Sunday, 16 March 2008

Snowy South - 15th March 2008

Northerly view from Snowy South, past Nevada Peak to right, to Mt Mueller in middle distance, and Frenchmans Cap in on the horizon - 15th March 2008Alex was invited to come to Lake Skinner, but not knowing where it was, he was a little reticent. So I said we could climb Collins Bonnet instead. All agreed on Friday night. Come Saturday morning, the prospect of walking up a hill had palled for him, and he declined. Anyway, if I was going to go to Snowy South, the original idea, I was now running a little later than I'd have liked. Eventually started walking at 11:15am. The new track start (well, from a few years ago) is easy to find, just follow the signs.

Natural shelter at Lake Skinner - 15th March 2008The first part of the track, which was cut to move the track away from forestry operations, can be very wet underfoot, but right now it is predictably dry. I was feeling a little slow yesterday, and took the opportunity to take a photo here and there. The unfortunate result of my stop-start approach was that when I got to Lake Skinner, my new pedometer said I hadn't done any aerobic steps, just normal ones. It requires you to walk at a certain speed for 10 minutes or more, without any break of over a minute. I must have kept stopping before it quite got there. Felt aerobic to me.

Logs at lake outlet, Lake Skinner - 15th March 2008The lake level is quite low, but the creek was flowing gently. The lakeside here is a very pleasant place to stop for a rest. Tyrone Thomas' book, 100 Walks In Tasmania, used to to suggest that either side of the lake could be used to ascend Snowy South. I'm assuming that since that time a better effort has been made to delineate the track northwest through the cliffs above Lake Skinner, because it's been very clear for the last 12 years at least. I suspect a route around the south of the lake would be long and scrubby. The track northwest through the cliffs is easy to follow and ascends steadily then steeply, with a couple of clambers.

Anne Range from the summit of Snowy South - 15th March 2008The track is easy to follow once on the plateau. However, the easiest route to the summit is around to the left of the little tarn, and up the Pineapple Grass slopes, rather than following the cairns to their end and assaulting the final climb directly. I'll put the details in the Google Map and fix the walk description in my upcoming major edit. Mind you, I'm unclear whether it's really OK to walk on Pineapple Grass. It doesn't hurt when one person walks carefully, but I should think that a lot of traffic would be quite damaging.

Forestry operations in the Weld Valley visible from Snowy South summit - 15th March 2008Some of the Weld Valley logging is visible quite clearly from the summit, although you have to move around a little on the large boulders. Personally, I think this is an area that should have been left completely alone, along with the Picton Valley, and the Huon Valley above Tahune. The logging in these places really does damage the continuity and security of these beautiful forests in the World Heritage Area. Given their distance from export facilities, I suspect the extraction of timber here is extremely marginal, and we are probably all subsidising it to the hilt without anyone being able to see the cost clearly.

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