Pinestone Valley 2017
15 - 18 October 2017
It now takes a bit longer to get to Pinestone Valley than once and I feel sure it that is somewhat more tiring as well. Nevertheless, the destination was reached.
The track up from arm River now winds its way up via a series of zig zags, making for a much less steep ascent. The track into the valley under Mount Pillinger was used and we climbed the mountain on the way through to a camp at Wurragarra Creek. It was calm and sunny and there was an added privilege to see an eagle at close range. The route up was different from my memory as it goes up to a plateau on the eastern side and I had walked across it from Lake McCoy in 2013 and wondered why we came upon a pad and a sawn log; not realising it was the actual Pillinger track.
In fine weather we left Wurragarra soon after 8AM and made it down to Pelion hut, disturbing two Tiger Snakes on the way; our third for trip so far. However, we were all found it an effort getting to Pelion Gap and were pleased to get there and stop for lunch. Mount Ossa had a lot of snow, but Pelion East west face that was almost free of any. Neville was sufficiently recovered to tackle Pelion, whilst Greg and I continued to Pinestone Valley. What was an animal pad a mere 6 years ago was not existent, but the scrub was easily avoided and then the open valley followed up to the head.
|Bluff at southern end of Mount Ossa
All the snowmelt manifested in widespread water over what is usually easily crossed grass and herbs, but now required wading through. It meant wandering about the area wasn’t quite so easy nor as pleasant as before. I managed to go down wet holes twice when walking about but nevertheless it was nice ambling past the tarns and pines and seeing the gushing waterfalls.
A change of plan next morning had us taking tents up to the Doris Ossa saddle with aim of camping the night on Doris plateau. Getting up through the snow to the saddle was hard work through the soft snow. I decided a saunter to Mount Doris was preferable to the exertion of the climb over snow to Mount Ossa, but Greg and Neville continued. I was impressed that they made it to the top and so was tour group guide the next day who seemed quite astounded that they made it. Very good sunset and sunrise views were enjoyed on the plateau. It was so calm and pleasant there that another snake wriggled past at arm’s length whilst I was sitting enjoying cup of tea at the campsite.
For me it had been a delightful day just being surrounded by the stunning scenery in such nice conditions. Once I probably would have regrated not attempting the peak with the others, but I didn’t feel the slightest regret and, after watching them until they disappeared from sight, just rambled about enjoying the peaceful natural surroundings whilst it was sunny and calm.
|Du Cane Range
|Mount Pelion East
|Mount Pelion West
|Bluff on Ossa
Needless to say, it was a lot easier for us going down from Pelion Gap and the shade of the forest saved us from the heating day as we ascended for lunch at Wurragarra Creek. The conventional way out past lake Price was taken and it was certainly easier on the leg muscles going down the zig zag than on the now closed track.
The photo album is at this link or click the image below.
Pinestone Valley 2017