Mount Pelion West walk

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Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Wed 19 Feb, 2014 10:31 pm

Hi all.

My name's Brad and I'm going for my 2nd Overland Track experience this April. I've decided to switch up the itinerary this time a little so I can fit in some other walks that I couldn't do last time. This time I plan to do the standard track walk over 6 nights (including the ferry from Narcissus), but instead spending 2 nights at Pelion hut (planning to skip Lake Windermere hut, weather permitting) so that one day can be spent doing the trek up Mt. Pelion West. Later down the track I'm also hoping to skip Bert Nicholls hut and trek up to Pine Valley hut to spend a night or two there to visit The Acropolis and The Labyrinth, depending on how long I spend at Kia Ora and how the weather is over the track. Last time I did the track, it was during September and it was very snowed over for most of day 1 and wet for most of the whole track to be honest. This time I'm hoping for less extreme weather, but it is Tassie after all!

So my question is, what is the route that one takes to summit Mt. Pelion West? As I understand it, this walk is not an official Overland Track side trip (which may be why I haven't yet been able to find sufficient info on the walk). But with taking 6 nights instead of 5 like last time, it would be rather awesome to knock off Pelion West. Is there an unofficial marker or path that runs from Frog Flats or something? Hopefully I can leave my big pack at Pelion hut then backtrack a while with the daypack to do Pelion West. I also know that information surrounding it is potentially sensitive; not for everyone's usage etc. so feel free to message me in private if need be.

Many thanks.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Scottyk » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 9:16 am

I went up there on the weekend so can give you some direction.
The track starts about 250m south of Pelion Creek (the one with the wooden bridge and platform with stairs). It's not marked but there is 2 logs that run at right angles to the main track. Just walk slowly and keep an eye out on the right as you walk south.
The point at which the track leaves the OLT is about 2 hours walk north of Pelion Hut and about 1 hour north of Frog Flats.
From the point you leave the OLT it will take about 2 hours to reach to the summit with the last hour being across really big boulders as you traverse the ridge line to get to the summit proper. The track up the hill before the boulders is very easy to follow, it gets quite steep at end before the end. The route across the top over the boulders is cairned but sometime a little hard to find the next one. I don't know if I would bother trying this ridge line traverse in bad weather, especially if it was wet. The boulders are huge and a mistake can have you taking quite a fall. If your not confident with a full gymnastic style boulder work out then stop when you reach the first peak, the views here are still great.
So if you came from Pelion Hut it would be a full day of about 8 hours walking to get up the to the top of Pelion West and back, if you start early from the previous hut you could do it on the way rather than back track for 2 hours to get to the tack start?
Great peak to get in good weather.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby whynotwalk » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 9:27 am

Scottyk wrote:The boulders are huge and a mistake can have you taking quite a fall. If your not confident with a full gymnastic style boulder work out then stop when you reach the first peak, the views here are still great.


Amen to that :shock: The boulders up there are literally bigger than a garage, and are not for hopping between! It's scramble up one, get your balance, climb down between, then climb back up the next one ... and then repeat that MANY times. Definitely one for the confident/experienced scrambler, and in fine weather.

cheers

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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby DaveNoble » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 11:38 am

Yes - the boulders can be a bit tricky. I have been up there with experienced walkers, and some have stopped at the boulders and said "this will do". Fair enough. Its good to have light footwear (i.e. not heavy boots) - as you have to jump a bit from boulder to boulder. You do need to be careful, but I would not regard it as dangerous. But - you have a lot more friction in fine weather. The summit itself is a sloping pinnacle of dolerite and a bit tricky to climb and balance on top of.

You can climb the peak, asa side trip, on a long day from Windemere to Pelion Hut. I have done this on a summer day - with long daylight hours. I have also climbed the peak on a side trip from Pelion Hut, with a very early start, and we continued from Pelion West to Archilles and Thetis and then back down to the track. This was a very long day - but very worthwhile. Again - in summer.

Also - remember that you can camp more or less where you like along the Overland Track, so you can camp at Pelion Creek (or a bit north of there), or at Frog Flats etc.

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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Nuts » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 12:17 pm

As Scotty says, two logs at right angles from the track. Keep an eye out after the first small creek crossing heading south past Pelion Ck.
Without further experience (in contrast to Cradle and Ossa?) I would call Pelion West on another level, especially in the wet.. or shade perhaps by April. Probably as or more likely to have the conditions you seem to have had the first time. Maybe not- sunny April days are very special :)

I'd do it heading South, skipping WFV would make a quicker option?

You 'could' camp closer along the way. You'll need to clamber over the 'no camping' sign at Pelion Ck to do so.... (so I wouldn't camp there).
There are pleanty of places to the north, try to grab some water and camp away from the creeks would be my advice hope. Some of the old campsites are rehab'in nicely. They can easily become popular again and again the water, which a lot of people pick up from (mostly) below these old sites, could quickly become sus.

If the weather is looking dodgy towards the end linger at the various falls and along the Mersey. Pine Valley is well worth extra time, even if you don't climb out.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 12:57 pm

Thanks for all the tips guys. Massive boulders are a bit of a turn off at this stage considering I haven't had huge experiences with rock scrambling (I did get to do Barn Bluff and Pelion East last time though), but I guess I'll wait and see how the weather is and how intimidating those boulders look! Are the boulders generally flat-surfaced or rounded? Going along to Achilles and Thetis sounds fantastic, but daylight hours in April are only about 12 I think, compared with 14-15 throughout summer. Considering I still have some time up my sleeve I can come up with a different idea about how to tackle Pelion West, but ultimately I think the weather will be the maker of the decisions on the day.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 1:02 pm

Actually as a side question too, would anybody know how long it takes to walk from Pine Valley to Narcissus? We're getting the ferry at 9:30 am so I imagine we'll be leaving Pine Valley around 6 am.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby whynotwalk » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 1:11 pm

Hi Brad - two and half hours from PV to Narcissus at the longest. Given you'll have (a) a lighter pack, (b) a downhill run, and (c) the "horse-headed-for-home" syndrome, you should be able to do it easily in two. But I'd still leave before 7am, so you can relax and enjoy the walk and (hopefully) some of the great scenery,

cheers

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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby stepbystep » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 1:23 pm

Since doing PW from the back and sidling under the cliffs I've often thought it could be one of the great OT sidetrips. From the OT traverse the boulders as per usual, drop off the western end and sidle under the southern clifflines. The walking under the cliffs is very easy(and amazing) with only a minimal scrub band before rejoining the track.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Nuts » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 1:49 pm

Pelion West Is one of the great side trips. Or was, even all the guided walkers would have a go in good weather (though many were happy with the eastern end, a quick easy climb). I'm not sure what happened, the whole track is done quicker. I'm sure P. West was a lot more popular. Maybe it just gets left out in the burgeoning rush..

I had the experience of having someone (petrified) refuse to return.. to temper enthusiasm.. even in fine mid-summer weather.. No harder than the combination of other peaks you mention Loafer, easy enough to turn back if the 'leap and cling' looks too much. Just, yeah, if worried, it will last a fair bit longer. Dropping off the western end might be an option? Are you solo? I can advise against trying to drop north down into the top of Pelion Ck.. !
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Scottyk » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 4:03 pm

LoaferBread wrote:Thanks for all the tips guys. Massive boulders are a bit of a turn off at this stage considering I haven't had huge experiences with rock scrambling (I did get to do Barn Bluff and Pelion East last time though), but I guess I'll wait and see how the weather is and how intimidating those boulders look! Are the boulders generally flat-surfaced or rounded? Going along to Achilles and Thetis sounds fantastic, but daylight hours in April are only about 12 I think, compared with 14-15 throughout summer. Considering I still have some time up my sleeve I can come up with a different idea about how to tackle Pelion West, but ultimately I think the weather will be the maker of the decisions on the day.

Still worth the effort to just go the start of the boulder field as the is only maybe 50m below the actual summit and you can assess then weather you like look of it.
The boulders are flat sided and every shape you can imagine. I don't think you need any rock climbing experience just as long as you are fit and take your time (and give your self plenty of time) then there's no reason why the average walker couldn't do it.
Yes it is harder that Ossa but not that hard
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Scottyk » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 4:07 pm

Here is a pic I took of the summit view towards Cradle Mountain and Barns Bluff. It shows some nice examples of the kind or dolerite we are referring to in the foreground
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Thu 20 Feb, 2014 7:09 pm

Thanks again for the info y'all. I'm doing the track with a mate who's got similar experience but hasn't done the OLT before. Thanks so much for that pic actually, it really makes it clear what it looks like. Should be an awesome walk, but the weather will be the decider! I actually wondered at first whether we approach Pelion West from the East (in other words, make a beeline from the OLT just north of Frog Flats ) but according to the official map there is a huge incline on the eastern side. Maybe it would be wise to approach from the North Eastern side from Pelion Creek, then descend on the South Western side and do a circuit back to where we started. Originally I thought we'd just descend on the North East from where we came up, but walking underneath the cliffs there sounds like a great and new experience to tackle.

I've also been looking at Falling Mountain and seeing about squishing a summit walk into the day that we walk from Kia Ora to Pine Valley. But that's irrelevant to this thread anyway, thanks heaps again for the info!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Nuts » Fri 21 Feb, 2014 7:36 am

LoaferBread wrote:I actually wondered at first whether we approach Pelion West from the East (in other words, make a beeline from the OLT just north of Frog Flats ) but according to the official map there is a huge incline on the eastern side. Maybe it would be wise to approach from the North Eastern side from Pelion Creek, then descend on the South Western side and do a circuit back to where we started.


Yes sorry, NE from Pelion Ck. ie. Not Frog Flats.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby tibboh » Sat 22 Feb, 2014 10:40 am

"I'd rather be up a mountain"
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Lorena Mariani » Thu 20 Mar, 2014 4:36 pm

Hello,

I was thinking about doing this track during the easter break. Are you going by yourself or with a group of people?

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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby pazzar » Sat 22 Mar, 2014 3:43 pm

LoaferBread wrote:Thanks again for the info y'all. I'm doing the track with a mate who's got similar experience but hasn't done the OLT before. Thanks so much for that pic actually, it really makes it clear what it looks like. Should be an awesome walk, but the weather will be the decider! I actually wondered at first whether we approach Pelion West from the East (in other words, make a beeline from the OLT just north of Frog Flats ) but according to the official map there is a huge incline on the eastern side. Maybe it would be wise to approach from the North Eastern side from Pelion Creek, then descend on the South Western side and do a circuit back to where we started. Originally I thought we'd just descend on the North East from where we came up, but walking underneath the cliffs there sounds like a great and new experience to tackle.

I've also been looking at Falling Mountain and seeing about squishing a summit walk into the day that we walk from Kia Ora to Pine Valley. But that's irrelevant to this thread anyway, thanks heaps again for the info!


I'd avoid blazing away from the OT. There is a track there, and it is relatively good too, so I would advise that it gets used. It climbs steeply through the forest, then opens out into some fairly easy walking. Like others have said, just getting to near the top of the boulder field is an achievement and the views on a good day are amazing.

I think this sidetrip was probably once a lot more popular back when Frog Flats and Pine Forest Moor were regularly used as campsites. Since some of the rehab of sites in PFM and the general leechiness of FF, it has lessened in popularity.

I went up on a sunny day in April a few years ago - we actually had 4 days in a row of good weather. Hopefully you get something similar. Sunny days can be rare up there in April, but they do exist!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Fri 18 Jul, 2014 5:46 pm

I never made it to this section of the walk unfortunately. My travel partner became really sick on Day 1 and a blizzard then started to stir. We decided to pull out!
I'm in the process of booking a walk for February but I'm a little concerned about the apparent lack of a clear-cut path that might exist between walking the OT and getting to PW. Mainly, my concern is walking through the scrub in mid-February when a heap of snakes could be laying wherever you put your feet...! Am I being paranoid or would it actually be wise to not attempt PW during this time? Cheers!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby north-north-west » Sat 19 Jul, 2014 5:35 pm

LoaferBread wrote:I... but I'm a little concerned about the apparent lack of a clear-cut path that might exist between walking the OT and getting to PW...

This has me confused. Straight line up PW from the closest point on the OT to the north is one thing, but there is a track up PW, from the OT, not far from Frog Flats. If you're really concerned, just follow that track and then rockhop across the top. It's the most common route up PW.
As for snakes, I did the Pelion Cct in summer in mostly perfect weather, and never saw one.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Tortoise » Sat 19 Jul, 2014 10:07 pm

G'day Loafer.

Yep, the track is good, as described in detail by Scotty.
Considering I still have some time up my sleeve I can come up with a different idea about how to tackle Pelion West,
If you don't have off-track Tassie experience, I wouldn't be looking at another route. Stick to the track and save some energy for boulder-hopping.

but ultimately I think the weather will be the maker of the decisions on the day.

Well spoke!

LoaferBread wrote: Are the boulders generally flat-surfaced or rounded?
I've included some pics - flat-surfaced, but not too many are horizontal. (People blobbed out to protect the innocent :) )
What the photos can't portray are the bottomless chasms, some metres long and wide in places - so deep I literally couldn't see bottom. :shock:

Mainly, my concern is walking through the scrub in mid-February when a heap of snakes could be laying wherever you put your feet...! Am I being paranoid or would it actually be wise to not attempt PW during this time? Cheers!

Ok, a tad paranoid! I lean too far on the side of caution, and I'd leap at a chance to do this in Feb, when you've got longer days, are more likely to get good weather and gorgeous views, less likely to have slippery wet or icy boulders. I'd be more aware of a snake sunning itself on a rock that I might want to pull myself up by. So i try to remember to check where I'm putting my hands.

I probably should mention that it took us about 8 hrs return from where we left the OLT. We camped 2 nights at Frog FLats (leechy, but worth it!). 2 of us were very slow negotiating some of the obstacles. :roll: Some were tricky (eg a 2 m verticalish bit), others only tricky because of the context (one slip and you're gone). We also probably made the mistake of following cairns. It might have been easier to just find our own way - but then again there are plenty of dead ends. There are at least 2 sets of cairns, maybe more. At one point it was physically impossible to get to the next cairn, because it belonged to another set.

Having said all that, if you're not committed to bagging the highest point, it's a brilliant walk just up to the top of the first lot of boulders you come to. Stunning views of where you've been and where you're going to, and half of Tassie, without the crowds. I kept wondering why more people don't do it on their way through.

If the weather isn't too good, another great option is Oakleigh. Spectacular looking down on the spires, etc etc, then a bit further for the highest bit if you need to bag it.

Hope this helps.
PS sturdy gloves highly recommended to keep the skin on your hands.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Tortoise » Sat 19 Jul, 2014 10:11 pm

PPS This is all I could muster for the summit boulder, as an acrophobic dwarf. Was pretty chuffed just to be there, though. :D :D
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Nuts » Tue 22 Jul, 2014 10:15 am

Tortoise wrote:PPS This is all I could muster for the summit boulder, as an acrophobic dwarf. Was pretty chuffed just to be there, though. :D :D



Lol. That's a great try!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Tortoise » Tue 22 Jul, 2014 12:11 pm

Thanks Nuts 8)
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Sat 06 Dec, 2014 4:24 am

So, my next Overland Walk will be in February! Had anybody come across anything in February that may be helpful to know about the PW walk in Feb? Perhaps it's mostly the same all summer round anyway. Cheers!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Explorer_Sam » Fri 19 Feb, 2016 5:24 pm

Hopefully it's acceptable to leave my link in more than one thread on these forums. I posted it in the Tas Trip Reports section, but I feel it is appropriate to leave it here too. My account of a terrible day on Pelion West, separated from my team mate and unsuccessful on the summit. The mountain can be dangerous if you don't know what to expect. It was foolish to become separated, and I look forward to my next attempt.

https://sambochristie.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/olt3/
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Explorer_Sam » Wed 18 Jan, 2017 3:04 pm

Does anyone know where I can find Keith Lancaster's notes on PW? That would be a very interesting read.

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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Nuts » Thu 19 Jan, 2017 10:18 am

On some occasions 'solo' can = safer!
Try here?: http://dveltkamp.customer.netspace.net. ... eserve.htm though it highlights a poor route choice as well.
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby Explorer_Sam » Fri 20 Jan, 2017 6:48 pm

Nuts wrote:On some occasions 'solo' can = safer!
Try here?: http://dveltkamp.customer.netspace.net. ... eserve.htm though it highlights a poor route choice as well.


Thanks Nuts, that's perfect!
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Re: Mount Pelion West walk

Postby LoaferBread » Sat 15 Jul, 2017 10:48 am

Explorer_Sam wrote:Hopefully it's acceptable to leave my link in more than one thread on these forums. I posted it in the Tas Trip Reports section, but I feel it is appropriate to leave it here too. My account of a terrible day on Pelion West, separated from my team mate and unsuccessful on the summit. The mountain can be dangerous if you don't know what to expect. It was foolish to become separated, and I look forward to my next attempt.

https://sambochristie.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/olt3/



Thanks for sharing your story, Sam. I can only imagine what a stressful experience it must've been. This certainly highlights the importance of sticking together, and also turning back when you truly don't feel you can bag the summit on that occasion. At least you can rest easy knowing that PW will still be sitting there for the rest of your life, waiting to be bagged on another occasion!
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