Ascent of Mount Ossa on 2018-01-03

Climber: Dean Gaudet

Others in Party:Kathy Rich
Daryn Dodge
Lisa Barboza
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Ossa
    Elevation:5305 ft / 1616 m

Ascent Trip Report

our original plan was to hike into the new pelion hut on tuesday evening, sleep, then summit and hike out on wednesday. however predicted freezing temperatures and snow for tuesday evening! we shifted our plans and bagged legges tor tuesday afternoon (after picking up propane and dehydrated food at macpac in launceston), and slept in mole creek tuesday night. on wednesday we'd hike all the way to the summit and back to the hut. then hike out early thursday morning to catch our flight back to melbourne. (it would turn out later that mountain-forecast was wrong, we could have stuck to the original plan.)

if you ask gmaps to take you to the trailhead it will take you the wrong way: it's unaware that the bridge connecting arm road and maggs road is out, and the road is impassible. what you can do is navigate to the intersection at -41.7017, 146.1845 and read the sign (which we neglected to do)... take a left, staying on maggs road. (although apparently on arms road, to the right, there are some cabins you can sleep in -- but i do not know anything about how to arrange for access to these.)

the arm river track has frequent boardwalks, which definitely made the trek easier than it would otherwise have been. in fact we didn't know how good we had it until we got to the main north/south section of the overland track: at which point we discovered how annoying the exposed tree roots could be. the entire north/south section on the overland track between arm river track and the mount ossa spur was hell: tree roots and moist/muddy sections. if that's what the whole overland track is like then that would make it quite the sufferfest.

we took 4h to reach the hut, arriving around 1pm. we found it mostly empty. summitpost suggests it sleeps 60: to achieve that you would need to double up people on each shelf of the wider bunkbeds, and sleep several in the common area. there is a rain water collection system outside, which may be safe to drink, but it was slightly coloured and i preferred to filter it. it's also worth noting that the toilets were the most foul smelling i've ever experienced: i wanted to stuff my earplugs in my nose to force myself to breathe through my mouth. otherwise the hut was quite pleasant enough. we stashed our gear on a few bunks and set off for the summit.

as mentioned earlier, the overland track is hell. there is a platform at pelion gap where the spur trails fork off. at this point there is some freshly built boardwalk (some sort of pressed laminate material) heading up toward ossa: this was quite welcome. the boardwalk was still under construction, and ended somewhere near the flatish trail section which side-hills around mount doris.

past mount doris, the main climb up to the ossa summit plateau is steep and involves class 2 (maybe some easy 3) scrambling. the ossa summit rock itself can be ascended in two ways: to climber's right is a friction slab without much exposure but requiring a bit of a reach to get started. to climber's left is a slightly exposed set of holds which require stemming. call it easy class 4 or hard class 3, your choice.

we spent 6h from hut to summit and back to hut. it's worth noting there's a poster inside the hut which suggests 4 to 5h for this trip: we're generally strong hikers, so either the poster is inaccurate; or tasmanians are very strong hikers; or our choice of hiking all the way to the summit on day 1 was a poor choice. at any rate: 10h of hiking on day 1.

day 2 we had to wake up early and hike out and get to the airport in time for our flight back to melbourne. the hike out also took 4h.

the views were quite enjoyable at several points along this trek. many other peaks begged to be climbed. however a considerable amount of time is spent in the trees, with no views at all. for me this was the "one peak too many" portion of this trip: happy to have done it, but i did not enjoy it much at all while i was doing it. in hindsight i would have preferred to spend more time on tasmania, or to have done this peak (the hardest of our trip) first. keep that in mind if you're planning a similar adventure!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5488 ft / 1672 m
    Extra Gain:1300 ft / 396 m
    Round-Trip Distance:24 mi / 38.6 km
    Trailhead:2417 ft / 736 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Hut Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 16 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 0 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: mount ossa (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Ossa2018-01-035488 ft / 1673 m
Total Trip Gain: 5488 ft / 1673 m    Total Trip Loss: 5488 ft / 1673 m

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