The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

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The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 7:36 pm

Inspired by Farefam, I decided to give at least a pictorial report of our amazing Eldon Traverse, in Feb/March 2017. It'll always be one of the most special walks of my life, given that I only ever thought of it as the realm of Mountain Leapers, which I am not. Grateful thanks to Paul, who so skilfully led our little expedition, to Maureen, who convinced me against all odds that I should join the party, and Robert, whose company rounded off the group very well.

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Lake Burbury - the night before


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The Eldon Range, from Eldon Peak; pools at the campsite east of the summit


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From Eldon Peak campsite


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Route up Eldon Bluff


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Eldon Crag
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Greenery on the Eldons
Last edited by Tortoise on Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 7:49 pm

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Panorama from Eldon Crag
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Eldon Bluff & Lake Dorothy from Eldon Crag


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Camp on Eldon Bluff in perfect weather; Frenchmans behind


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Pools on Eldon Bluff


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Scarp 1 on Eldon Bluff


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Eldon Peak & Eldon Crag from camp on Eldon Bluff


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The Slot off Eldon Bluff; Lake Ewart Below


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Onto the easy bit of The Slot


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Eldon Bluff & Lake Ewart


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Wonderful pool on a hot day
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:03 pm

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My last handstand, on High Dome, before arthritis changed my mountain-top celebrations.


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Tramontane (centre left, looking so benign) from High Dome


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Five Duck Tarn, final resting place of beloved prescription sunglasses - in a button grass mound by the lake, I think


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Approaching Tramontane - the easy way!


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View of Manfred and friends from Tramontane


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Headwaters of the South Eldon River


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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:11 pm

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Eldon Crag, Eldon Bluff & Castle Mountain

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Approaching Rocky Hill, with High Dome behind

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Frenchmans (right) and friends

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Last night

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Crossing the Collingwood River

Missed a good line to the road, so we got to scrub bash all the way to the end. A fitting finish to an epic walk, methinks.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby north-north-west » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:24 pm

What line did you take out to Tramontane? There are a few options to get down from High Dome to the connecting ridge and, with tthe weather being as it was when I went back in to do that, I'm not sure either of my routes was the best.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:33 pm

We dropped down to camp on the Murchison River, SE ish of Five Duck Tarn. Then NE ish up through the open rainforest, which went almost all the way up to the ridge. There was a bit of not-too-bad scrub to get to the ridge running east to Tramontane. Paul has been up 2 other ways, and was reckoned ours was the best route. :)
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby north-north-west » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:43 pm

Interesting. The Manfred route is fairly easy (apart from getting to Manfred), but going via High Dome is *&%$#! hard work. Hitting the Murchison from Five Duck is something else . . . I assume you went roughly east from the South Eldon saddle?

ps: so jealous of the weather you had.

edit: pps: Now you''ve got me wondering if I can organise transport and do a through walk over it, going in via Pigeonhouse and out via Manfred . . .
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sat 30 Jun, 2018 9:02 pm

north-north-west wrote:Interesting. Hitting the Murchison from Five Duck is something else . . . I assume you went roughly east from the South Eldon saddle?
ps: so jealous of the weather you had.


Edit: Sorry, not sure that I should have posted more details of our route publicly. Pm sent.
Last edited by Tortoise on Mon 02 Jul, 2018 9:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby icefest » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 12:21 am

Amazing job tortoise!

I recall a couple years ago where you were convinced this would never happen!
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby ofuros » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 7:54 am

Good looking trip with great pics, thanks for sharing, tortoise.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 8:34 am

icefest wrote:Amazing job tortoise!I recall a couple years ago where you were convinced this would never happen!

:lol: Thanks, Icefest, and that's for sure!! A couple of weeks before the walk, I was still convinced it would never happen. But Maureen can be a persistent woman!
I guess she helped me progressively up the ante as I joined her for many of her last 17 Abels or so. Fortunately, she has slowed down, as a Senior Mountain Leaper, to the point where she can happily cope with my pace. That was going to be the crunch for me. I'm in between the Mountain Leapers (some of whom can be gracious enough to take me anyway :wink: ), and people I can comfortably keep up with who don't want to go where I want to go! But as this trip was largely to give opportunity for Maureen to get 3 of her last Abels, it was perfect. I also knew that I needed as much going for me as possible - hence the brilliant weather forecast was a key to me taking the plunge.
It was harder on the leader, as he soon discovered that when I took a turn in front through scrub, we went a LOT slower than when he did, even with rests. Thank you, Paul!!
Edit: And the thing I still chuckle about is that for various reasons, I was the only one to do all of the side trips! Even the day before, I had no intention of going to Tramontane, because I didn't 'need' it, and I didn't want to slow the others down. I only went because Maureen hadn't been feeling well, and I thought I'd go to be a moral support. :lol:
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby north-north-west » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 9:34 am

Tortoise wrote:
north-north-west wrote:The Manfred route is fairly easy (apart from getting to Manfred), but going via High Dome is *&%$#! hard work.

Edit: I'd have to say that I don't recall any hard work from Five Duck Tarn to Tramontane. My memory may have faded, but not that much. Getting up Pigeon House Hill would be the hardest bit, I reckon.
Manfred is still high on my list, but it doesn't sound like a walk in the park...


Manfred isn't that bad. Cuvier Shelf from Byron is straightforward enough, and then Manfred is just a matter of going over Cuvier's shoulder, down to the connecting ridge and over. Easy climbing up to the summit and along the spine. Getting down to the Manfred plateau is awkward, but once through the upper cliffs it's very easy walking to the Marion track. Makes for a wonderful loop.

Pigeonhouse is a slog but open enough walking apart from right next to the river.

It makes sense to start the cross route to Tramontane lower down - avoid the climb up to High Dome and down past the lower tower. I looked a long time at that line from High Dome the previous trip, wondering why the Abels book didn't even mention the possibility. I assumed there must be a reason, but it would appear that the only one is that they didn't think of it.
Definitely worth trying to organise for next summer.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby farefam » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 4:37 pm

Nice trip report Tortoise and great photos of a very adventurous trip. I would have loved to have seen sunset from Eldon Peak, but unfortunately it was raining or covered by cloud for each of the 3 sunsets I was camped there.
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 9:23 am

ofuros wrote:Good looking trip with great pics, thanks for sharing, tortoise.

Thanks, Ofuros. It certainly was a trip to remember! Camping on Eldon Bluff in perfect weather is up there among the all-time greats. :D
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Re: The Eldon Traverse, exit via Pigeon House Hill

Postby Tortoise » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 9:26 am

farefam wrote:Nice trip report Tortoise and great photos of a very adventurous trip. I would have loved to have seen sunset from Eldon Peak, but unfortunately it was raining or covered by cloud for each of the 3 sunsets I was camped there.

Thanks, Farefam - especially for the inspiration to put something up. What an adventure it was! Bummer about Eldon Peak clag for you. Maybe 4th time lucky??
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