Ida, Mt: 2 November 2013

Mt Ida GPS route

Mt Ida GPS route

At the start of last week I thought I’d be climbing Mount Mueller on Saturday with the Hobart Walking Club, as I hadn’t done it and it would save me organising the key. But on Thursday, part way through my work week, I received an unexpected and very exciting message.. was I interested in having a crack at Mount Ida, with a boat ride over? Hell yes!!!

At the boat ramp, our mountain beckons

At the boat ramp, our mountain beckons

After checking that I would actually be able to make it (I had to work the Saturday morning, but could shift my hours so that I started at 10.30pm Friday night and finished at 6.30am), I started to get VERY excited. The weather was looking great, and this was a mountain I’d thought I wouldn’t get to climb for quite a few years due to not having my own kayak, or boat for that matter. Yet it’s a mountain that stands out every time you visit Lake St Clair, and it’s a real mountain, one that stands proud and high and gets my blood racing with the desire to test myself against its defences. And it was no disappointment!!

Getting closer.. what a lovely looking mountain

Getting closer.. what a lovely looking mountain

The 4 of us set off at 7, were in the boat by 10, and on the shore below Ida and ready to start walking at 10:50. We followed the Abels description, heading off through open forest up the obvious ridge, occasionally skirting round some impressive sized rocks. Though the first 500m was flat, we were then straight into the climb, still in open forest. Over 1.5km we climbed steadily from 760m to 1140m, and found ourselves standing under 100m cliffs, an illusive 60m away from the high point!

Our transport, Olympus behind

Our transport, Olympus behind

We’d been going just over an hour with a few breaks, and we knew the main leg work was done. We now had the fun sidling and scrambling to come, however this last bit was to take us just as long as the walk up. The sidling was probably the scrubbiest bit of the trip, but nothing major, just annoying to pull up through. The described gully was easy to identify, and we headed up, with one little rock scramble as a taster to make it to the ridge. You could sense the summit was near, but we were actually no closer, and still had a bit of work to do. Interpreting the Abels’ “drop over the other side a little and head left” took a bit of work, but we found the path to take, lamenting a lack of cairns that would have made things a lot easier (we did erect the occasional one).

Starting out, through open forest

Starting out, through open forest

So we sidled around taking a few educated guesses as to where we should be going. I scouted ahead, checking out a possible route, calling out when I spotted a rare cairn, but continuing up to make sure it was good.. Then came the scrambling over the kind of rocks I love, enough of a challenge to paste a big smile on my face and drive away any tiredness from having worked all night. There was no restraining the anticipation now, and once I made the ridge line again I bounced across, enjoying that moment when you first make a summit and take everything in. All alone in the world, and what a beautiful world it was..

Navigating round some decent sized rocks

Navigating round some decent sized rocks

I couldn’t savour it long though, as I had to head back down and let the others know it was definitely a way up. So I scrambled back across, slightly slower and with more care (funny how sensibility kicks in once you’ve reached the top), and started to head down, stopping when I heard voices. I hadn’t been sure they’d heard my cairn call, but they must have because they’d come a fair way, with just the last scramble up onto the ridge line and then the walk along it to do.

Our summit appears again as we start to leave the forest, nearly time to sidle round to the right

Our summit appears again as we start to leave the forest, nearly time to sidle round to the right

15 minutes later and just short of 2.5 hours walking, at 2:15, we were all enjoying the top, a fitting reward for the effort to get there. The clouds above Mt Olympus were particularly spectacular. I can’t have imagined a better day for it.

Can't we just go straight up there?

Can’t we just go straight up there?

In fact, we all saw the sense in not attempting Ida in weather other than perfect. Route finding across the last bit (from the top of the gully to the summit) would have been interesting and rather a bit of trial and error in whiteout (hopefully slightly easier now), especially without a GPS route, and any moisture would make the climbing difficult, if not dangerous. Definitely not worth attempting in snow or ice. Oh, but in fair weather… :D!!!

That's our gully!

That’s our gully!

This one will go down as a favourite, first and foremost because it fulfilled my desire for a challenge over rocks, the climb being as good as it looked. It did also have all the other necessary elements: the spectacular views from the top, beautiful weather, good company, and the added bonus of a boat ride (my bum can still feel it two days later though)!

At the top of the gully, figuring out how far down we had to drop, before heading left

At the top of the gully, figuring out how far down we had to drop, before heading left

All up, just shy of 5 hours, 5.3km, 570m ascent. Back to my car 12 hours after having started, ready for a good night’s sleep and another walk to go on when I woke!! Ah, what a spoilt life I live.. pity this is the only way I know how to share just a bit of it..

View back southish.. from whence we'd come

View back southish.. from whence we’d come

Final scramble up.. my kind of fun :D

Final scramble up.. my kind of fun 😀

Exploring the summit.. wow :)

Exploring the summit.. wow 🙂

Favourite view.. Olympus from the summit

Favourite view.. Olympus under clouds from the summit

Captain of the boat.. trying to get us all wet on the way back!

Captain of the boat.. trying to get us all wet on the way back!

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3 thoughts on “Ida, Mt: 2 November 2013

  1. What a fantastic description. I’ve only looked at it from the other side on top of Rufus. Looks amazing!

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  2. FABULOUS!! I’m insanely jealous. I’ve always wanted to climb Ida, and for all the same reasons. I shouldn’t be jealous though – it’s very greedy of me, as you’ll see I had a grand walk too, but, oh, I do love your tale of Ida thanks.

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  3. It is amazing, and fabulous.. a REAL mountain! Apparently there’s a much easier and cairned way if you sidle to the west (left) when you hit the cliffs, rather than to the right.. but I must admit the climb was the fun part for me! You would just love it Louise, in fact I thought of you as I was writing this up. You had a stunning walk by the look of your photos, and you’re right, there’s something about the wildness of that kind of weather that awes and humbles one more than if it had been a clear day. I’m off on a 6.5 day whirlwind trip to PB, with whatever else thrown in in the first week of December, and you’ve just whetted my appetite even more (if that’s possible)!!

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