In fact, I had been there last year and thought I might try and climb it if I ever returned. Well, here I was coming over the crest and “Gosh (substitute the “f” word there) how this mountain has grown since last year. It’s amazing that it’s doubled in size; a wonder it didn’t make the papers”.
Funny how the memory plays tricks on you. Still, I had failed at Lake Judd so I was determined to do something while I was at Lake Pedder. There’s a well appointed picnic ground to park at so I pulled over and got ready, trying psyche myself up but not wholly succeeding.
I walked over Wedge River where you have a choice of logs and then, oh, no, not another bog. Yes indeed, as if three hours of them the day before weren’t enough. Luckily it only lasted about 50 metres and then the registry book was at the end.
I glanced at a couple of entries. It seemed like you could do it under three hours; that was reassuring so I set out.
The Sentinel in all its glory rose before me. From the road it is a magnificent spectacle, one of the great roadside views of Australia; from up close and personal it is a tad daunting and hard to take your eyes off.
However, after having an encounter with a one and a half metre black snake my eyes, perhaps not surprisingly, became fixed markedly on the path thereafter. The trail quickly began to gain height but I wondered just what chute it went through as there were about four up there and they were all very steep.
20 minutes found me at the base of the cliffs and I started to slow as it started to climb and then traverse to the left. Eventually I got to the serious part in about half an hour and here it was seriously steep, at times even requiring all fours to surmount little ledges as I made my ascent right beside a massive rock face.
I continually paused, about twenty times all up, and took time to contemplate just what the blowflies, that came every time I stopped, did when I wasn’t there.
On and on, ever upward, thinking you were getting near and then seeing another rampart to get past. Still, I made the summit in less than 1 ½ hours and was pretty chuffed. I traversed across the saddle between peaks to get the views of Lake Pedder and yet again stopped for lunch to soak up the splendour of this wilderness.
The vast lake with the Frankland and Arthur Ranges flanking it is truly Australia’s most spectacular. The drama of the jagged peaks is matched nowhere else; for me, it is Australia’s only true mountain range. Here they don’t look like big hills, they look awesome, and they were even higher before they were partially flooded by the Hydro Electric people.
Thus sated in body and mind I made my way down which was much worse than coming up, even though it was quicker. Most falls on mountains occur during the descent, I’d learnt to be cautious.
At the summit I had thought to put my spray jacket on as the wind was so penetrating; now I wanted to take my T shirt off I was getting so hot, exposed to the sun with no wind.
Still, I made it back safely 15 minutes short of the three hour mark and signed myself off. It had been a redeeming climb.
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