November 21, 2001

Mt Field West

Marian Harradine
Wednesday 21st November '01
6 ¼ hours on tracks
We arrived at Lake Dobson at 1.40. Put on our boots and were on our way by 1.45. We did not really enjoy the steep ascent up the uninteresting 4WD track after leaving the Urqhart track to the left of Lake Dobson car park. After about 15 minutes from the start though the route gets off the road and onto a track. We took a signposted track to Mt Field West, but it seemed to be a rather roundabout route up, on a rocky/stoney track.
Once we got to the duckboards we felt we were going somewhere and made good time towards some more ski slopes. Then it became more rocky from then on up Rodway Range when we had to rock hop rocks and boulders.
This led to the part of the range called Lions Den, a sort of a rocky ampitheatre, and then down some more boulder hopping to K Col. There were great views there especially to the south west peaks. Mt Anne, Federation Peak, Arthur Ranges, We descended the Col and noticed the Gordon Dam ahead of us in the distance. At this time we met a couple of other walkers in that area. One who had done the Tarn Shelf / Newdegate circuit and another who was coming back from Mt Field West and told us it would take about an hour from Peterson's Hut which we could see below us. This emergency hut was on the shoulder between Mt Field west and Florentine Peak. We were pleased to hear the time information as we were wondering how we were going as we wanted to get back to the car before dark.
The track had a junction at the bottom of K Col to Tarn Shelf / Newdegate circuit.
We got to the hut at about 3.45 and proceeded on after checking it out. 500 meters from the hut we passed Clemes Tarn which was a bit higher than the path we were walking on right beside it. Very pretty.
The weather was looking as though it might close in. We had been walking in some sunshine a lot of the way up till then. The climb gradient from the hut was a nice steady, stoney uphill and after stopping for a bite to eat at a scenic rocky place with a view, we headed off again up the rocks, following an easy to see path. It is 2 kms from Clemes Tarn to the top of the plateau and over the shoulder of Naturalist Peak. Then it is about 1 km walking across the plateau, avoiding little tarns/puddles along the way. The summit is like a west facing ramp or bluff so is not very dramatic from the east. Mt Naturist is more showy.
We climbed the rocks to the top of the mountain and got there at 4.45. Good views were enjoyed, although a bit hazey north and east. The weather stayed reasonably clear with patchy sun making the views interesting. As well as the earlier mountains mentioned we saw lots of others including Mt Mueller, Denison ranges, Frenchman's Cap in the distance and nearer to the east of us was The Watcher just across the gully. Mt Wellington was under the clouds as was the rest of the south east. Florentine Valley, below us was a bit disappointing with clear-felled patches from forestry activity.
We left at about 5 oclock and popped up Mt Naturist on the way back just past at a large cairn, which added another 20 minutes to the return walk but was well worthwhile. There is a trig on that.
We retraced our steps back and got to the car at 8pm. A bit footsore after 85 percent of the walk was on rocks or stones, but very happy with our afternoon walk.

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