29 March 2015

Mt Ossa Summit, the highest peak in Tasmania

I am writing this blog entry, first, because of the recent sad news from the ABC broadcast of a 56 year old man, who fell to his death on the short steep slope section of the Mt Ossa summit track.

I attempted this track recently and would not encourage others, who are interested in “peak bagging”, to tackle this summit in slippery and/or misty conditions. 

It took me almost a full day for the walk and climb from Pelion Hut to the summit of Mt Ossa and back; at least 4 hours for the side trip with the start and finish at Pelion Gap on the Overland Track (OT) and over 2 hours go and return from Pelion Hut to Pelion Gap.

Having arrived at Pelion Hut and Camp via The Arm River Walking Track with the start at The Mersey Forest Road the day before, the Mt Ossa side trip was next, then a pack-carrying trip plan to Paddys Nut for two nights.

This was my second climb to Mt Ossa summit.  My first one had been (over 15 years ago?) with a few members from a walking group based in Melbourne–Victoria.  From memory, it had been cloudy when we had reached the summit.  The recent solo experience was unlike the group trip and the day’s conditions were calm and so clear, with superb panaromic views, unlike a previous solo trip on the OT, with a full pack, a few years ago, when the side trip had to be abandoned due to overcast conditions.

The first section of the summit track is the walk up to Mt Doris, where there are some good views on fine days.  A few OT walkers, that I spoke to at Pelion Hut, planned to only walk to Mt Doris. 

The track to Mt Ossa summit is well-maintained and marked.  There was one short steep slope section and I think that could be the location, in which the incident took place.

It is worth the climb and I would suggest an early start for your enjoyment.  Here are the photos:

 The gps track: Pelion Hut - Pelion Gap - Mt Ossa Summit

Me at Pelion Hut and Camp (left).  Mt Doris and Mt Ossa (right). 

Barn Bluff & Cradle Mountain (L).  Paddys Nut & Pelion West (R)

Mt Ossa's buttresses (L).  Mt Doris and Mt Pelion East (R)

Du Cane Range (L).  The summit plateau (R)