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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    tasmanua, bushwalking

    Western Arthur, Tasmania

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    “After a substantial hiatus from the trails of Tassie I was starting to dream of the divine hiking down there. Plus, nothing softens the memory of those lung busting climbs and infamous Button Grass swamps like sitting on the mainland watching your trusty Mont Backcountry pack (now 18 years old) gather dust in the shed. In order to scratch the itch, a trio of us planned to have a crack at the glorious Western Arthur traverse in South West Tasmania.

    Gail ascending

     

    "...swollen creeks, visibility down to about 10m and epic wind whipping up whitecaps out on the lake"

     

    Moondance 1 Tent

    Armed with a Moondance 1 Tent, Helium 600 Sleeping Bag, Backcountry Pack, an Austral Jacket and a strong disregard for personal hygiene for the next week or so, I set off with my walking buddies from Lake Pedder into 2 days of sunshine and 360 degree views. It was pure bliss looking down on some of the country’s wildest places, with the only thing to be heard being my whimpering as I lugged myself up Moraine A onto the range. The following day, we scored occasional misty glimpses of Mt Hayes overhead, the plains far below and brooding views descending into the famous Lake Oberon. After that was a different story, with swollen creeks, visibility down to about 10m and epic wind whipping up whitecaps out on the lake. Despite being stuck in the tent for nearly 2 days waiting for the weather to clear, I was stoked to find that the new Moondance 1 was both roomy and stable. Extra points for the ridge pole pushing drip lines out to give a lovely wide vestibule which can be comfortably cooked in during foul conditions.

    Gail in mudbath

    With the weather continuing to deteriorate and worse forecast, it was time to bail out the way we came instead of risking it on the extremely exposed central section of the range. We scored some quality horizontal rain, a free whole body mud bath and some profoundly undignified faceplants on our way out – definitely a classy exit. Although we didn’t get the bluebird traverse we were planning for, the weather is the boss in the South West and my hiking itch was satisfied. For a few weeks anyway…”

    Mont staff member Gail

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    moondance 2 tent, tarkine, camping, tasmania, geoff murray

    Geoff Murray: Rupert Point in Tasmania

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    I have for a long time intended to visit Rupert Point in Tasmania's west coast Tarkine. I finally managed to organise driving up to Corinna, board the majestic old Arcadia II and chug the 17kms down to Pieman Heads where the skipper took me across to the northern side of the river in an inflatable dinghy.

    Pieman River, Tasmania

    I had been warned that water would be scarce and that proved to be the case. Setting up camp a couple of kilometres north of the river I had to return to a fisherman's shack at Pieman Heads and fill my water bag from the tank. The rest of the day was spent lying in my tent with the doors tied back to escape the incredibly persistent March flies that were present by the score. Fortunately my Mont Moondance II tent has excellent ventilation and allowed me to keep semi cool in the 30+ degree heat.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Come late afternoon I packed my camera gear and wandered the couple of kilometres up to Rupert Point. This was the first time I had visited this place so I had one evening and one morning to find good viewpoints. Fortunately the light was kind to me and I found a couple of nice spots to photograph. I have seen quite a few shots of Rupert and most photographers seem to take the same image but I was keen on finding something new. The March flies hadn't gone yet so I resorted to wearing my waterproofs, Mont Latitude trousers and a Mont Lightspeed jacket so I could concentrate on taking photographs and ignore the flies. Hot, but successful :) Eventually, the March flies went. Then the mosquitoes arrived....

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

    I was back at my tent at 9.20pm, quickly grabbed a bit of food then hopped into my tent to escape the mosquitoes. It rained a little overnight and conditions were really nice the next morning so I walked back to Rupert Point and found another couple of nice images. Then it was back to the tent, pack everything up and walk back to Pieman Heads to wait to be picked up by the Arcadia's skipper for the return to Corinna.

    Overall, a brilliant 2 days on the west coast.

    Rupert Point in Tasmania

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    Backcountry snow report from Mont Ambassador Doug Chatten

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Ski touring on the Main Range is currently in great shape! Kosciuszko Rd to Charlotte Pass is still snow bound so best access to The Western Faces is currently from Guthega. Cover is getting patchy through the trees from Farm Ck but consistent from Illawong flats onwards. Faces that are normally by now starting to get land locked like North side of Twynam, Carruthers & Sentinel country are still continuous cover.

    Doug relaxing in the dug out

     

    "Faces that are normally by now starting to get land locked like North side of Twynam, Carruthers & Sentinel country are still continuous cover"

    Just finished a four day spring mission dug into the lee side of Crags Ck saddle, skiing great lines off the Nth side of Twynam & very challenging variations in the Crags which are only skiable in good winters. Often during winter the descents in the Crags are wind scoured & not for the faint hearted. With ideal spring conditions we could really get into skiing some difficult pitches and exciting climbing. Ascending with climbing skins is not even an option & best done with crampons, a lightweight ski mountaineering axe & the Black Diamond Whippet. This handy tool is a ski pole that has an ice axe pick built into the handle & a great bit of kit to beef up your protection in exposed areas.

    Doug-cramponing-up

    On the way out climbing Mt Twynam with a loaded overnight pack I was stoked with how breathable the Mont Ascent Jacket is. My buddies made two clothing transitions while I kept the Ascent Jacket on from the start to the top of the climb. Even while working hard cramponing out of the Crags & again up the backside of Twynam the Ascent with its active cut & excellent breathability was the perfect choice.

     

    "With clear & calm skies we opted for the freedom of open air camping digging our dog boxes into the slope."

    Cramping up in the backcountry snow

    With clear & calm skies we opted for the freedom of open air camping digging our dog boxes into the slope. A kitchen, bedrooms & hardware room connected by a 15 metre terrace. Couldn’t have been toastier tucked up in my Mont Main Range sleeping bag under the stars. With excellent conditions & skiing straight out the back door there was plenty of time for lounging & back to camp for a cuppa with lunch then an arvo session of more steeps.

    the-dog-boxes-and-terrace

    Doug Chatten
    Pro Patrol & Mont Ambassador

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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    epoch, seal, penguin, antarctica, spindrift, kayak, geoff murray

    BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Our expedition was called the BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. BGLE stands for British Graham Land Expedition. This expedition took place in 1934-37 and was led by Australian John Rymill. The expedition performed valuable scientific and exploratory work in this relatively unknown region with the northern base being on Argentine Island which was our expedition’s final destination.

    Rymill was also the surrogate leader of a previous expedition in East Greenland in 1932 whose aim was to investigate the possibility of establishing a transcontinental air route between England and Canada. They were sponsored for this expedition by PanAm airlines. 
    The Greenland expedition was based in Tugtilik (also known as Lake Fjord) which is 100kms north of the nearest tiny settlement of Sermiligaq pop. 230. Sermiligaq is in itself a very remote location and Tugtilik is extremely remote. Rymill had to take control of the expedition after its leader, Gino Watkins, died in a hunting accident very shortly after reaching Tugtilik.

    Camp at Wordie House, Winter Island, Antarctica, 2017 by Geoff Murray

    I paddled to Tugtilik with a small group in 2016 and we became only the 4th kayaking expedition to reach this location in the last 84 years. Hence, there was a tangible link between my East Greenland expedition and this latest Antarctic expedition.

    Humpback Whale, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

     

    "... a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between."

    The distance between the start point, Enterprise Island, and Argentine Island was 300km and this involved paddling a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between. Icebergs are an ever present threat as they can capsize without warning and glacier faces can be equally unstable, calving spontaneously. Likewise the weather was a serious consideration, with the possibility of violent katabatic winds always in the background (as we found out one day!)

    But the rewards were immense, as we sighted whales, seals and penguins in one of Earth’s most spectacular locations as we paddled the Antarctic coastline.

    Fur Seal, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    I took a new Mont Epoch tent with me, slept in a Mont Spindrift sleeping bag and kept warm during the day wearing Mont Polartec Power Stretch Pro fleece under my Icicle jacket. This stuff works and I was not once cold.

    A wonderful trip to an awesome location!

    Geoff Murray
    Mont Ambassador, wilderness and landscape photographer, explorer

    Goeff Murray, Antarctica 2017

    Emma Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    Winter Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

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