Saturday, 26 March 2016

Frenchmans Cap Walk

Easter any where in Tassie is going to be crowded but Ben and I decided to do the Frenchmans Cap walk.

The Frenchmans Cap track is a challenging walk in a region of Tasmania exposed to harsh weather conditions at any time of the year. Access to the summit is quite exposed and should not be attempted in adverse weather. Walkers must be fully self-sufficient, well-equipped and experienced.
We set off from home nice and early, dodged wild life all the way to the start of the walk and set off around 9am. The car park wasn't as packed as we first thought it might be so it was looking promising.

Initially the walk was very easy. At some stage we knew it must get hard because all our research and blog reading had suggested it was a killer. But the further we got into the walk the more we knew we were about to get beat up by a hill or two!

The weather was coming in and out so that lead to the usual jacket on, jacket off routine.

But having walked through rain for a large part of the day and climb a couple of hills we soon arrived at Lake Vera Hut and scouted out a good spot for our tents.

The toilet is the first thing to greet you!

Lake Vera Hut, Nice hut but way to crowded for me to sleep in

This accomodation is more my thing.

Theres nice tank water at the hut and also a nice little river that some people chose to bath in.....brrrrrr

Some people take tea and coffee for their end of day drinks....others take whiskey ;)

We were lucky enough to have our neighbours let us use their tarp to sit under during the night as it was raining and they were happy to lay in their tent. So after tea and few drinks we went to bed.

The next day we made the decision to leave our camp set up at Lake Vera (it was very busy and we were at risk of not getting a spot at the next site or back here a day later) and attempt the summit of Frenchmans Cap as a day walk.

This was a risk as it only allowed a small window of opportunity to get to the summit in regards to the weather.
Usually we would have walked all the way to the base of the summit, set up camp and then had that day or the next morning as potential summit attempts.

However we didn't so we got up early and in almost darkness set off on the gruelling walk up over Barron Pass, it was a very wet day.

In fact it was so wet it was difficult at times to take photos but we had fun anyway.

Once we were finally at the top of Barron Pass the wind nearly blew us off the pass!

We walked across the top along side Sharlands Peak and Artichoke Valley down towards Lake Tahune Hut.

By the time we got to Lake Tahune Hut we were absolutely drenched. But we were greeted by a Parks Ranger 'Terry' who in fact is retired but helps out by being the hut caretaker from time to time. Terry made us a coffee, which was very nice.

The weather was terrible and no one was summating on this day but we reluctantly decided that we had come this far so we would have a crack anyway. Against the better judgement of some people.

As a rule cameras or photos and videos rarely show just how steep a track is, so when you look carefully at these couple of photos I think you can clearly see that if you were to fall you will drop approximately half a kilometre down into the Lake below!

There were woman and kids crying, grown men shaking in their boots and people screaming to get off the mountain as the weather was so bad, so needless to say we didn't make the summit :(
In fact we only got about half way. This is our summit photo!

So we dropped back off the mountain knowing it was silly to keep going and given that we still had to walk all the way back to our camp site at Lake Vera before dark.
We popped back into the hut to let the ranger know we were off the mountain safely and headed back over Barron Pass.

By the time we got back to camp we were wet through and it was just starting to get on darkness. It was a massive day.
We got changed into our dry clothes, had tea, a few well earned drinks and went to bed. As predicted though, the camp ground and hut in general were now packed!

The next morning which would have been summit day had we stuck to plan A was as Murphy would have it, fine and sunny!! But in typical South West Tassie fashion it didn't last long so off we went back to the car.

We crossed the mighty Franklin, signed the log book to say we were back and arrived at the car in pretty good time.

We were obviously disappointed to not get to summit the Cap but on speaking to many people up there they have said that they have been there many times and the weather hasn't allowed them to summit.
So we will be back, but thats not say we will get lucky with the weather any other time!
It is quite a walk in and quite a walk up over Barron Pass so this ones not for the inexperienced.


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