Picton circuit

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Picton circuit

Postby rob colman » Tue 13 Jan, 2015 6:30 pm

Was thinking of doing the Picton circuit in a couple of weeks, or poss separate trips to Steanes and/or Square tarns. Keen to get update on conditions of Steanes and Square tarn tracks. How is the range traverse (as in Chapman)?
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby Thornbill » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 1:48 pm

Hi Rob

Was up that way on the weekend, did an overnight trip to Mt Picton staying at Steanes Tarn. Great spot with terrific views.

The track to Steanes Tarn is much as described in the Chapman book; spend the first few hours or so slogging it out through pretty thick wet forest, with lots of slippery, mossy logs, rocks and tree roots. Plenty of fallen trees that need to be climbed over/under too. A couple of slippery creek crossings and a small amount of horizontal to push through. Being an un-managed track, I doubt its seen any work for a fair while. It is steep in parts, but there are 2 spots where a rope has been installed to help out. Despite it not actually raining at all, we were soaked by the time we reached to top. After around 3 hours, you suddenly emerge out of the dark onto the ridge above Glassworm Tarn/Lake Riveaux. From there, you follow the ridge up to Steanes Tarn for another hour or so, crossing a small boulder field nearing the tarn. Again, the track is a bit overgrown but overall pretty easy to follow, being well taped in the forest, with some more tape and cairns up on the ridge. From the tarn, there is a cairned route to the top of Mount Picton. It starts above the tarn and heads to the right around the face, before swinging left up a grassy gully towards the top. I guess its another 45min or so from the campsite to the top, stopping plenty to take in the views of course :)

Also, unless you have a decent 4WD with good ground clearance, you'll have to park about 1km from the track start and walk like we did as the West Piction Spur 1/2 road is washed out in places and has a tree down. We parked at the intersection of West Picton Spur 1 and West Picton Spur 1/2, where there is enough space for a few cars.

I haven't done the range traverse, but in good weather the views would be awesome. In bad weather, they would be of your feet :)

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Re: Picton circuit

Postby stepbystep » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 2:16 pm

I've explored the Sth Pictons a cpl times as well as what Thornbill has done. The track to Square Tarn is overgrown in a cpl places but easy to navigate. The walking on the tops is easy and open as far as Mt Chapman. Between Chapman and Picton I'd expect a mix of open walking and scrub, as described in Chapmans book. Please report back as I'd like to complete the circuit. Some of the best views going around.
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby north-north-west » Thu 15 Jan, 2015 6:11 pm

I've done the circuit but it was a few years ago so I can't really comment on current conditions. At that time the route through the scrub on Hewardia Ridge had been recently taped and cut as far as Pine Tree Saddle, where it fizzled out. From there to Chapman you have two options - I took what turned out to be the harder, climbing up to the northern end of the ridge that includes Anderson Bluff, before dropping down through a mix of scrub types to Pineapple Flat. It would be easier to keep to the left and go over the shoulder of the ridge. From Pineapple Flat over Chapman to Abrotanella and Burgess Bluff is easy and open going, and the pad from Abrotanella down to Square Tarn obvious and easy to follow.
And, as has been said, there are some stunning views on that route. But if the cut line down the lower parts of Hewardia has regrown, it will be awkward going. A lot of thick woody shrubs of a very inconvenient height.
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby wander » Fri 16 Jan, 2015 10:39 am

I have done the loop twice now, clockwise.

In general pads and routes were straight forward but some areas are hard work in low vis.

Side trip out to Burgess Bluff is straight forward and worthwhile.

The routes through the scoparia scrub between Abrotanella (spelling?) Rise (poor camping here) and Picton are just a matter of twisting and turning through the gaps with an eye on your end target.

The only area of issue is getting into Pine Tree Saddle in particular from the South. I have scrub crunched twice get into here before finding the correct 5 minute route. The super critical key is to know that once the cairns run out about 1/2 way down start looking for old pine trees with their tops cut off about head height and link these together to give you a route to the track cut through a beautiful bit of forest.

Best camp site on the route is Square Tarn.
Pine Tree Saddle has very limited (3 tents?) sites and the best water is about 200M along the pad as you continue to the North where it crosses a creek that is underground for a fair bit of it's length but is accessible where the track crosses. This is the only real water until after Picton.
At Steanes Tarn it is hard to find sites that do not compromise the cushion plants. We have have found the best compromise is about 20M right on the pad after you leave the cushion plant meadow.
There is room for 2 tents at the Glassworm Tarn site which has a good pad to. If the weather looks rough at all do not stop at Steanes but drop down to Glassworm where it is very sheltered.

PM if you have any detailed queries.
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby rob colman » Thu 26 Feb, 2015 8:57 pm

Thanks all for the helpful advice. In the end we did just the South Pictons. Track was beautiful up thru the forest from West Picton spur road. Very wet and boggy across the tops to Square Tarn -- all the rain in the weeks beforehand had turned the place into a sponge. A couple of nights at Square Tarn and explored between Chapman and Burgess Bluff. On the walk up Abratonella Rise keep hard over to the left -- there is a pad all the way to the saddle. Beautiful views into the SW. A gorgeous part of the world!
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby GHub » Fri 01 Jan, 2021 9:44 am

Hi All, I am in the process of choosing a walk for my upcoming trip to Tasmania (assuming I am allowed in). Has anybody done this circuit in the last few years? I am interested in the state of the road (as I'll only have a little hire car) and the state of the scrub. I don't mind doing some navigating, but doing it through dense scrub is less fun.
Thanks

Edit: I just realised most of this area was burnt 2 summers ago. How could I forget that? Is it even open for walkers?
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby north-north-west » Sat 02 Jan, 2021 2:52 pm

Most of the fire activity was in the Cracroft Valley and Riveaux areas. Picton itself was almost untouched except for a short lived burn on the side of Hewardia Ridge.

Scrub is only an issue around Pine Tree Saddle. There is a pad running through there but it can be hard to follow and easy to lose, so take your time and be extra cautious. The plateau east of Square Tarn gets a bit overgrown (and muddy) but the track is easy to follow.

It's best to park at the bottom of the secondary spur road if you have any doubts about your vehicle or driving ability. Last time I was there (Feb 2018), there was an awkward washout just above the turnoff but the road was fine past that. It's only 1km from that turnoff to the start of the Steanes Tarn track. As for whether the Picton Rd is open ... I can't find anything online either way. Tahune is open so the Arve Rd is fine, and works are ongoing on the Farmhouse Creek and Huon Tracks so the road is passable, but whether that means anyone other than forestry oiks and trackworkers can get through is anyone's guess. You might be able to find out from Suss Timbers: email is stakeholder@sttas.com.au
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sat 02 Jan, 2021 3:26 pm

Did the circuit 2 days before it closed.
Unless I missed it getting up/down near mt Chapman is quite scrubby. Once near pine saddle though the pad is pretty easy to follow.
The road is a mess though. Allow an extra 30mins for the road walk.
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby lefroy » Sun 03 Jan, 2021 5:21 pm

Confirmation of scrub. Lose the pad and you're in some tough bush. Ran out of light and slept under the fly in the only open bit of ground I could find...
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby mccaj » Tue 26 Jan, 2021 3:22 pm

GHub wrote:Hi All, I am in the process of choosing a walk for my upcoming trip to Tasmania (assuming I am allowed in). Has anybody done this circuit in the last few years? I am interested in the state of the road (as I'll only have a little hire car) and the state of the scrub. I don't mind doing some navigating, but doing it through dense scrub is less fun.
Thanks

Edit: I just realised most of this area was burnt 2 summers ago. How could I forget that? Is it even open for walkers?


We went up this weekend, and the road quality was as described by north-north-west. We have a low-clearance 2WD and had no trouble whatsoever on Picton 1, but it was a wise move to not attempt Picton 1.2. I speculate if my life depended on it, I might be able to get up it, but certainly guarantee; for the sake of an extra 20 minutes, it is just not worth the hassle.

As for the walk itself, we ended up only going up Picton, but the track was in good condition and very well taped. We had a very blustery night, zero visibility when we headed up to the summit, but within 30-40 minutes, the weather broke and we had fantastic views.
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Re: Picton circuit

Postby GHub » Tue 02 Feb, 2021 3:20 pm

Thanks. For various reasons I ended up deciding to save this walk for another time. I did learn that emailing STT is not an effective way of finding out whether forestry roads are open.
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