03 April 2008
MOUNT OSSA 14 MARCH 2008 "the chute"
The gravel climb from the plains, via the ever-thickening woodland was gradual, as it skirted the contours of Mount Pelion East. At about one thousand metres, I felt the cool southerly wind slowly increase, this being indicative of the tree line finally thinning and of our imminent arrival to Pelion Gap. The bright blue sky, with only the occasional silvery cottonwool cloud, opened up with vast views of endless button grass and scrubby moor land. I danced through this with childlike excitement as I sought water from a small soak. The Teatree coloured creeks lay far away below us. The bush at this height was thin and stunted, much like a Japanese bonsai garden and the orange tans of the hardy grasses mesmerised me. The striking rocky flanks of Mount Doris eclipsed the much higher Mount Ossa and both seemed tangible. Ahead of us lay a two-kilometre walk with a height gain of 488 metres, with the final “ascent” having a gradient of 23 degrees along large blocks of dolerite. The unseasonal hot weather made the climb rather hot and even the 70 kilometre per hour winds funnelling up the final rocky chute were warm! Therese (my sister) reached the final last hundred metres of clamber but was tentative in the buffetting wind and sheltered in a rocky saddle. I wandered onward, causing some potentially dangerous rock falls and arrived at the final crest, only to find a small, uniform and strangely windless plain with views of every nearby mountain. A pretty tarn lay to the southwest and made the carting of water redundant. The change of perspective intrigued me, another walker asked me for the location of mount Doris but it seemed to have disappeared, merging amongst the rocky foreground and laying a large distance below us. Mount Ossa (1614 metre) is the highest mountain in Tasmania and generally is hard to climb due to inclement weather, only 23 days per year are usually safe to climb. The provision of some plank walks south of the Gap and the etching of the rocky pathway by the Parks Service certainly made this walk a pleasurable experience.
PHOTOS: HARDY ALPINE GROUND COVER, AUTHOR WITH MT.DORIS IN BACKGROUND, THERESE AND TREE, THERESE WITH CRADLE MOUNTAIN IN BACKGROUND, GROUP PHOTO AT KIA ORA HUT & THERESE AT THE ROCK CHUTE.
Posted by marcus micheaux (aust)