bottom of the escarpment. One of the locals from Mangana has done the walk also described it as spectacular but a bit hard.

I haven't had time to put the (shortened) walk on my site yet as I wanted to wait until I did it all.

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Speculator » Sat 24 May, 2008 9:13 am

GerryDuke wrote:Thanks Jackster. We just want to do it now!! I went up the Stacks Bluff track last summer from Storeys Creek (via Avoca). Only had and hour but that got us to the start or the track propper at the boulder fields at the bottom of the escarpment. One of the locals from Mangana has done the walk also described it as spectacular but a bit hard.

I haven't had time to put the (shortened) walk on my site yet as I wanted to wait until I did it all.

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Stacks Bluff is on the ever-growing to-do list. Maybe we could organise to do this one as a group walk with some others from the Forums sometime?

Thanks.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby GerryDuke » Sat 24 May, 2008 2:04 pm

Put me down for a joint trip speculator!
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 24 May, 2008 3:29 pm

Likewise, let me know when you're going. I may not be able to make it (increased family commitments for the next few months), but would like to if I can.

(If this looks like a goer, I might move these last few posts to the 'Find Walking Companions' forum).
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby crazyone » Mon 10 Nov, 2008 8:49 pm

One thing i noticed that hasnt been mentioned is the beach at the south eastern tip of Lake Youl. It certainly amazed me to see it after a hard slog from the northern end of the park. I would have to agree with just about everything splarker said especially about rodway valley boulder fields. From just about every angle ( top of giblin fells, entrance of long valley etc) it looks otherworldly. but i digress, that beach is amazing, maybe somone can explain it to me!
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby samh » Fri 22 Jan, 2010 12:51 pm

After we ran out of time and into bad weather on our last trip to Ben Lomond, I will try it again this weekend. What still confuses me is that there is a track to Lake Youl on the current 1:100 000 map. When we went there last time we started at the carpark of the ski village and followed the cross country skiing circuit trying to find the turn off without success we started to head to the direction, we thought, was right. After a while we picked up a cairned track which crossed the boulder field in Rodway valley then heading west along the valley. We had to camp there somewhere because it was getting dark and returned the next day (our tent got badly damaged during the night). Now looking at the map again I realised that I should have passed east of the boulder field but we didn't see any markers. I have to say that it was winter and the markers could have been hidden.
So, does anyone know if the track on the map is a marked track or not. If not I'll just find my own way but, it's annoying to have a map with a track which doesn't exist, it's rather misleading.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby whynotwalk » Fri 22 Jan, 2010 2:20 pm

Hi samh - I traversed the whole plateau with a few friends last summer. We used the 1:25 000 maps (Giblin & Stacks) and assumed we'd be off-track most of the time. Because we'd come from Hobart and done a car shuffle b/w Storeys Creek and Ben Lomond, we left late in the afternoon. Basically we began from the cross country ski-trail poles near the ski-field carpark, went down Meadow Vale, keeping east of Giblin Fells (a massive boulder field), and west of Ossians Throne. Being late, we camped overnight near a creek/trickle and then picked our way from the Vale of Rest into the Long Valley and then over to Lake Youl. None of the going was particularly tough, with mixed alpine scrub, dolerite boulders and knobbly bits to negotiate. In a few places scrub with boulders beneath made it tricky.

There was plenty of fine weather camping in the dunes south of the (shallow) Lake Youl. We based ourselves there while we explored the crags, Grant Cirque & Speke Gorge. We spent a couple of nights by the lake, fortunately in fine weather. A stiff nor'wester could blow you off the plateau, and is doubtless the reason dunes made of pebble-sized sediments have been formed there.

We exited via Stacks Bluff, which is very spectacular. Our car had been unmolested in the bush at the end of the Storeys Ck access route to Stacks Bluff (you do hear stories of damage and we did fancy there were echoes of banjo on the wind :wink: )

The attached panorama from Stacks Bluff gives an overview of the area. A couple of other pix illustrate other aspects of the walk,

cheers

Peter
Stacks Pano small.JPG
View north across the Ben Lomond Plateau from Stacks Bluff
Stacks Descent small.JPG
Descending from Stacks Bluff, with Tranquil Tarn below
[/attachment]
Improv Camp.JPG
An improvised camp mid-way down the plateau, showing the mostly lowish alpine veg.
Comp Pano small.JPG
A panorama from the Lk Youl campsite, showing some of the dunes
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby samh » Fri 22 Jan, 2010 2:36 pm

Thanks
Great photos too, you really had nice weather. On our first attemt we had a similar problem. It was winter, we started in the afternoon and had to improvise for a camp for the night. A sleepless night with endless wind and the rest of the story is here. We hope to ave more success this time. Everything is packed and tomorrow morning we're off.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby whynotwalk » Fri 22 Jan, 2010 2:44 pm

Better luck this time samh! Weather looks reasonable, if I'm any judge. Have fun,

cheers

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby jamesp » Thu 28 Jan, 2010 10:34 pm

I have skied from the Village to Stacks in poor snow & had to walk the lower parts.
Its all very open & easy (although the descent to the southern section was covered in snow,
so the vegetation may be thick). Navigation in whiteouts would be the main thing to plan for.

On my return I found cairns, which may be the "track" marked on the map.
If you want to know where the cairns were, PM me & I will do the work of checking my map etc
& then post the location in this forum. (I dont have time right now, but can do if anyone wants to know).

Skiing to Stacks & back took me all day & I got back after dark, which was interesting
as at one point I thought I was heading toward the lights of the Village,
but it was a township below the escarpment, which became obvious when I started descending steep snow!

Mind you this subject started 2 years ago, so dont know if the original questioners are still reading!

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby samh » Fri 29 Jan, 2010 10:13 am

@jamesp
HI thanks for the info. We went there last weekend and had a great time, here are some photos. The cairns we followed last time are somewhat misleading, certainly they are not marking the way to Lake Youl. However I also realised that on the 1:100 000 map the cross-country skiing track is either marked wrong or there are two tracks. Here is part of the map

DSC_0571_01.JPG


The red line roughly shows the track up to little hell marked with poles as the cc-sking track the blue line ar the cairns we followed last time leading somewhere, I don't know. The track coming of the ccsking circuit is not marked at all. I find it a little confusing not that I do mind finding my own way but the map and the cairns are rather confusing than of any help.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby wello » Fri 29 Jan, 2010 11:11 pm

I walked along the path of that track down Long Valley toward Lake Youl a year or so ago, and there's little if any sign of it. It's relatively easy walking, but no pad and no markers (at least I didn't see any). We were coming out from Youl's Tarn toward the ski village and looking prety intently for a track due to an injury in the party.

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby crazyone » Fri 05 Feb, 2010 8:55 pm

i went along there a couple of times last year and certainly didnt see any tracks. i found an occasional cairn in rodway valley but they could have been more decorative than instructional as they didnt appear to lead anywhere. there is no marked trail on the 1:25000 maps Stacks and Giblin so im not sure what the 1:100000 sheet is on about
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Phil » Mon 07 Mar, 2011 10:28 am

Thought I might revisit this one; the Ben Lomond plateau has intrigued me of late and I have enjoyed reading over this topic this morning. I have been up Stacks Bluff a couple of times and been to the village a number of times throughout my life; what I have been wondering about though is a traverse of the plateau.

Has anyone been wandering up that way recently? From reading this topic, it seems as though any tracks/pads are somewhat obscure to assist in a traverse, would that be a fair comment? ........although I'm sure in clear weather navigation would be somewhat straight forward.

Might have to look at going for a stroll soon I think, it's been far too long!! ...............Mt Murchison in early Jan was my last walk :shock:
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby whynotwalk » Mon 07 Mar, 2011 11:07 am

Phil wrote:From reading this topic, it seems as though any tracks/pads are somewhat obscure to assist in a traverse, would that be a fair comment?


Hi Phil - yep, that would be a fair comment. I'd suggest it's a fair-forecast type of trip. Navigation when you have good visibility isn't a problem. We found a few bits of scoparia (which we mostly avoided), and some huge boulder fields (skirted around the worst). Lake Youl is a nice big landmark to aim for, and a good campsite as long as it's not too windy. From there the walk to Stacks Bluff is also pretty straightforward.

The only "tricky" bit of the traverse was arranging the car shuffle. We left a car near the Storeys Creek start of the Stacks Bluff track, then drove to the Ben ski village to start. It was time consuming, but no big deal.

It's well worth doing the walk, if you can arrange the weather

cheers

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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby Phil » Mon 07 Mar, 2011 11:12 am

whynotwalk wrote:It's well worth doing the walk, if you can arrange the weather


I always try my best but sometimes it just doesn't oblige :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby north-north-west » Thu 24 Mar, 2011 9:21 pm

whynotwalk wrote:It's well worth doing the walk, if you can arrange the weather


Yes, I've made a couple of attempts, but that's been the sticking point. It's a great place to just wander around, very little scrub, nice open walking, some great views.
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby GD4Up » Sat 29 Oct, 2011 6:50 pm

I'm in Launceston soon for work and it 'just happened' that there is a free weekend in the middle... Ben Lomond is a spot I haven't been too and was thinking of it as an overnighter whilst I'm there.

What is recommended? I've been looking at Lake Youl. It looks to be an easy day walk to the lake from the village and I'm reading that there are some good camping spots near the lake itself. For a quick trip, is that the highlight or is there some other magic spots up there?
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Re: Ben Lomond plateau

Postby whynotwalk » Sun 30 Oct, 2011 1:44 pm

Hi GD4Up - as a few of us have said, Lake Youl is great if the weather is kind. But not if there's wind or low visibility. Firstly there is literally NO shelter at the lake - just low vegetation and pebbly dunes. And they're there because the fierce nor-westerlies are strong enough to blow pebbles around like sand grains!

And because there is no track, and not even a pad, you'll need clear weather to help you navigate. It'll also take quite a few hours from the ski-field to Lk Youl (can't remember how long exactly). If all those stars align for you, go for it! And enjoy what is a high, wide and wild plateau,

cheers

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