Well, I’d done Hartz and Snowy by myself before, and Adamsons twice before, so I really only needed to do Esperance and The Calf, and one day Mesa, but when the opportunity came to do the traverse from Hartz to Adamsons I jumped at the chance.
The weather was said to be pretty average for the first day, but good the next two. And average it was.. but that didn’t matter, we were only doing the car shuffle and walking up to what ended up camp just below the saddle between Hartz and Snowy. Probably made more average by me being right in the middle of a cold. It was wet and cold and very windy, especially for walking on wet scree. So windy that on the flats it was hard to actually walk on the track, it was more like a drunken stumble.
Anyway, I’d worked from 12-8, then driven down to Huonville, and we’d completed the car shuffle and were walking by 11. We had planned to walk up the track but not go over Hartz, avoiding the climb and taking a pad via the tarns to just below the saddle of Hartz and Snowy, but the visibility wasn’t great, and we must have walked straight past it, so up and over we went. My lungs weren’t happy, nor was my head, but I knew I’d be in my tent soon. The track up Hartz is clearly marked, and though I still haven’t had views from the summit, it’s said to be quite a nice walk. You can’t really go wrong. For those who want a bit more adventure, head along the ridge to Mount Snowy. There’s a faint pad, which I didn’t know about the first time, but it’s easy enough walking even if you’re not on it, and even with strong winds!
Not knowing what the camping would be like over the other side of Snowy (as it turned out, there was quite nice camping on the other side), we opted to set up tents just off the saddle between the two peaks. It was slightly more sheltered, but was still interesting setting up tents (glad mine can be done one handed!). It was 12.30 by this stage, as we looked around for the most sheltered but still flat site, and took a little while to get things organised. But I was in my tent shortly after 1, and spent all afternoon shivering! Neither of us got much sleep, mostly due to the ferocity of the wind and I discovered that sideways gusts of wind can completely collapse my tent, until said wind abates, when it pops back up.. interesting! I didn’t have complete faith that my tent would come out unscathed, but true to form, the One Planet Goondie proved itself up to the task.
We awoke to snow.. frozen fingers, and yep, frozen boots too.. someone had been too lazy to completely loosen them off, so I had an interesting time trying to get them back on.. at least it warmed me up a bit.. then for trying to unpeg a tent from frozen ground.. I didn’t even try to pack it up properly, dexterity was not happening!
We set off a bit after 8, sidling round the right hand side of Snowy. It took a little while to thaw out, and a little longer to feel my toes, but the walking was beautiful. The scree was covered in a thin layer of snow, all fresh and unspoilt, and I love walking across that, it’s like you’re the first to experience the moment.
As we headed down the other side, looking across the green that we were to walk through, at a few knobs on the horizon that we had to get to, it looked ok.. initially.. when we were still standing in the waist high stuff that was easy enough to wind through.. there had been reports of a little bit of scrub that side of Snowy. Well.. little bit!! More than I expected, and being sick really took it out of me. There was even a time when the guy I was walking with, more experienced and probably more crazy, was thinking of a turn around time if we hadn’t got far enough, cos our speed had really dropped, and we were down on hands and knees every now and again, trying to squeeze through branches, then wriggle our packs through with us!
I was knackered, and it was a relief to pop out and actually see a horizon part way along. It was short lived, but at least the going thereafter was slightly easier, though the scrub remained constant. I don’t think I was the only tired one, but definitely the most tired, as we made the first knob and decided to set up camp there, as the site was nice, and the path onwards looked like more scrub with no definite camping we could see from afar. Again, as it turned out, there was some very nice camping a little further on (see map, poss camp 2). It was just before 4, we’d taken 8 hours to cover 8.2 km.
It was another cooler night, but the wind was leaving us alone, and we both got more sleep, pretty tired after the days efforts. Probably one of the harder days walking I’ve done, largely perhaps because of the effects of the cold I had and the mental effort of getting through the scrub as much as the physical (though I’ve gotta say my legs were getting hard to lift over scrub by the end!).
The following morning was beautiful again, crisp, but it’s always so nice to wake in the middle of the mountains, and know you’re right in the middle of ‘nowhere’. There was the usual reluctance to pack everything away, get out of the warm, and put the wet wet-weather gear on again – at least this time it wasn’t frozen solid!
And so the day began, setting off again, shortly after 8, back into the scrub. From here on, the scrub always looked worse than it actually was. Though it was relatively constant, it was easy enough to weave a way through, with very little of the heavy stuff of the morning before. Then we popped out and were on the nice open run up to Esperance, which with tired legs was harder than it should have been, purely because it was up hill (what do you expect when you go to climb mountains)! I was almost too tired to be able to look up and enjoy the view, but fortunately I did take a few photos.
We were on the summit by 9.40, and had a 10 minute break, checking out the way ahead, and hoping like anything that the scrub immediately in front of us on the descent wasn’t too bad, and that the ridge we had to walk along to get to the Calf really was as open as it looked. And we were lucky! Little bit of scrub, but again easy enough to wind a way through without too much extra exertion and then glorious open walking once we’d made the ridge!! Could hardly believe it.
We walked the 3-4km along the top in an hour and a bit, then headed up through small bit of scrub to get on top of a bump, after which the walking was open but up all the way to the bottom of the calf.
Not having done the Calf, I ducked up the easy hundred or so metres to the summit, then we headed over to Adamsons, making the summit shortly after 3. I knew then that I was home and hosed, but the walk back was much longer than I remembered it, and I remembered it long! But at least there was no more scrub or uphill! We were back at the old hut in an hour, and after a brief pause kept going. We were racing the dark but we were never going to win. The last part was done by head torch – as if it wasn’t hard enough to stay upright with the fatigue by this stage :p!! Another hour and a half and we were back at the car. It was just before 6, and we’d walked for 9.40 hours, covering 20km. All up just over 33km, and just under 20 hours walking.
Went to bed that night very tired, but happy, the cold no worse, and work the next morning, bright and early.. and a tad stiff and sore!
All up: 32.6km, 1782m ascent.