“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.
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.
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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Open Now: The Mont Backcountry Shop at 20 Pirie Street Fyshwick, adjoined to the Mont Shop at 18 Pirie Street. For those who don't call Canberra home, that's one minute off the highway with free and easy parking right outside.
This dedicated backcountry space is a one-stop-shop for alpinists of all disciplines. Come in today and see the immense range, talk to expert staff and find all the gear for alpine adventure.
Doug Chatten, director and lead-guide at Snowy Mountains Backcountry (SMBC), has been skiing the Main Range for over 30 years, using our gear for 25 years, and working in the NSW Snowy Mountains professionally for 20 years.This year
Doug, Mont and SMBC are giving you the chance to win a ticket for one of their tours into this incredible Australian landscape!