Ascent of Mount Ossa on 1993-10-30
|Others in Party:||(Sharon C.|
|Date:||Saturday, October 30, 1993|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||1613 m / 5295 ft|
Ascent Trip ReportToday Sharon and I continued our trip along the Overland Track in Tasmania. We left the crowded, boisterous New Pelion hut and climbed up a gradual uphill to the Ossa/Pelion East col, where I wanted to go off to the west on a side path to the summit of Mt. Ossa, the 1617 meter (5305 foot) highest point in Tasmania. It was the nicest day of our hike, with some low clouds on the summits the only real threats visible, but the side path to Mt. Ossa was covered with between a few inches and a foot of fresh snow.
We climbed up past minor Mt. Doris, crossed a col, and then started climbing the blocky, snow covered massif of Mt. Ossa, guarded by steep cliffs all the way around. The snow on the rocks created a minefield of sorts on the jumbled rocks, the footing was treacherous, and the trail soon led into a very rocky and steep cleft. Towards the top there were some pretty steep and exposed cliffs to climb, and Sharon and Holger, right behind me, decided to turn back here--they felt the pitch was beyond them, although to someone with my climbing experience it wasn't too bad at all.
At the top of the cleft the route descended easily more blocky terrain, then climbed the main summit dome of Mt. Ossa with no further difficulties. At the summit of Tasmania there was another bunch of crazy Ozzie soldiers--one of them told me he had never seen snow before in his life (there was a lot of it up there), and others took off all their clothes and got totally naked and had me take a picture of them, naked in the snow. The views were pretty nice, too--the low clouds had temporarily disappeared, and the unbroken Tasmanian wilderness, punctuated by other butte-like mountains, was very pretty.
The highest rock was a steep, triangular boulder projecting above the flat summit plateau, and a couple soldiers at its base told me it was unclimbable. However, I climbed it, using my rudimentary rock-climbing skills, and had my picture taken after throwing my camera down to a soldier. Once I was down, the six or so soldiers who were nearby all had to climb the boulder, even though some of them almost fell.
I finally left the top of Mt. Ossa, my fourth and final Australian state high point, and climbed back down, taking extra care in the cleft. Sharon had promised to wait for me in the next hut, so after reaching the main Overland Track I cruised south alone for a mile or so of easy downhill to the Kia Ora hut. Sharon was waiting for me, and after a rest we set off, bound for the Windy Ridge hut.
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