Trip story. The wilds of Tassie

Submitted: Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 20:20
ThreadID: 57992 Views:2006 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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A recent article I read about the south west of Tassie reminded me of a trip some years back.

All though I've visited Tassie many times and lived in Launceston for a while, there was one area I hadn't visited, Federation Peak.

Located in the southern part of the Eastern Arthur Range, it was considered a bit of undertaking in those days and known for violent storms and snowfall, just as now.

The peak remained unconquered, despite numerous attempts, until John Bechervaise led a group to the summit in 1949.

With some trepidation we drove to Scott's Peak Dam and left the 4WD. Walked down to Junction Creek where we set up camp on the other side for the night and thought 'this a piece of cake'.

Next day was relative easy across the wet buttongrass plains to Cracroft Crossing near the base of Luckman's Lead where we camped for the second night.

The next day we discovered why this area has such a reputation. Luckman's Lead was a buggar to get up particularly the top section.

Both Rob and I were very fit, but by the time we arrived at the top we were totally stuffed and had a bit of a problem finding water.

After a bit of time along the way we came to the bottom of a gully with no place to go but up. The climb was steep, full of scree and loose rock and didn't look all that inviting. We sat there for a while considering an alternative route to the face above us.

The Brother in Law stated the bloomin obvious 'I think we're a bit off line....should have brought a bit of climbing gear'.

Eventually we got up to the top, but didn't have a clue where we were until the fog cleared later in the morning. Had a look around at some of the described features, took a compass bearing and pretty much knew our position

We made our way to Goon Moor and sat on a rocky outcrop looking at some of the most inspiring country I've ever seen.

However, it was going to get better. The brother in law turned to me an said 'have a look at this'. Cloud was flowing over, and down the escarpment like a waterfall. We both sat there gobsmacked......never seen anything like it since.

We walked back to our gear thinking we'd set up camp on the top. Then without warning we were hit by the most frightening storm I've ever experienced in the bush.

We took off down into a gully and managed to get the tent set up in the Scub. We fair dinkum bleep ourselves that night and didn't get much sleep.

Back tracking a bit, I'd spoken to an old fella I knew in Cressy about the trip, and he told me to take a bit of plastic piping with us for water.

Can't rightly remember what's it's called now but it might have been 'Yabby hole tubing' or something like that. He was right, we ran out of water.

The method is to put the pipe down into the peat and suck until fresh water is sifted up. He also prepared a wire snare, but we never got a chance to use it.

I'm a bit vague about where this took place, but we were attacked by a swarm of demented March Flies that had us in the tent from late afternoon until night fall at one point.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we finally made our way to the base of Federation Peak and a bit surprised by how easy the Tower looked to climb. However when we looked at the exposure on the face, we started to take it a bit more seriously.

The other thing we didn't know at the time was that we were at the Southern Face and had somehow missed the climbing gully.

Up we went without a problem, until I got a bit off line and had to work pretty hard to avoid falling off and down to Lake Geeves, which is 400m (1300ft) below the tower. (sadly somebody fell to their death from the same area a couple of years after that).

The view from the top of the rock tower can't be described. As far as the eye can see there is unmarked bush, rugged escarpments, plateaus, hanging lakes, moraines and rock pinnacles. Rob and I sat on the top of Federation Peak for nearly two hours.

After ten days of hard slog in the bush, we arrived back at the car park looking forward to a smoke and a beer at National Park, only to find the car battery was flat.......



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Reply By: madfisher - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:18

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:18
Thanks for the story Kim, its a different world down their. We spent some time arround Lake St Clair in Feb. Some of the most awe inspiring country I have seen.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 305837

Reply By: Member - Paul Mac (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:59

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 21:59
G'day Kim,

It surely is some of the most majestic country you could ever visit.

I was fortunate to have walked into Lake Pedder back in 1971 prior to its damming when it was still a small lake with a sandy beach. The memories of the area have remained with me all these years. Words can't aptly describe the untouched charm of the South West and the sometimes unforgiving ruggedness and beauty. It is such a pity the area was ever dammed in the first place and yes, I was a banner waving protester at the time ashamed at what the HEC were going to do.

Have never climbed Federation Peak but have seen some amazing scenery down through the South and South West.

Enjoyed your account.

AnswerID: 305848

Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:37

Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 22:37
Gidday Paul

I've never been a Greenie, far from it. But what those fellas attempted to buggar up in those years defies description.

At one stage there, they started cable logging across deep gullies up in the north and didn't give a rats about how many cutters they lost. Almost one a week.

Better days now.

PS Now I'm reading about some fools who want to buggar up the Cooper.



FollowupID: 571936

Reply By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:19

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:19
Thanks Kim, Tassie is the one place I'd love to see before the 'Big Trip Leader' tells me to call it a day.

AnswerID: 305900

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