Monday, 10 June 2013

Chalice Lake and Twin Spires - 13th to 15th February 2013

Having circled this area in January, I was intrigued to see what was there. I met the three ladies of Warrnambool at Junction Lake, and they were headed for Chalice Lake for a night on their way to being picked up at the very end of the Mersey Forest Road. Indeed, I found their brief entry in the logbook at the start of the track as I headed upwards on this trip.

Maybe I visited at the right time - the weather was excellent - but this is one of the most spectacular and scenic places I have been. It also seems to be quite ecologically fragile, and I suspect that camping at Chalice Lake shouldn't be encouraged. I had some difficulty finding a spot to use as a toilet actually, and had to go a considerable distance before I thought any "flow" wouldn't be likely to end up rapidly in the lake.

Chalice Lake sits in a large natural bowl in the Cathedral Mountain plateau. Cathedral Mountain is the spectacular line of cliffs visible from Kia-Ora along the Overland Track. The lake itself is awesome, and working against the idea of not camping there is the fact that at sunrise and sunset it is very photogenic. From Chalice Lake, you can walk on a little higher to Tent Tarn, where there is a more obvious campsite, but the same ecological concerns would apply. Around the edge of the plateau are various peaks - mostly the peaks noted along the rim of Cathedral Mountain. Twin Spires is the tallest point - the North Spire being the true "summit" of this high area. There is basically a quite obvious route from Chalice Lake to the summit of Twin Spires, with a few spots where the way ahead isn't entirely clear. I will put up a walk description, but I'm not going to be too specific about the route, as part of the fun is finding your way there. The Abels and Chapman both have descriptions, with Chapman probably a little more complete.

For now, here are a few selected photos which show a little of the beauty of the area and the views from the summit.

Chalice Lake in the early morning.

Twin Spires at far right, from my campsite at Chalice Lake.
Twin Spires at far right, from my campsite at Chalice Lake.

The Pelions and Mount Ossa from Twin Spires summit
The Pelions and Mount Ossa from Twin Spires summit.

The Du Cane range visible behind the Southern Spire from near the summit of Twin Spires
The Du Cane Range and Mount Ossa visible behind the Southern Spire from near the summit of Twin Spires.

Chalice Lake at sunset
Chalice Lake at sunset.

Sunrise at Chalice Lake.
This one above is available to purchase at RedBubble.

Sunrise in the mist at Chalice Lake
Sunrise in the mist at Chalice Lake.


ally said...

Those last two photos are simply stunning
I haven't visited those areas for years - must get back out there soon

Mark said...

Thanks ally!

. said...

Just happen to stumble on to your blog, glad I found it... Stunning photography and I love hiking and canoeing.

Mark said...

Glad you like it!