Mount Olympus

10-12 November 2012
Mid October was the original time planned for a walk to Mount Olympus, but the weather wasn’t nice enough so it was put off until November. Mike was keen on the walk and when the weather forecast indicated a couple of really nice days we headed off.
To make the walk easier we caught the boat to Echo Point then went north along the track for about 25 or so minutes and headed uphill just after three close together creek crossings. However after 20 minutes we arrived at a cliff that was not expected which meant I should have walked along the overland track further before turning off; so once again I didn’t select the ideal route. We had to traverse under the cliffs for 350 metres before an easy risk free way up was reached.
From this point on it was relatively straight forward, although Southern Bluffs of Olympus with Mikequite steep, but a short section of a scrubby bit of country was met before coming out to the bowl holding Lake Oenone. Grand views were now everywhere you looked and made the effort of getting there very much worthwhile. We passed plenty of Pencil Pines before arriving at Lake Oenone and then our campsite.
The second day was the one we counted on being fine and sunny and we weren’t disappointed. In fact it became quite warm with minimal breeze. Early morning was an enjoyable ramble about the bowl area with the many pines and a few tarns all with stunning views of the Olympus bluffs. Soon after breakfast we headed off and along the obvious ridge leading to the northern plateau. This is the nicer end of the mountain with numerous pools surrounded by cushion plants; and once on top it is almost flat walking. Getting to the southern plateau is a different story and lots of boulders have to be crossed.
Lake Oenone and northern bluffs of OlympusOur mistake was to attempt to take the most direct line, but this took us onto quite large boulders and made progress slow and very cautious. It was a matter of persevering or going back to the top of bluff and following that down to the aimed for ridge. We opted to continue and eventually reached a pad on the narrow ridge which then took us up lots more boulders to the southern plateau. This time we stuck to the crest and in fact noticed a few cairns here and there. After returning from the summit marker we opted for a steep descent through low scrub and managed to strike a reasonably route that avoided the thick Fagus colonies.
About 15 minutes after packing the tents next morning and starting back to Lake St Clair a light shower or two started , but it was not until reaching the shelter of the Echo Point hut that rain started. That is what I call good fortune, as we had arranged to be collected by the boat from there. The route taken from Oenone was about 150 metres more to the north of our upward one and seemed quite good most of the way. A cliff was met roughly in line with the one encountered on the up route and a way down was fairly easily found. However we came on another unexpectantly and quite low down the slope; in fact only 10 minutes from the lake shore. It wasn’t all that big but took a bit of searching before a passage down was spotted.

Northern bluffs of Olympus and Pencil Pines

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