Clumner Bluff: 10 November 2013

Clumner Bluff GPS route

Clumner Bluff GPS route

Well, it’s about time I stopped walking and started writing! I was supposed to be walking today, but after three days of perfect weather on 6 lovely peaks, and with a forecast of rain and cloud all day, the sensible decision was made (no, not entirely by me, I’m not that sensible) to wait for another day. But that means I get to write up some of my adventures this weekend instead. Can’t have you wondering if I’m still alive can I?

Open forest to start with, but straight up ;)

Open forest to start with, but straight up 😉

Clumner was another Pandani Bushwalking Club walk, and I always look forward to these. They’re always to somewhere new, and with a great group of people. Sometimes we spend as much time standing or sitting and talking than we do walking (or so it seems) but that’s all part of the fun. It’s very relaxed, and I do enjoy this point of difference from my often quite fast-paced solo adventures, where no matter how relaxed you are, you always have to be alert. I especially enjoy these Pandani walks when I’ve had to work the night before.

A splash of Caladenia colour, my friends tell me

A splash of Caladenia colour, my friends tell me

Though I don’t usually work Sunday mornings, I was this time, and because of the departure time of 5am, I was up after a restless few hours of sleep at 8pm Saturday night, packed my last minute things, and headed off to work. A fast paced and very productive 8 hours later I was back in the car and heading off to Campbell Town, hoping to catch up with everyone there. As luck would have it I did, and picked up some company for the rest of the rather long drive.

Hit the scree and whoa, check that out!

Hit the scree and whoa, check that out!

I wasn’t feeling too tired though, excited as always about the day’s prospects. What would we discover this time? But as we set out, at about 9.30, and headed straight up an old old road through dry sclerophyll (?wouldn’t have a clue how to spell that) forest, I realised I was out in front and wouldn’t be able to keep that kind of pace up for long, and certainly not over the next few days. So I throttled back, and slipped into the middle of the group, happy to be a follower.

In my element

In my element

The climb, for the large part, was mostly up. Myself and our leader both had GPS routes that apparently would take us a quicker and easier route than the cairned route, but we were also under the impression that it was taped. We saw no sign of tapes, and so when the cairns started to direct us up hill, those in the front kept following, and the rest of us just went along. Why not?

Up we pop, one by one, onto the plateau

Up we pop, one by one, onto the plateau

A bit over an hour after having started we hit the scree.. and I broke into a smile.. lots and lots of scree.. hand goes there, foot there, other foot there.. jump across to that one and.. whoa.. check out that view!! The only thing to stop me dead in my tracks on scree.. and what  a view it was! Completely unexpected, we could see out towards the northern end of the Overland mountains, with the promise of more to come.

Clumner and cloud reflections

Clumner and cloud reflections

We climbed our way up the very decent scree field, the largest I think I’ve been on so far. I was certainly feeling like a rock monkey that day, confident and free in my scrambling and bouncing across rock, and thought that there couldn’t have been a more fitting mountain to be climbing for my 150th Tasmanian peak!

Over a small rise and there she lies

Over a small rise and there she lies

The rock did come to an end, as soon as we hit the plateau, but that was quite ok. More surprises awaited. I got there first, popped out on top, let out a ‘wow’ at the view, then after a pause and a photo or two ran over to a small bump that seemed to be the closest high point, and let out another wow as the Walls (and mountains) of Jerusalem appeared on the new horizon. My next destination was a tarn with some lovely reflections, and finally I thought I’d better wander back to where the others would come up.

Across the flat and onto the final climb, looking back from where we'd come

Across the flat and onto the final climb, looking back from where we’d come

As I did two figures appeared on the rim, so I stopped to take their photo as they gave those behind them directions on the easiest way up (I’ve learnt not to give advice, as it seems to be common knowledge not to ask which way the ‘rock monkey’ went, and in this instance that would have been wisest, as I took the most direct path, involving just one minor leap of faith over a bit of a drop). I then watched from a short distance as they went through similar motions to what I just had, chuckling as one ran over to the very spot I’d run to!

And looking to our right, these mountains were one of the highlights of the day

And looking to our right, these mountains were one of the highlights of the day

After the usual phaffing around with cameras, and aware that it was now after midday, we headed off towards a rise in the landscape,  to discover quite a prominent looking rise (for a bluff as viewed from its plateau). We were now in the ‘just keep moving’ stage, so we worked our way across the open ground, then up the short climb onto the rise. Unfortunately, like many of these mountains, there is no readily identifiable high point (to the eye), so we did the usual covering of all bases, aiming primarily for the southern most point, said to be the highest. It also happened to be marked by a cairn. The views around were just stunning, and so we sat and ate and soaked it all in for 15 minutes.

Approaching the now very flat summit

Approaching the now very flat summit

After consultation, we decided to head back down the alternate route, which was supposed to cut the scree down a lot and consequently be a lot faster. The two of us with the GPS routes took lead and tail, and off we set. Though we found no sign of a marked track, there were pads (probably largely animal) as you dropped off the side and before you hit the scree. We took the short direct route across the scree to where the eucalyptus trees started, figuring the scree would probably be much nicer, if non-existent where they were. And true enough when we got there the scree stopped and we were back into our dry sclerophyll forest.

Lunch with a view

Lunch with a view

Although there was no track, cairned or otherwise, it was very open walking and we made good time back to the cairned track, and then the cars. This was the much faster and easier route, taking only 3 hours, as opposed to the 5 up. Yes we were descending, but often descending on scree is slower and requires more care than ascending. Back at the cars at 5.30, we were a contented, if a little sore, lot. Perfect weather and a fun climb, not to mention those views!

Thirsty work, all that walking.. think I've started a trend here!

Thirsty work, all that walking.. think I’ve started a trend here!

8 hours, 11.9km, 820m ascent.

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