Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky Cape

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Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky Cape

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:21 pm

This is a belated trip report from January 2015.

It was a party of 6 which ventured into the SW with an 8 day trip to the Eastern Arthurs.
It was another occasion when I took the van over on the ferry to give us wheels on the ground.
2 of us travelled over from SA - putting in a quick hike to Mt Stapylton in the Grampians along the way.
We also dropped in on Liffey Falls and Pine Lake when driving down to Hobart.
The locals in Hobart were still in a buzz due to several recent rescues out of the SW due to big rains and flooding.

Having picked up the other 4 walkers, we had hoped for an early start next day, but it started with some running around trying to borrow a Trangia burner for one of the team who had accidentally ommitted it from his kit.
So we ended up starting at 11 am from the headend of the Huon Track. The day was overcast with some rain.
I had read about maintenance work on the track so I was a little surprised to find some logs across it. Still, it was a pretty good track for walking.
We stopped at 1:45 pm for lunch at Blakes Opening before finishing the day at Harrisons Creek at 5 pm - 15km covered.

Saturday was the best weather of the trip. The morning clouds sooned burned off leaving clear blue skies. Pity this was a day for covering distance.
I love how the dark waters of Tas can produce great reflections, and the track skirting the Huon had a few spots to highlight this.
9442HuonReflections.jpg
Reflections in the Huon River


The views of the Western Arthurs from McKays Spur lifted our spirits, but Cracroft Crossing was a bit of an ordeal.
Firstly, it appears we missed the main track by following what appeared to be a clear track out along the bend in the river. At this point the track disappears in a vast area of cutting grass.
We eventually bashed our way around till we came to a log jumble with a very large log offering a good way to cross the river.
The 3 young ones tested their nerve by walking across this, while the 3 oldies [that includes me] went on a bit further and having picked up the main track again, waded across.
It was quite hot by this stage - so some of the guys went for a swim and it was our lunch break.
9462CracroftLog.jpg
Crossing the Cracroft - carefully..


Then came the second problem. The track through the riverside scrub to the campsite was difficult to pick up.
According to some who had been here before, it appears that it must have been burnt out at some stage and the regrowth has been prolific so that not much indication of the old track is left.
We did eventually get to the campsite - and again, the comment was that it was smaller than before due to the strong regrowth.
So it was a relief to find the track then breaks out onto the buttongrass plains.
This section is duckboard - apparently due to a die back disease that infected the area.
9471CracroftPlain.jpg
Starting up the Razorback looking back to Cracroft Crossing


The day was still hot and the rest of the walk was without shade - over the plains and bare hillsides. But the view of the Eastern and Western Arthurs including Federation from the Razorback were great.
9479Fedders.jpg
Federation Peak beckons


9499LuckmansLead.jpg
Luckmans Lead
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:28 pm

The button grass walking through to the Strike Creek Crossing was ok, and we had a bit of fun crossing there, but it was a mistake to follow the pad away from there, as it sort of disappears on the adjacent hillside.
We later learnt that the track proper follows a bit further along the creek to the campsite and climbed more gradually towards Lucifer Ridge.

From there it was an easy traverse around the edge of Lucifer Ridge and out to the first campsite at Pass Creek.
We had taken 8 hr 40 min of walking to cover the 17km and 825m of climbing, and for some reason I was feeling pretty beaten up by it.
We were expecting bad weather the next day and took a break at Pass Creek. As it turned out, 2 of the crew ran back to Cracroft Crossing in the hope of finding a missing rain jacket.
That was how we found out about the proper route through Strike Creek. The lesson - check if you used a raincoat as stuffing in a pillow sack first!

Well, the weather had certainly turned wet - but Monday was a shorter day climbing Luckmans Lead through the showers. We were not rushing, but still spent 5 hours going the 3.6km and climbing 890m to Stuarts Saddle.
9533Ross.jpg
Ascending Luckmans Lead in the rain


The climb is initially steep but open, and it is good through the scrubby areas, so probably the main lesson for the day was how vertical the track can get as we traversed down and around past the Boiler Plates.
Given a very early camp setup - I managed to climb the Dial twice in the afternoon.
9585BoilerPlates.jpg
Boiler Plates looming out of the mist


9588NearBoilerPlates.jpg
Rock Towers near Luckmans Lead


9609MurkyWAsCr.jpg
Western Arthurs


9617TopofLuckmans.jpg
From the Dial looking over the top of Luckmans Lead
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:32 pm

9620StuartsSaddle_0231.jpg
Phone panorama from the Dial over the Needles, Lake Leo and East Portal


Tuesday morning was cloudy, but I was up to see if sunrise had some colour.
From the saddle, there is a fine view past the Boiler Plates and the East Portal to the West Portal
9677MorningGlow.jpg
Morning looking to West Portal


And in the other direction you can see past Goon Moor to Federation. This morning it was wrapped in cloud - but occassionally the top would break through.
9680FederationInCloud.jpg
Federation in cloud


Today would be our real encounter with the Eastern Arthurs. A much wetter day, now it was not only steep, but the jungle becomes a true obstacle course.
The wet moss looks fantastic, until you have to clamber over and under the wet branches and roots at all sorts of angles.
9696Mosses.jpg
Lots of mosses in the forest


It would take us over 9 hours to go the 7.3 km and 815m climbing to Hanging Lake.
Some of the low pandani was in spectacular flower.
9722MultiColour.jpg
Richea alpina (?) in flower
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:38 pm

When the cloud lifted, there were good views to the SW
9753SouthWestView.jpg
More of the SW to explore - towards Mt Rugby


I had been looking forward to some good views from Goon Moor, but having past the camping platforms embedded in forest, we broke out onto the moor to be greeted by some of the heaviest rain of the day.
There was another break as we came over the top to see The Gables, but we then passed through more scrub before ascending the first of the 4 Peaks which is very easy.
9755BackfromFourPeaks.jpg
Gables and Lake Cracroft from the 4 Peaks


From the top of this first peak, there are good views up to Thwaites Plateau and Federation Peak.
It was coming in and out of view as cloud passed through.
9769FeddersLooms.jpg
Moody approach to Federation


We found some shelter from the wind in the saddle between peaks 1 & 2 and had lunch.
Then the real fun started. I had always thought the 4 Peaks would be the real test, and thinking back, I still can't figure out quite where we went.
I think it was on the first descent we decided to pack haul at a rather vertical drop.
[Everything was vertical - its just that some bits were a bit more vertical]
9779FourPeaksGullyView.jpg
The slope in view is the angle we were descending through the Four Peaks


It took us 2.5 hours to get through the last 3 of the 4 Peaks - on paper, approximately 500m.
Some great views as we emerged out of scrub again, but as we ascended up above Thwaites Plateau, the cloud came back and stayed with us all the way to Hanging Lake.
9791LakeBewsher.jpg
Just out of the Four Peaks and looking down to Lake Bewsher
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:43 pm

9801PastTheThumb.jpg
The route up Thwaites Plateau past the Thumb


No views from the Devil's Thumb today.
After a long day, the climb seemed to go on and on, and it was with a great sense of relief we broke through the top wall of rock to descend down, knowing Hanging Lake was not far away.

Wednesday was the big day.
We were in the heart of the SW - camped at Hanging Lake!! But there was a lot of cloud to start the day, so we had a very relaxed start.
Around 10am, some of us chose to climb Geeves Bluff - despite going up in cloud. It was a good decision as it soon lifted enough to give amazing vistas.
9834DroptoGeeves.jpg
As the cloud lifted, it revealed glistening cliff faces over Lake Geeves


9850GeevesPanView.jpg
From Geeves Bluff over Hanging Lake


9860FeddersandLakeGeeves.jpg
Hanging Lake to Lake Geeves


After soaking that in, it was back to pack up and head off around 12:30 pm for the Southern Traverse
Climbing up to the rock wall above Hanging Lake, we emerged back onto the main track. Most of us dropped packs and dropped down towards the Devils Thumb for some views.
9890Thwaites.jpg
Looking back down to Thwaites Plateau from the track junction
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:50 pm

Soon we had returned and started out on the Southern Traverse. This is spectacular.
9915Federation.jpg
Southern Traverse


We decided to pack haul at the large surface crack, but it was probably unnecessary. Better safe than sorry.
SouthernTraverseCrack.jpg
Me coming down the crack where we pack hauled


It is exposed either side of the knife edge ridge .
9921NorthernLakes.jpg
Northern Lakes from the Traverse


But I felt one of the scariest places was a simple notch in the side of a cliff - sheer drop below and this rock at about head height to keep you honest..
9934TightSpot.jpg
You have to past this notch in the cliff face


Just past here was a spot with some wood for track construction - and we grabbed some lunch.
3 waited there while the 2 young ones and I scooted [read very gingerly and carefully] made our way up to the top of Federation Peak.
I have recorded some details on this at http://new.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=21135#p279273
While the camera gear can weigh a bit, I do like having my 55-300mm zoom lens with me. This is a shot over Stuarts Saddle from the top - Frenchman's Cap a long way away.
9953StuartSaddle.jpg
A telephoto shot of Stuart Saddle from Federation Peak - check out Frenchman's Cap
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 3:55 pm

And this is the view of the Southern Traverse and Hanging Lake - I have noted where we pack hauled.
9961SouthernTraverseNoted.jpg
Southern Traverse and Hanging Lake from the top - I have ringed our packhaul spot


I worked my way around the top to a section which ends with a sheer drop down to the track below.
From there I could look down on the 3 below waiting for us. They mistakenly thought I must have been on my stomach.
MeOnTop.jpg
Their photo of me on top


9967ObserversFromTop.jpg
Looking down to the 3 having lunch below - at the same time


Knowing that coming down was the more difficult and dangerous part, we slowly and carefully made our way back to the others who were now packed and waiting at the actual start of the summit climb.
9980ObserversAwait.jpg
Descending back to the side track start


I thought it would be easy enough from here, but there were 3 more adventurous sections to go.
The chockstone gully was easy enough to find, but it was more of a rock waterfall than a gully.
I was relieved to get to the Geeves Gully platform.
9989ChockstoneFromTurnoff.jpg
The Chockstone "Gully" - or is that a cliff face...
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:00 pm

But then I got it wrong. I started to ascend the obvious gully from there, but about 20m up I realised we were heading straight into the cliffs of Federation proper.
Going back down again, we realised that the start of Geeves Gully climb is actually a small cliff face.
In fact, Geeves Gully consists of a lot of small cliff faces, and when combined with the jet stream wind that was being funnelled into this narrow cleft, it became quite a mental as well as physical challenge.
9996GeevesGully.jpg
The very steep Geeves Gully


I think most of us were greatly relieved to pop out through the gap at the top of the gully onto the broad open area that begins the descent to Berchervaise Plateau.
The Southern Traverse provides views to Precipitous Bluff, but it was late afternoon when it was lit up briefly by the sun.
9999PBzoom.jpg
Precipitous Bluff


Although quite close to our campsite now, we still had one last obstacle - the amazing descent along sloping cracks in the vast rock wall above Berchervaise Plateau.
I enjoyed this descent, but it is clear there is no room for silly mistakes, as there is only air next to you most of the way down.
0011Careful.jpg
Carefully descending the Berchervaise Cliff Faces


It had not rained all day, but it had been very overcast. It was very nice for the sun to give some end of day appearances to give a lovely light on this wilderness.
0012ViewToAnne.jpg
Afternoon view from the Plateau to Mt Anne


We had been very relaxed and taken 5 hours to cover the 2km between Hanging Lake and Berchervaise, including the climb of Federation.
Berchervaise Plateau was the most exposed of all our campsites and we endured a stiff cold wind while we were there.

It is hard to do justice to the next sections of our trip. The weather was degenerating again and we had showers throughout the next 2 days.
Moss Ridge...wow.
In the upper parts - it was negotiating incredible ups and downs.
At one stage we were on the ridge looking across to the next part at the same height only to find that we had to go down a cliff to cross a small chasm before climbing the cliff up the other side.
I had been warned by scrubmaster that we would need to packhaul, but it ended up that we never did.
Discussing it with him after - it appears we had found a cliff with an adjacent tree in which someone had embedded a wood plank.
This allowed us to slide down till we were standing on the plank and from there we could drop down onto the track.
Without that plank, descending here would require placing all our weight on a tiny root and dropping down about 8 feet.
0042LeavingBivouacCave.jpg
Climbing out from the bivouac cave on Moss Ridge
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:04 pm

The lower part of the ridge becomes a very demanding jungle gym - lots of up and over slippery logs and roots.
It took us 5:45 to cover the 2.8km to Cutting Camp where we had lunch.
There was a desire to push on hard to get out quicker on the next day, so we went past all the interim camp sites and staggered into South Cracroft after another 6.9km and lots of mud as the light was failing at 8 PM.
We had been walking for 11hrs 20 min for the day.
0055Mud.jpg
Lots of mud in the button grass and cutting grass


0056.jpg
A delightful creek


South Cracroft is a lovely big camping area in the forest.
It took a while to recover with a hot meal and drinks, and trying to dry our selves out.
The exit on the next day uses a very large old log near the campsite to cross the river.
The track then climbs through rich forest to the Picton Saddle - more up and over and slipping and sliding around with our packs.
It is more forest coming down off the saddle - but becomes a major area of deep mud and cutting grass just around the turnoff to Lake Sydney.
0066MuddyForest.jpg
Mud in the forest as well


The track back along Farmhouse Creek was a major improvement. We stopped for lunch in the rain at a campsite next to Farmhouse Creek.
But we got a bit of a hurry up when we realised the place was crawling with leeches.
While there was clearly a desire to go fast, I was having trouble keeping up due to every step being painful.
I insisted on us staying together until we got to the bridge and road, but after that each went at their own pace.
We had arranged for someone to meet us here, but we were also aware that the road was out for some distance due to a large pothole - which turned out being an extra 2.4km.
Our driver had walked down, and met us a short distance out. I staggered back last of all to the car.
My feet had been too wet for 2 days now, making the last sections of walking a very painful exercise.
I had no blistering, but it is amazing how painful it is walking on prunes.
We had done 11.5 km in 6 hrs 50 min - getting to the car at 3:40 pm.
Feet_0361.jpg
My feet after 2 days getting too wet. Ouch Ouch Ouch


We were finding leeches coming out of our gear for a few days after this, and it was the first place I had been to in Tas where we were having to pluck off ticks.
But having left the others in Hobart, 2 of us took the car back to the boat via the West Coast.
It was all very relaxed now. We dropped in on Nelson Falls on a perfect day.
0082VertNelson.jpg
Nelson Falls
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:08 pm

Stopping at Tullah - we whipped up to Lake Herbert late afternoon.
I had expected a pad of some sort connecting from the lake to Mt Farrell, but we never found it, and ended up in some rather thick scrub pushing through to the peak.
It was a very obvious track back from the top, but it does appear that the 2 tracks branch early along the ridgeline without any interconnector at the ends.
0108HerbertSerenity.jpg
Lake Herbert


Great views from the top with much of the Reserve in view.
0122PelionCircuit.jpg
Telephoto shot of Pelion West, Paddys Nut and Ossa


0125HerbertOverviewC.jpg
Looking over Sophia to the southern Reserve


0130RidgeNorth.jpg
North along the Farrell ridgeline


I had originally thought we might camp on Jukes that night.
The weather report indicated that the only area of Tasmania that would have clear weather the next day was Cradle Mt. !!
I love the Cradle Valley area, and given that my companion had not been before, we set off early to do a loop and knock off a few peaks I was yet to visit.
It was a fantastic day - and the feet had recovered well.
[I should also add that looking towards the West Coast indicated that we probably would have been in cloud all day if we had tried for Jukes.]

We did 13.5km heading up to Mt Campbell and then finding the pad up Little Horn before completing the circuit via Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla
0172Oakleigh.jpg
Love that zoom lens - Mt Oakleigh from Campbell
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:12 pm

0200CampbellPan.jpg
Panorama from Mt Campbell


I think one of my favourite viewing spots in Tas are the Twisted Lakes (Twisted Tarn is in Mt Field - doh) and once again, they did not disappoint.
0206TwistedView.jpg
Classic view over Twisted Lakes


0225OverDove.jpg
Lake Dove from the Little Horn


We stayed at Penguin that night and the next day used the morning to check out Sisters Beach at Rocky Cape NP before getting on the boat at Devonport.
0320SistersBeach.jpg
Sisters Beach


0336WetCavePoint.jpg
Wet Cave Point


Overall - the Eastern Arthurs was the hardest walk I had done in Tas, but a great sense of accomplishment as well as a variety of places and experiences in those few days.

Cheers
Brian
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle and Rocky

Postby DaveNoble » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:29 pm

Great trip report and photos!

I think the photo you have labelled as pandani in flower is actually Richea alpina (a related species that grows only in the Arthurs)

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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:43 pm

Thanks Dave.
I am sure you will be right.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby bumpingbill » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:47 pm

Those feet are awesome. Great write up too. Great photos.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby north-north-west » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 7:59 pm

Thanks for the report. Great photos, but you've not exactly enthused me about hitting the Eastern Arthurs. It sounds like a hell of a lot of very, very hard work.

Herbert/Farrell connection - there are some very faint pads, but they run between the ridge south of Farrell and the western side of the lake, with a nice little scramble through a steepish gully on the summit tower. I've done it twice the other way around, and you have to be careful there as it's easy to get on the wrong line and find yourself confronted by sheer drops. Good fun, but.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby DanShell » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 8:40 pm

That would be the most inspirational pictorial/report that I have read...ever :)

Thanks for sharing the report and fantastic photos.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby eggs » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 8:42 pm

Thanks NNW.
I did think that I could make a through connection at Farrell, but we definitely picked a difficult route at first attempt. I hit a patch of the infamous Bauera. I had never been neck deep in a tangle of it before.
That was an interesting experience, but on the way back it was clear that I could have avoided it with a better choice.

Trips are funny - over time, the pain fades and the highlights grow in the mind.
The 2 old fellows [which includes me] think that we would take more time if we did it again. That would be a big if, as I have too many unvisited spots to think about it for now.

However, knowing your delight in solo walks, I would recommend a few to go together on this one.
We only met 6 people the whole time. The first one was a young man on our day 2 before Cracroft Crossing who had just been solo through the Eastern Arthurs and he looked in pretty good shape for it. He also moved a lot faster than we were.
A group of 4 young people were heading in towards Moss Ridge, and they were very clean. Given the mud we went through after that, they must have been very agile and careful to have kept so clean.
The last person was at South Cracroft - but he had only done a short excursion and was not on a traverse.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby north-north-west » Sat 21 Nov, 2015 8:18 am

Yeah, company would definitely be best for that, but I'm so *&%$#! slow these days I'd feel guilty about holding everyone else up. Maybe start a day or two early and meet up on the more difficult bits. But Fedders itself still scares me. Not the the Four Peaks sounds any better . . .

This is roughly the line from the summit, looking back at it from the next bit of ridge (which you pass to the east if you want to get to the lake - it drops sheer east and south). You have to push through some woody scrub to the edge of the tower and then work your way down into that gully - the descent is mostly inside it, not on the rocks. Once at the saddle it's a lot easier.
wai011.jpg

(I was keeping that one for Where am I?, but what the hell . . . )
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Sat 21 Nov, 2015 9:20 am

Thanks for sharing Eggs. Another great trip report from you, with your customary excellent photos.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again - they often take hours of work, but trip reports are far and away my favourite highlight of BW.com
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby neilmny » Sat 21 Nov, 2015 9:50 am

Eggs, your reports and pictures just get better and better.
Thanks for posting.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby Nuts » Sun 22 Nov, 2015 10:30 am

Wow, nice tour! Twisted Lakes they'd be :wink:
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby eggs » Sun 22 Nov, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks Nuts.
I could suggest that was to test if folk were paying attention, but just a brain fade.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby Tortoise » Mon 23 Nov, 2015 12:14 pm

Hey eggs,

Thanks heaps for another inspiring, sobering and very helpful report. :)
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby naturelover » Mon 23 Nov, 2015 12:25 pm

What a great report. Just loved it - both comments and photos... and being one who lugs her full-frame camera about the place, I know that good photos can come at a big (weight) cost. I loved the ones of the mossy forests as well as the fabulous vistas and the ones of mountains in mist (and the feet were, of course, spectacular). I rather think that means I loved nearly every photo :-). Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby Mountain Rocket » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 9:08 am

Stunning photos as usual eggs, thanks for the report. Certainly whet my Fedders appetite.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby bauplenut » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 6:58 pm

Great report and photos eggs. I am not inspired to do it though, western Arthur traverse was tough enough for me:-)
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby eggs » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 9:16 pm

Don't get too put off. The young ones bounced through pretty well. It was only us older ones that were staggering a bit at the end. A day or 2 extra and some better weather would have assisted.
Not sure about comparing with the WAs. I have got through to Pegasus, but not the whole range. I suspect Capricorn is similar to the cliffs at Bechervaise and parts of Moss Ridge, and the Beggary Bumps have a reputation, but probably the deep forest and some muddy bits are the big difference with the Eastern Arthur's.
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Re: Federation Peak and bust! plus Farrell, Cradle & Rocky C

Postby chickenman » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 4:37 pm

One of the best photo adventures i have read this year....great stuff.
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