January 23, 2001

Mt Gould

Marian Harradine
Sunday 23rd January:
We left home (Hobart) at 6.55, arriving at Lake St Claire at 8.45. We caught the ferry to Narcissus Bay and arrived there at 9.30.
We set up the tent not far from the jetty in a sheltered tea tree area near the river. It was such good weather that we decided to go up Mt Gould today rather than tomorrow as the views would be good.
We set off at 10.30, taking the turn off to Gould Plateau and Lake Marion soon after. It was a nice track through light bush along the edge of button grass plains and the occasional bit of dried out bog. Eventually we crossed Marion Creek on a log bridge and then came across some quite boggy areas in the next few minutes before we came to the sign post pointing to Gould’s Plateau and Lake Marion at 11pm.
We took the Gould Plateau track which soon went into lovely old rainforest, very gradually climbing, and cool as the day was warming up, following markers which were fairly recent as well as old blazes on trees.
After 25 minutes of rainforest, we walked through a more open area of button grass for about 15 minutes before once again coming into the rainforest. From then the track became steeper and and after half an hour, at 12.05, a bit over one and a half hours from the start, we reached the plateau. The last 10 minutes before reaching the plateau was through scrub and tea tree. The track to this point was quite good and quite well marked.
We spent some time admiring the views, and then continued on north across the plateau towards Mt Gould at 12.18. Within 5 minutes we passed a tarn on our right, with a nice camping spot nearby. Another larger tarn was passed on our left soon after. The southern end of the plateau was raised and the unmarked track, which was now a reasonable pad, descended and then as it neared Mt Gould started climbing. The Acropolis and Mt Geryon made a spectacular backdrop to the north east.
At 12.50 we heard running water near the track and were happy to drink our fill and to refill our bottles. The track continued on and at 1.05 we came to a very scrubby section where the track was very hard to find. I was wishing I had a few ribbons on me to hang to help with our return. We passed through that onto nice green cushiony grassy areas which were like little gardens and quite damp. We stopped there for lunch as we were going to start more serious climbing from there. It was 1.10.
We resumed at 1.25 and within 5 minutes were on steep slippery scree ascending the western side of the mountian along a cairned route up towards the boulder strewn summit ridge. We could see Lake Marion down below to the west, nestled below the Guardians. We reached the boulders at 1.50 and continued towards the northern end of the ridge towards the highest point. The route was still cairned but it was not always easy to find the best way round some of the bigger boulders. The views were breathtaking as we made our way along the ridge. We were enjoying the day.
When the ridge descends before the final summit ascent we moved to the eastern side of the ridge and covered some ground through roughly tracked scrub as well as rocks. We reached the top, still on boulders, at 3pm, 4½ hours from Narcissus. The views were fantastic, in all directions with good visibility. The Labyrinth just below to the north, Pine Valley to the east, the Ducaine Range, Ossa, Hyperion, Eros, The Watchmen, Walled Mountain, of I took photos and we enjoyed half an hour up there before starting our return at 3.30.
We looked down to the eastern side as Brian was a bit tired of the boulder hops, with a view to go down there and sidle our way round back to the plateau as an alternative, but decided that the tried route back would be safer.
We lost a bit of time going back because we stayed on the eastern flank a bit too long and had to backtrack and climb up along the skyline until we eventually, at 4.45 started to descend back down the slippery scree on the western side. We came to our lunch spot at 5.15 and managed to lose the track in the very scrubby area we had trouble with on the way up. We floundered around off track for about ten minutes before luckily joining the track, but having somehow missed out on the fresh water supply that we were looking forward to. We were happy to not have lost much time and being on the track though, and walked south, gradually climbing to the other end of the plateau. We filled our bottles from the larger tarn and continued on to the end of the plateau where we took a last look at the views.
We started our descent down off the plateau at 6.15, coming into the rainforest at 6.22. We lost another 10 minutes when we got to the open area down below after crossing a creek, and followed a false pad. It took us a while to backtrack and find the real track. I think that was a sign of tiredness. By 7.26 we came to the signs pointing to Lake Marion and Narcissus. A few minutes later we crossed Marion Creek, again on the log crossing, arriving back at Narcissus hut at 7.55 very happy with our day.
We realised when we set up our tent this morning and found a lot of mosquitos bugging us that we had forgotton to pack the Aerogard. We decided to call into the hut and ask if anyone there had some insect repellent we could use. While we were gratefully applying some that an English girl had offered us, a Chinese boy called Tung offered us his to take with us, saying he did not need it any more as he was leaving first thing in the morning for Cynthia Bay on the ferry. We were most grateful and found it kept us bite free and blessing Tung for the rest of the trip.

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