Mountains of Australia

Know the wild, know yourself.

Month: July 2015

Updated Gallery!

Firstly, a huge thank you to all my followers who have subscribed recently!

Over the next few weeks I will be working hard to write some more content for Mountains of Australia. I will be aiming to complete the story of my Australian Alps adventure undertaken last year, as well as multiple shorter adventures in the wild mountains of Tasmania. If you are a follower, you will automatically receive updates as I post the new content.

For the time being, please check out my newly updated Gallery for the complete selection of photos from my 74 day Australian Alps adventure as well as my more recent winter trip to Tasmania’s Highlands.

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Thanks again for visiting,

– A.S.

Please, click on this image of an ancient snowgum to proceed to the gallery

Please, click on this image to proceed to the gallery

Winter in the Wilderness

The air was still, finally calm. The recent storms have left their signatures on the landscape; a thin dusting of snow covered the dramatic cliffs of the Du Cane Range as they spread out in front of me in a titanic amphitheatre.

Mt Geryon and the Pool of Memories

Mt Geryon and the Pool of Memories

These mountains are wild, that much is certain.

A brooding Cradle Mountain

A brooding Cradle Mountain

This World Heritage Listed landscape assumed its most recent and rather handsome shape during the last ice age, about 20 000 years ago, when giant glaciers scoured the slopes of these mountains. The glaciers originating from here would slowly grind their way down the valley and meet in a deep rift that now forms Australia’s deepest lake: Lake St Clair.

The Du Cane Range and Lake St Clair in the distance

The Du Cane Range and Lake St Clair in the distance

When the last ice age ended, the glaciers disappeared, but they left clues to their existence. The glacial valleys and moraines left behind as relics of the last ice age now accommodate an amazing abundance of life that thrives in Tasmania’s harsh alpine conditions.

A frozen Scoparia bush

A frozen Scoparia bush

The mountains here often stand with their head in the clouds. The deeper snow drifts on their slopes that build up during the winter can last quite late into the spring. The sun is only visible for about 10 hours a day in mid winter. It sits at a low angle in the sky, creating longer shadows and a picturesque effect. Snow covers the peaks and adds to the challenge of ascent. The changeable weather is part of the charm and the challenge of this area that bushwalkers refer to simply as ‘The Reserve’.

The tricky ridgeline from Mt Massif to Castle Crag.

The tricky ridgeline from Mt Massif to Castle Crag.

In ‘The Reserve’, wilderness still exists. The crumbling dolerite peaks stand like ancient guardians over wild river valleys thick with impenetrable scrub. Bus sized boulders are scattered on ridge lines above the tree line, like a million broken dinosaur eggs.

Dolerite boulder, Mt Oakleigh in background.

Dolerite boulder, Mt Oakleigh in background.

Out here, solitude can be embraced and the worries of the world are left behind. Freedom ensues.

A tricky ridgeline to walk.

A tricky ridgeline , Du Cane Range, Tasmania

I climbed up here into these mountains to understand Winter: to feel the cold, as it slowly crept under my skin numbing my fingers and toes.   I saw the frozen kiss of night settle on the surface of glacial tarns as a delicate layer of ice. In the morning, I saw the sun fighting to climb above the clouds.

Mt Gould at dawn

Mt Gould at dawn

Some moments are best captured with a photograph.

Some moments, are just perfect.

Some moments, are just perfect.

The value of wilderness isn’t measured in currency; it’s measured in freedom.

I can only hope that  ‘The Reserve’ will continue to exist in its relatively unaltered form for many more generations. Here, we can escape and imagine a world that is more than ordinary.

Little Horn, Cradle Mt

‘The Reserve’ in Winter

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some moments, are just perfect.

Some moments, are just perfect.

The simple title, ‘Scenic Reserve’ was bestowed on the spectacular area of Tasmania’s Central Highlands in 1922. Encompassed within the protected area were the iconic Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair as well as countless and lesser known rugged peaks.  Nearly a 100 years later, this World Heritage Area stands under a different name officially (Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair NP), but local naturalists and bushwalkers still refer to this unique and wild mountainous area fondly as ‘The Reserve’.

Paddy's Nut and Mt Pelion West, viewed from Mt Ossa.

Paddy’s Nut and Mt Pelion West, viewed from Mt Ossa.

I recently had the privilege of spending 25 uninterrupted days exploring the windswept peaks in this ‘Reserve’ at the darkest time of year, in mid-winter. With only ten hours of daylight each day and the wind chill bringing apparent temperatures down as low as minus 20 C on some days, my tolerance to the cold was well and truly tested.

Morning mist flowing over the pass between Mt Thetis and Mt Achilles. Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair NP

Morning mist flowing over the pass between Mt Thetis and Mt Achilles. Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair NP

My ambitions were to climb as many of the lesser visited peaks in the park as I was able to do, gaining spectacular views of the frozen winter landscape. By spending nearly a month in the unforgiving conditions, I came to appreciate not only the beauty, but also the bite of the Tasmanian alpine winter.

Mt Geryon and the Pool of Memories

Mt Geryon and the Pool of Memories

For more images from this trip, please have a look under the ‘Gallery‘ tab.