Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

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Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Wed 20 Jun, 2018 7:41 pm

I have attached a few photos from my 14 day traverse along the Eldon Range to Lake St Clair. To see the rest of the photos use the links.

Lake Burbury to Eldon Peak
https://photos.app.goo.gl/4Ap8e9p6pRgfUSzd9
After travelling from Hobart, the Tassielink bus driver kindly dropped me off at 4pm at the start of the Old Lyell Highway, which saved me a couple of kilometres of walking. As I did not have access to a boat, I instead made my way along the eastern shore of Lake Burbury.
Only two hours into the trip, as I was scrub-bashing near Princess River, my heavily loaded pack started to feel odd. I took the pack off and was aghast to see that the harness of my pack had broken in two places. I gave it some thought and decided that turning back was not an option. I rigged up a repair with some rope and crossed my fingers. Fortunately it held for the rest of the trip.
As the lake was close to full, it made the walking slow and difficult in places. This was especially the case in the section around Princess River, where the mixture of fallen timber and scrub was particularly taxing. To shorten the traverse, I waded up Bull Rivulet then crossed the low point of the Little Eldons, before descending steeply back to the lake shore.
The remainder of the lake shore was fairly easy (with quite a bit of shallow wading) and late in the afternoon of the second day I finally reached the junction of the Eldon and South Eldon Rivers. The shallow South Eldon River was easily waded, then followed a few hours of easy walking through the delightful fern-filled rainforest alongside the Eldon River, before making camp in the forest at sunset.
Bad weather was forecast, so I slept solidly and awoke early and commenced the very steep, untracked climb up Eldon Peak. Six hours later I reached the top, feeling quite exhausted, but the rain had arrived, so there were no views and I made an exposed camp on a small ledge near the south summit.
The following day it rained all morning, but was fine for the afternoon, so I shifted to the much larger, more sheltered shelf just east of the peak, where there is water from several small ponds.
Persistent rain meant that I was stuck in the tent for the following day and night, but then, as forecast, the cold front stalled and as if by magic, I woke the following morning to find myself in sunshine above a sea of low cloud. A return to the summit was obviously in order and I found that at first I was on the only peak that rose above the clouds. What an unexpected delight!
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View east from Eldon Peak


Eldon Peak to Low Col
https://photos.app.goo.gl/KoSj6SEeuAey6Mz6A
The traverse of the long, rocky spine from Eldon Peak to Low Col has a notorious reputation in bushwalking circles for being slow and exhausting. In my opinion that reputation is entirely deserved.
Although I've always been quite happy hopping along the rocks (and much prefer that to scrub-bashing) this section of the range was almost as much a mental challenge as a physical test. The multitudes of huge boulders, combined with the numerous large humps that need to be navigated, conspired after a while to give me a distinct sense of deja vu (I'm sure I've climbed that rock before!).
At one stage I confidently thought that I was on the last hump, only for my heart to sink with dismay on seeing that several more humps still lay ahead. What's worse, several of these lower humps suddenly ended in cliff lines that needed to be descended through with some difficulty.
In compensation the huge wilderness views were quite lovely to admire in the sunshine, during the numerous rest stops. And in some places there were small areas of flowering vegetation. I don't recall seeing any water along the route.
I started at noon and arrived at Low Col only shortly before sunset. Although the overall trend of the afternoon's walk was downhill, the rock gym meant that you actually do an extraordinary amount of climbing along the way. If you like the challenge of traversing piles of huge rocks, then this is definitely the right spot for you. I think it will be a "once only" for me though!
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Looking back from the first hump towards Eldon Peak


Low Col to Eldon Crag
https://photos.app.goo.gl/k5HXCbWo3peb5Rbc9
After a well earned sleep I awoke to a very windy, overcast morning at Low Col. The climb back onto the now N-S oriented ridge was quite slow due to the scrub and the steep slope was covered in large slabs. However after that, the flattish ridge top was easy going until a couple of large rocky towers needed to be negotiated. This was made more difficult by the wind gusts, which were now actually strong enough to blow me sideways off of my feet.
The second tower was fairly easily bypassed by sidling into a high valley which had a nice supply of much needed fresh water. A short, easy wander up the open valley then lead to my first full view of the impressive southern cliffs of Eldon Bluff. At this point the wind strengthened again as a thunderstorm briefly passed overhead.
After sheltering from the storm I continued along the now broad ridge and soon after was surprised to come across 74 year old David Young. I accepted his invitation to join him and we wandered together easily along the gently undulating ridge to the rounded summit of Eldon Crag. Fortunately the winds had abated and we were able to safely enjoy the impressive view of nearby Eldon Bluff.
I tend to find that most of the time the view looking up at a mountain makes for a better photo than the view looking down from the mountain. The remote Eldon Crag is an exception. The peak itself looks pretty unremarkable from most directions, but the view from the summit looking across to nearby Eldon Bluff is quite impressive, particularly with Lake Dorothy sitting below.
On returning to where we'd met, the weather quickly deteriorated, so I bade David farewell and set up camp next to a lone pine tree, to take shelter for the night from the approaching storm. David is 74. To see him complete such a tough walk and climb at that age is quite inspirational.
After a wet and very windy night I was surprised to wake to blue skies and sunshine, so I spent the whole morning again at Eldon Crag, admiring the fabulous views. The sense of being deep in the wilderness was quite special and I was somewhat reluctant to leave, but my primary goal of Eldon Bluff awaited just a short distance ahead.
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Lake Dorothy and Eldon Bluff


Eldon Crag to Lake Ewart
https://photos.app.goo.gl/VKPjsC1aDKs4kpag6
Having spent the whole morning at Eldon Crag, I packed camp and spent the sunny afternoon exploring nearby Eldon Bluff.
The steep climb over huge slabs, from the western saddle to the start of the large summit plateau, took about half an hour. The plateau is quite large, with numerous small ponds surrounded by a carpet of beautiful alpine vegetation. The views in all directions are enormous, with barely a sign of man's presence disrupting the 360 degree wilderness view. It definitely rates among the finest views in Tasmania and it was well worth the huge amount of effort it took to reach this remote spot.
The view across nearby Lake Ewart towards the many peaks of the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park was particularly nice.
The mountain is split by a steep gully into two parts; the wide, main western plateau and a narrower rocky eastern ridge. After exploring the plateau, sadly I had run out of time to visit the eastern ridge, as I knew it would take a fair while to descend to my planned campsite at Lake Ewart.
I returned to the western saddle, then sidled through the scrub, close to the base of the huge northern cliff face. After two tiring hours I reached the more open ridge that leads to Dome Hill. Turning northeast I descended easily across an undulating buttongrass covered plateau, admiring the views as the sun set, thinking I'd shortly be at camp. However, there was a last, very thick belt of scrub hidden just out of my view, so I didn't reach the lake shore until 10pm in the dark. This set an unwanted record for the latest that I have ever reached camp, but I really wanted to witness sunrise at Lake Ewart on the following day.
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View east from Eldon Bluff


Lake Ewart to Pyramid Mountain
https://photos.app.goo.gl/qdXvuv4aTfyCkeCw5
Finally, the moment I had dreamed of for 25 years had arrived; sunrise at Lake Ewart. Unfortunately the dawn was very cloudy, so I didn't get the red sunrise glow on the cliffs that I had hoped for. However, the slowly shifting patterns of light and shadow on the peak, as the cloud partially broke up made for a quite different, moody, dramatic scene, which I thoroughly enjoyed and that will live long in my memory.
Later on, 2 black swans and their 3 cygnets slowly swam back and forth, feeding in the lake shallows. Aside from the wind, all was peaceful and quiet, as I admired the way in which the lake so serenely complemented its beautiful mountain backdrop.
I had originally planned to spend a full day here, but the updated weather forecast for the following day was for rain, so I made the sensible decision to push on to 5 Duck Tarn in the afternoon, while the going was still good.
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Eldon Bluff from Lake Ewart

The high sandstone ridges leading to 5 Duck Tarn are mostly covered by scrub, with the relief of some stretches of open moorland. The walk took over 7 hours, with the highlight being the views from Late Lunchtime Hill. From there on I was back in familiar territory, so since it was late in the day I didn't bother climbing High Dome again. The final scrub-bash descent to 5 Duck Tarn was as tiresome as ever.
After a nice sunset, the forecast was correct and I awoke to light showers at 5 Duck Tarn. Rising early, rain soon ensued as I descended to cross the South Eldon River and then made the long, slow, 3 hour climb to Junction Hill. This latter section I did with a group of 4 other walkers whom I had heard behind me (David Young's group). Bidding them farewell after sharing a cold lunch atop Junction Hill, I set off alone again, once more into new, trackless territory, towards Pyramid Mountain. The next section of alpine moors was wonderfully easy but the final climb to the summit was surprisingly steep and slow, due to a belt of the thickest scrub that I had encountered on the trip. I camped in the rain, just below the summit of Pyramid Mountain; cold and wet, but grateful it wasn't too windy in such an exposed spot.
The next morning I awoke to sunshine; high above the fog that filled several of the valleys below. It was windy and bitterly cold at first, but the views from the summit were lovely. and not to be missed.
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High Dome at sunset


Pyramid Mountain to Goulds Sugarloaf
https://photos.app.goo.gl/7PpU1TDARXgboGHT7
The steep descent down the northeast ridge of Pyramid Mountain was thankfully much easier than the previous day's climb, with only a short stretch of very steep scrub before entering a nice open rain forest. This soon led on to a small, scrubby buttongrass plain where I stopped for a late breakfast, as there hadn't been any water at my campsite, in spite of the previous day's rain.
The next stretch was an easy sidle through some beautiful temperate myrtle rainforest. The forest was mostly open, but was choked with pandanni in some of the shallow gullies. This was followed by a long stretch of buttongrass and scrub, but fortunately the scrub patches could be easily avoided, with my GPS keeping me on the right course.
I had a late lunch beside a lovely small creek at the foot of the climb to the long ridge that leads to Little Sugarloaf. Alas, the open rainforest quickly disappeared, so almost all of the very steep climb was through eucalypt forest, with a low, tangled bauera understorey that slowed my progress significantly.
After the best part of 2 hours it was a relief to break out onto the wonderfully open ridge top that leads south to Little Sugarloaf. The views from here are lovely, so I set up camp just east of the summit, had an early dinner and then set out for the adjacent Goulds Sugarloaf.
It is an easy 30 minute ramble across the open high saddle to Goulds Sugarloaf, which is a deceptively tall mountain in spite of its smooth shape. The dolerite cap here has been shattered by freeze and thaw action, rather than forming cliffs. The panoramic views are outstanding; particularly the view south across a deep valley to the nearby cliffs of the Cheyne Range. It would have been an awe inspiring sight if those cliffs had lit up at sunset, but unfortunately the clouds had descended so the only colour in the gloomy sunset was in a few of the clouds. Nonetheless, the side trip was still well and truly worth it.
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View towards the distant Prince of Wales Range from Pyramid Mountain


Goulds Sugarloaf to Cuvier Shelf
https://photos.app.goo.gl/zpak9BcCmgxdr6VN7
I awoke early, just in time to witness a beautiful dawn. There was some nice pink colour in the clouds, but the wind chill was so great that I struggled to hold the camera steady and so was initially forced to take shelter from the biting wind in the western lee of Little Sugarloaf. The views in all directions across the wilderness were huge.
As this was my 12th day of walking and I'd been on limited rations, I knew already that I didn't have the energy to climb more than one mountain today. So it was an easy decision to abandon thoughts of doing the scrubby side trip to Mt Manfred later on in the day. Instead I decided to take it easy and would just move to nearby Cuvier Shelf.
The initial descent from Little Sugarloaf is across wonderfully easy, open terrain, with few plants growing much above ankle height on the high, exposed ridge. Shortly after reaching a broad saddle there is a thin band of scrub, then it is an easy walk on more open terrain to the flat-topped Coal Hill. I didn't notice any coal here (must be lower down), but the views are lovely, especially to the south down the wide Cuvier Valley towards Lake Petrarch, so I lazed about and had lunch here in the sunshine.
After a short battle with the band of prickly scoparia that guards the eastern side of Coal Hill, an easy walk along a glacial moraine leads to the southern cliffs of Mt Cuvier. At this point you can descend directly to Cuvier Shelf, but instead I continued steeply upwards to the summit.
The summit of Mt Cuvier is fairly roomy, with wonderful views in all directions. The twin summits of nearby Mt Manfred dominate the view, but I found my eye more drawn to nearby Lake Marion, cradled attractively by the mountain wall of The Guardians and Mt Gould. The view south along Lake St Clair is also impressive.
The descent down the southeast ridge of Mt Cuvier was surprisingly steep and comprised mainly of huge dolerite slabs; like a small version of the Eldon Peak rock garden. On reaching the fairly flat expanse of Cuvier Shelf I was dismayed to find that the entire area was absolutely infested with tiny, fairly aggressive ants. After much searching I finally found a small spot where I could set up my tent without being constantly harassed!
The views from the weathered sandstone cliffs that form the eastern and southern edges of the roomy shelf are lovely. There is a small pond, which I christened The Pool of Holy Water, and a few tiny streams, as well as some nice patches of Pencil Pines. In autumn the place would be even prettier, as there is a lot of fagus sheltering on the southern side of the shelf below the cliffs.
As had so often been the case during this trip, in the late afternoon the clouds rolled in, once again robbing me of any chance to see the cliffs glowing red at sunset. However, luckily there was some pink in the clouds to make my stay here for the night worthwhile. Unsurprisingly, there was no one else in the area, and the sense of remoteness remained strong, even though Cuvier Shelf is not very far from the Overland Track as the crow flies.
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Mt Byron, Mt Olympus and Lake Petrarch; view from Coal Hill


Cuvier Shelf to Cynthia Bay
https://photos.app.goo.gl/dK9hEr4jqVtH1o6v8
On day 13 mother nature finally granted me a spectacular dawn light show. The clouds to the south and east lit up in shades of intense orange and pink, which was impressive to witness. However, it then fully clouded over which made the sunrise itself a non-event. The wind soon began to howl from the northeast, so paying attention to the saying "red sky at morning, shepherds warning" I had a quick breakfast and broke camp. The grey clouds behind Mt Cuvier looked rather ominous, so I hoped to reach the shelter of Lake St Clair before the approaching cold front hit.
The traverse through the Cuvier-Byron saddle proved fairly straightforward, thanks to the wombat paths that eased the way through the scrub and forest. The trackless climb up Mt Byron was as steep as it had looked, but thankfully it was mostly through open forest, with the scrub only appearing just before reaching the summit cliffs. As I climbed upwards the wind continued to strengthen to gale force; howling through the tree tops, sounding as though there was a helicopter hovering above me.
The views, even in the gloomy conditions, were nice, but with the front approaching this was not the time to linger, so I made a quick descent down the Mt Byron track. The steep track soon leaves the rocks and passes through a beautiful, open subalpine myrtle forest decorated with many tall pandanni.
Soon after, I reached Byron Gap and began the 90 minute descent to Lake St Clair. The track passes through some magnificent old myrtle rainforest and mixed forest, which I appreciated, in spite of the somewhat tiresome manner in which the track undulates.
On reaching the junction with the Overland Track I had a brief rest then set off, thinking to take the easy way out by catching the ferry at nearby Narcissus Bay. But then I told myself to harden up and turned back to walk around the lake to Cynthia Bay instead.
Fatigued from the early start, the walk to Echo Point hut took much longer than normal, so I was too tired to stop and appreciate the beautiful forest along the way. When the heavens opened just a few minutes after reaching the hut, it was an easy decision to stay there for the afternoon and night, as the rain continued to pour down.
I shared the very small hut with an ex-army couple, but we later received an unwelcome nocturnal visit from a few native black water rats. In the morning we discovered that they had damaged one of their packs and had also destroyed the canvas pouch in which I had stored my rubbish.
It was a cool morning, but the showers soon moved on and I spent the next 4 hours or so slowly walking through the lakeside forest. This time I was well rested and in the right mood to appreciate its beauty, as well as the way in which the forest changes character as you walk south to the drier environs at the end of the lake at Cynthia Bay.
Over 14 days, I had made my way through a remote, mostly trackless wilderness. The scenery along the way had exceeded my expectations. The weather had been rather changeable throughout the journey, but thankfully most of the bad weather had been at night. I had finally ticked off the last hike that had been stubbornly sitting on a bucket list that I had drawn up 25 years earlier. So it was with a sense of quiet satisfaction that I signed off at the ranger station. This really had been one of the great adventures.
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Sunset at Cuvier Shelf


DuCane Range trip
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNEATzLJAMpKxk8758XFl4yU_crQlT7QNOLOxhAIXeKIzh1WbKqUo_npmMqHWksuA?key=cmlESXNPZVFLU1pVbWg0U3hKMHo0eC10clNPYjln
After completing the Eldon Range I had intended to do the full traverse of the Du Cane Range. However, a day lost to rainy weather forced a change in plans. Instead I first accessed the area through Pine Valley where I enjoyed an afternoon exploring the superb forest. I then spent 2 days exploring The Guardians and climbing Mt Gould.
I finished off the 4 day trip by visiting some of my favourite view points in The Labyrinth (there are so many that there wasn't enough time to visit them all). Although it is prettiest in Autumn when the fagus changes colour, The Labyrinth is beautiful at any time of the year and is possibly my favourite place in Tasmania (it's certainly my favourite part of the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park at least). My final stop before returning to Lake St Clair was a side trip from Lake Elysia to climb Mt Hyperion.
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Sunset at the Minotaur

This was the end of a wonderful 3 weeks of bushwalking through the centre of the World Heritage area. I can already hardly wait for my next visit and wish that I could get away more often to enjoy some new Tasmanian adventures.
Last edited by farefam on Thu 21 Jun, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby north-north-west » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 11:06 am

Well done. The Eldon traverse is one of the classics. Although it's a pity you didn't get out to Dome Hill or, apparently, climb Castle Mtn.
And I'm kind of glad I'm not the only person to miss the views from Eldon Peak. Going to have to go back. Maybe take the kayak and do an out and back to the Bluff...

We also walked around Burbury but were luckier with the water levels. Not much more than a half day to the South Eldon.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby stepbystep » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 12:28 pm

Excellent report Dick, bought back many great memories. That area is one of the few that genuinely give the feeling of wildness, adventure and solitude. That must be amplified significantly meandering at your own pace. I'll certainly return to the Eldons one day and that traverse through to Lake st Clair really appeals. Thanks for taking the time to report :)
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby eggs » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 12:30 pm

Loved the report
Last edited by eggs on Thu 21 Jun, 2018 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 2:20 pm

I'm not a peak bagger NNW, so given the weather forecast and my distaste for scrub-bashing in the wet, I felt that it was better to get to 5 Duck Tarn while the going was good, rather than climb the lesser peaks of Dome Hill or Castle Mountain. Perhaps I'll check those out another time, as the area certainly warrants more than 1 visit.

Here's some more pics.
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Eldon Peak soars above the deep, forested valley of the Eldon River

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Alone above the clouds at Eldon Peak

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Gloomy sunset above the DuCane Range from Goulds Sugarloaf

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During heavy rain at the upper South Eldon River
Last edited by farefam on Fri 22 Jun, 2018 9:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Nuts » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 2:24 pm

What an experience. Like the pic across Lk Ewart.
Last edited by Nuts on Thu 21 Jun, 2018 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby eggs » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 2:52 pm

edited
Last edited by eggs on Thu 21 Jun, 2018 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Thu 21 Jun, 2018 3:51 pm

A few more shots
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Eldon Crag and Lake Dorothy

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Sunset light on High Dome and Late Lunchtime Hill, as Lake Ewart falls into the shadow of Eldon Bluff

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Morning mist below High Dome

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Just a small part of the grandstand view from the flank of Little Sugarloaf

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Mt Manfred from Cuvier Shelf

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Frenchmans Cap at dawn; from Little Sugarloaf
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Tortoise » Fri 22 Jun, 2018 5:22 pm

Yes, thanks so much for the report & photos, Farefam. Such amazing country. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to visit some of it too, and it brings back great memories. I suppose you would have mentioned it if you'd found a pair of prescription sunnies at Five Duck Tarn...
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Fri 22 Jun, 2018 9:00 pm

That's unfortunate Tortoise. I stayed by the creek at the nth end of 5 Duck Tarn and didn't notice anything left behind there. If memory serves me rightly, David Young's group camped at the sth end of 5 Duck Tarn, but they didn't mention finding anything there when I ran across them on the following day.

It is nice to be able to do an extended trip into an area that is largely devoid of tracks. Long may it stay that way.
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High Dome viewed from Late Lunchtime Hill

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There is always a feeling of joy whenever I wander through a sun lit temperate rain forest
Last edited by farefam on Fri 29 Jun, 2018 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 28 Jun, 2018 1:32 pm

What an awesome adventure. Every one of your images leaves me envious !! ( Not sure I'm too envious of all the boulder hopping from Eldon Peak to Low Col though ....) Getting good views back along the way you came must have been extremely satisfying.

Thanks for posting you trip and photos.
Very enjoyable to read.

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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Fri 29 Jun, 2018 3:13 pm

A few more looks back along the way
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Looking back at the West Coast Range during the Eldon Peak rock hop

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Eldon Peak viewed from Eldon Crag
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby DavidYoung » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 3:57 pm

Fantastic photos, Richard.
And very good to bump into you atop Eldon Crag. Hope to do it again one day in some other remote spot.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby ofuros » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 8:05 am

Somehow missed this one, another great trip report with wonderful pics. Cheers farefam.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Mountain Rocket » Thu 19 Jul, 2018 8:02 am

Great trip report farefam, and thanks for all the photos. Hope I am lucky enough to visit the range, has also been on my bucket-list for a while now!
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby rodb2013 » Tue 28 Aug, 2018 9:39 pm

Hi Farefam, Thanks for the great trip report. I'd appreciate any info about food over so many nights out. The longest I've managed is 6 nights and the last few days didn't have much appetite and didn't each much. Thanks, RB
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Thu 30 Aug, 2018 1:08 pm

Hi Rodb2013. I'm sorry to reveal that my bush walking diet is very, very boring and doesn't vary much, regardless of the length of walk I'm on, because it's chosen mainly to keep the weight and bulk to a minimum. The only difference is that on a really long walk (10-14 days) I may cut down just a little bit further (say only have 1 nut bar a day instead of two, or make a family size block of milk chocolate last 4 days rather than 3 or I might skip a meal altogether if I'm tent bound).

My typical daily menu is toasted muesli and full cream milk powder for breakfast, lunch is half a packet of dry biscuits (e.g. shortbread or Arnott's Pizza Snacks) a nut bar or muesli bar and a couple of rows of chocolate and dinner is usually a pack of Continental or San Remo pasta and sauce. And that's it, day after day, after groundhog day. So I try to have as many varieties of biscuits and pasta as possible to break up the monotony and I'll try to choose the tastier varieties because bland food really sucks. If weight or space is less of an issue, I may take a pack of lollies or a pack of mixed nuts or a few packs of cuppa soup as a treat. I've rarely carried any of the freeze dried types of meals. I find them to be very expensive and they really don't taste much better. In my early days I used to sometimes carry Nasi Goreng but I haven't seen that in the shops for many years.

Though I will tend to lose 2 to 4 kilograms of body weight on a very long walk, I find this amount of food provides enough energy and I don't feel any hunger pangs at all during the day, regardless of how much climbing or bush bashing I am doing.
Last edited by farefam on Mon 03 Sep, 2018 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Snowybob » Sat 01 Sep, 2018 2:21 pm

Thanks for an excellent report on an area that I had the pleasure of traversing over Easter 1950. My memory of the rocks along the ridgeline from Eldon Peak to Eldon Bluff is the size of the rocks that seemed to be as big as houses and there was no way of avoiding them. Your photos are a great record of your trip, I congratulate you on a fabulous shot of Eldon Bluff reflected in Lake Ewart.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby Warin » Sat 01 Sep, 2018 3:14 pm

farefam wrote:My typical daily menu is toasted muesli and full cream milk powder for breakfast,


For a change - try instant porridge .. they come in small sachets ... poor hot water into the sachets (I put it in a cup to hold it up) wait a minute or 2 and then eat with a spoon. I eat it in the sachet as that saves cleaning up .. porridge is sticky and I'd rather be on my way. But good for that cold morning start. Maybe 1 in 4 would be this porridge.

farefam wrote:lunch is half a packet of dry biscuits (e.g. shortbread or Arnott's Pizza Snacks) a nut bar or muesli bar and a couple of rows of chocolate


Yes .. well .. some salami and cheese?

farefam wrote:dinner is usually a pack of Continental or San Remo pasta and sauce.


Try Ainsley Harriott Moroccan Medley Cous Cous - Coles have it. Bit of cheese over the top ..

Some dried mash potato - rehydrated? As a side dish.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby rodb2013 » Tue 18 Sep, 2018 9:04 pm

Hi Farefam, I wonder now if your sign in name means 'fairly famished'. That is truly hardcore. Shelf stable salami and parmesan are our recent treats. Although we did take 500ml of Japanese Whiskey (Nikka from the Barrel) on a circuit hike down the Capertee River and back up the Wolgan River in Wollemi NP NSW. But, there is never enough so better to take none... Best wishes, R
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Wed 19 Sep, 2018 12:54 am

Cheers Robb2013.
1) The pseudonym Farefam is just short for Fare family. I'll remember Fare famished though, should I ever get hungry when out bush :)
2) I don't like salami or similar meat products, hence why I don't carry it. Comments about food are perhaps best left for other parts of the forum :)
3) So getting back on topic to the Eldon Range, here's some extra backstory I posted a while back on Facebook about why this trip meant so much to me.

EB_RJF_DSC_0840.JPG


This image of Lake Ewart and Eldon Bluff has been 25 years in the making..... and of all the photos that I have ever taken, while this one is not the best, it is the one that required the most effort and persistence.

When I first took up bushwalking in Tasmania in 1992, I bought myself a couple of John Chapman's guide books and drew up a long wish list of places I hoped to visit. It was a bucket list of sorts.

Although the list expanded over the subsequent years, Eldon Bluff was in that original list and it thwarted me on 4 separate occasions.

The first time was in about 2002. A combination of insufficient experience in off track walking, thick scrub, hot conditions and a lack of water on the dry ridges forced my retreat only half a day into the journey.

The second time, a year later and this time taking a different route, my supposedly unbreakable plastic fuel bottle ruptured near the end of my first day as I struggled through thick scrub on the climb up Coal Hill. With no fuel left to cook any evening meals, another ignominious retreat ensued. At least camping at Lake Petrarch on the way back was some consolation.

The third time I was only a few hours away from reaching Lake Ewart. Success seemed assured and my mood was buoyant. I took a rest break during a spot of scrub-bashing on Late Lunchtime Hill, only to look down and discover that half of the sole of my left boot had been torn away and lost. With my goal in sight I was filled with dismay, but after a few minutes of deep angst, I sensibly turned around and beat a slow retreat. At the end of that hike I recorded my thoughts about the experience on video. Tired and disappointed, I doubted that I would ever again be prepared to put in the effort to finally reach Lake Ewart and Eldon Bluff.

The fourth time was in 2017. Having just rafted the Franklin River I had planned to try yet again to reach Eldon Bluff. This time a large number of bush fires filled the area with thick smoke, so I decided it wasn't worth starting the trip and flew home to WA instead.

By this time I was pretty convinced that I was cursed. But over the following 12 months I resolved to give it one last try. This time I decided that I would start at Lake Burbury and traverse the Eldon Range, finishing at Lake St Clair. I allowed 12 days for the trip and decided to risk the unstable early January weather to minimise the chance of bushfires spoiling the views.

Only two hours into the trip, as I was scrub-bashing around the eastern shore of Lake Burbury, my heavily loaded pack started to feel odd. I took the pack off and was aghast to see that the harness of my pack had broken in two places. I could not believe that the Eldon curse had struck yet again!!! I gave it some thought and decided that turning back was not an option. I did my best bit of Macgyver-inspired improvisation and rigged up a repair with some rope and crossed my fingers. Fortunately it held for the next 13 days and the curse was finally broken!
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby stu » Tue 11 Dec, 2018 7:36 pm

Brilliant.
Can't wait to get back there, agree it's worthy of more than one hard fought visit.
I'm always willing to carry more weight for a better menu, it's worth it at the end of a long strenuous day. Home made & dehydrated meals the only way to go IMHO...and muscle soothing scotch is always on board ;-)
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby stepbystep » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 10:05 am

farefam wrote: Fortunately it held for the next 13 days and the curse was finally broken!


I hope you've had that image printed and framed by now Richard!
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders ~ Edward Abbey
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby farefam » Sun 16 Dec, 2018 12:38 pm

No SBS I haven't. For the time being, it's firmly imprinted on the mind, rather than paper.
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Re: Eldon Range to Lake St Clair

Postby beardless » Fri 21 Dec, 2018 8:01 am

What a great walk and backstory of persistence farefam
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