Tasmanian Wilderness Walks:
Western Arthurs
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Day Six: Saturday - 20 December 2008
Lake Vesta to Lake Rosanne
Walking Time -  10.5 hours

Susan's Diary
Day 6: We awoke early as planned to another misty morning at Lake Vesta. We were a bit slow getting ready, and as always I insisted on having custard and muesli for breakfast, so we headed off at 8:30am, a little after the 8am planned start.  The mist from the morning remained with us as we scrambled down to Lake Juno, with restricted views of the lake and surrounding cliffs. Eventually visions of the edges of Lake Promontory emerged, which is a very large lake, and it’s smaller side tarn, with the mist moving all around it. However a view of the full size of the lake was never seen.

We passed a number of other campsites on the way to Lake Promontory, many as dubious as last night’s campsite at Lake Vesta. After Promontory Lake there is a climb up to a saddle which crosses numerous footpads, then a climb up on to the Phoenix. After yesterday’s long day there were a few personal struggles going up that relatively short climb. In the middle position I felt Luca getting away from me, while I thought Gordon and Emma were catching up. Luca assures me he thought he would be passed too!  On the bright side, the track had become very obvious by this stage (and remained so for the rest of the trip).

We enjoyed a good rest at the top, with the mist occasionally lifting allowing us views of Lake Venus and the upcoming Centaurus Ridge. Following our rest we descended down to the saddle before the start of the climb onto Centaurs Ridge, where we were hit by some chilly winds. We saw a rocky outcrop and decided to stop there for lunch in relative shelter.

The walk along Centaurus Ridge was relatively straightforward with some ups and downs, which seemed rather tame compared to the Beggary Bumps. The mist restricted visibility for much of the walk, but had the advantage of making the rocks that we were approaching look very dramatic. As we approached the end of Centaurus Ridge in the mist a number of claims were made ( by me) about which rock could be the West Portal. However we continued to pass many rocks and still there was no sign of the West Portal in all the mist. The climb to the top seemed to go on forever, and we called it the “climb that never ends”, probably because we had done such a bad job trying to work out where the end of it should be - building false expectations. We also commented that it appeared as though we were approaching the end of the world, or Mordor, due to all the mist, the strong winds and the seemingly dramatic landscape.

Eventually we reached the turn off for the West Portal at the top of Centaurus Ridge, but unfortunately visibility was down to a few metres. It was after 4pm by this stage so we decided not to attempt the 1 hour side trip given there wouldn’t be any views, and we may have had difficulty finding the West Portal given the mist.  Luca was secretly relieved as he was buggered and we were still some 3 hours away from Lake Rosanne.  Having said this, we were all somewhat disappointed not to climb the Western Arthurs tallest peak, especially as it stands (at least in our minds) as the final bastion of the Western Arthurs.

We continued on to the Crags of Andromeda, quite spectacular in its own right. As we had some of views of the Crags on the way over we weren’t expecting the Crags to be too difficult, and they weren’t, so we made good progress, crossing over them in around an hour. During this time the mist had finally lifted and the sun had come out, giving us views east to the Eastern Arthurs and all of the Western Arthurs. However the tall Crags in the foreground managed to conspire to hide the mystical West Portal.

Near the end of the Crags (where Lucifer's Ridge meets the Crags), we descended down a very pleasant rocky gully.   We then sidled below the ridge through ridiculously thick scrub, in very warm weather – after the mist lifted the early evening warmed up considerably –  Luca and I kept our knees cool in shorts, and then they were scratched badly.  Our arms were hot in our raincoats, but they remained protected.  After an arduous time, we finally got out onto Lucifer’s ridge, to everyone’s relief.

Lucifer’s ridge had been affected by recent fires, so walking down it was very easy, and with much relief we saw and then reached Lake Rosanne, marking the end of the Western Arthurs. We had a choice of a number of dubious camp sites, with Luca and I opting for a wet flat spot, and Emma and Gordon taking a dry lumpy spot. Fortunately it didn’t rain that night!

After wetting the legs to remove some of the stinging from the scrub bash, then setting up then tent Luca and I decided to throw a few bits and pieces together for our second last meal to try and get rid of some of our excess food. We made Alfredo with tofu, peas, corn, mixed nuts and parmesan, and it was very good! We then headed off to bed getting a relatively early nights sleep.


Day 6:    
The usual misty morning.      
Gordon and Emma.      
Western Arthurs from Crags of Andromeda
    Lake Rosanne  

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