Mount Anne Circuit Walk
(Late November 2009)
Day 2 - The Morning

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Susan's Diary:

High Camp to Judd’s Charm
Saturday 21 November 2009
8:50 – 17:25

The alarm went off at 5:50am but we got up at 6:50am, notwithstanding another two alarms in between. Despite the luxury of packing in a hut, it still took 2 hours to get ready.
The climb up to Mt Eliza showed glimpses of Lake Pedder down below, but by the time we got to the top, the views were gone. The climb from the hut to the plateau at Mt Eliza consists of good rock scrambling. Having done it before we knew what to expect, but its a stark contrast to the earlier climb from the road to the hut where the track is beautifully formed and gradual. It was a little chilly at the top, although not too bad, and the wind was fairly gentle at this point. From the Mt Eliza plateau the track flattens out and is quite gentle, as well as spectacular, until just before the Mt Anne Track junction, where there is a section of rock hopping. In the misty weather we negotiated this section fairly slowly as too much exuberance on these large rugged rocks could result in a nasty injury.
At the track junction we met a couple returning from Shelf Camp who had encountered strong winds and rain the day (and night) before. They had decided to abandon the circuit due to concerns with the bad, and seemingly worsening, weather, especially as they expected the next section of the walk to be highly exposed to heights, and furthermore containing tricky rock scrambling bits (notably the renowned ‘The Notch’). They would walk back down and look at walking to Lake Judd from Red Tape Creek instead.
As the mist was so thick, we gave Mt Anne a miss and went onto Shelf Camp, a series of rock slabs and pods. Interestingly, the weather, if anything, calmed down considerably from this point onwards. In particular there were no winds. Given the weather report we had read the previous day, we considered ourselves quite lucky that the weather was relatively mild and hurried on to get to the next, tougher section of the walk. Luckily for Luca, the thick mist was obscuring the massive drop-offs to Lake Judd and, unfortunately, also the views.
After quite some time traversing the top of the ridge, with some further rock hopping/scrambling, we eventually reached The Notch, which more than met our expectations in as far as being dramatic and intimidating. In particular, the angle at which you approach The Notch makes it even more dramatic, as the first time you see it, it seems impossible to reach, with a sheer drop between you and it. As John Chapman describes in his notes, however, you do not head directly for it, but rather you climb upwards before eventually descending to it directly from above. Very dramatic, very beautiful, the walk was worth it just for that view.
Once at The Notch we decided to climb the 7 metre wall in order to exit. The other option would have been to descend very steeply on one side (right-hand side given our direction of travel) before eventually climbing back up once the cliff walls to the left had ended. Despite Luca’s fear of heights, the climb up the exposed wall seemed to him to be less dangerous and tiring than the steep descent down the shaly side.
The 7m wall is in fact a series of wide exposed ledges and not a sheer wall. Because Luca was feeling a little uncomfortable with the exposure he sent me to the top first. The climb was straightforward, except for the last 1 metre ledge where there are OK foot holds but poor hand holds. I managed to hoist myself up to my waist on the ledge then lay on my stomach and wriggled on to the rock – a very ungraceful move. After we ungracefully hauled our packs to the top, Luca made his way up with a little assistance at the final ledge.
From there it was more boulder hopping to arrive at the summit of Mt Lot, where we had lunch. During our break we were lucky enough to get passing views of Lake Judd below and Lightning Ridge, which we would soon be descending. From the small windows we got through the mist, the scenery was amazing. Lightning Ridge in particular looked like a sensational way to descend, being so serrated and sheer on one side.
The trip down the ridge had more boulder hopping at the start, followed by a relatively more straightforward track. The mist remained, obscuring the massive drop-offs on our left. The track eventually descended into thick scrub, reminiscent of the eastern side of the Ironbounds. It was pretty tiring in there. We were very happy to see the end of the scrub and to see Lake Picone and Judd’s Charm. From there it was pretty straightforward to get to Judd’s Charm where we found a somewhat wet but flat camp site.
For dinner we enjoyed freeze-dried lasagna and cheesecake with much anticipation to get inside the tent and sleep after our long day. We were lucky enough that the weather continued to improve and we were treated to awesome views of Mt Lot, Lots Wife and Lightning Ridge. We were amazed we had walked right alongside such a steep drop off and not seen any of it.


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