Walls of Jerusalem to the Overland Track – Windemere Hut to Cradle Mountain Lodge – – Tasmania

Up and away early was the plan today as we had quite a distance to cover before reaching our final goal – Cradle Mountain Lodge. This decision was made for a couple of reasons. The first was that the distance to Waterfall Valley Hut is relatively short and we would have had most of the afternoon on our hands, in an area we had visited several times before. Secondly, the lure of a soft bed , a quiet drink and some nice hot food cooked by someone else was starting to overwhelm some of our party…….(me included)
Below is the crew, in very good condition for Day 7
Lake Windemere in the foreground looking towards Barn Bluff
We found the track very slippery as we headed towards Waterfall Valley turnoff. There was a lot of treacherous ice on the shady side of each ridge we had to climb. The ice was so solid on open areas of rock that it would not break if attacked by our walking poles. This made Sue, Clare and I quite slow but, as you can see from the pictures, the vistas were well worth the occasional fall or slippery bit.

Not far from Windemere Hut, starting off for the day


Clare and Sue, enjoying a snack and break from the ice. Note the track on right, looks ok but VERY icy in the shade

Looking south Nice stitched pic by Colin, Barn Bluff to right – these views make the Overland Track well worth all the effort getting there.

Following lunch at the Waterfall Valley Hut turnoff we again had a lot of sections of ice and snow as we climbed up to the Cradle Plateau. The profile from our GPS (below) shows the elevation and distance on this day. Waterfall Valley is at the 7km point and it clearly shows the 200 metre plus “grunt” to the Cradle Plateau, as well as the steep “down” to the Ronny Creek car park.

The side track to Cradle Mountain from the Overland Track

Anyone who regularly reads this Blog will note that we posted regarding Kasper Sorensen who has been found, dead, on Cradle Mountain. Thinking back to the day we were at the base of Cradle on this walk, we met up with two “locals”at Kitchen Hut who had walked about half way up Cradle Mountain and decided to turn back because of the danger due to ice and snow on the track. They commented that they had seen a backpack at about the point they decided to turn back.

We all discussed what action to take about this discovery and then a lone day hiker appeared, with a pack on. I think we all assumed the pack was his and continued our conversation about other topics. In retrospect, his was a day pack and Kasper Sorensen’s was reported to be more a hiking pack. As noted above, he would have been on the mountain, for about 3 days.

We were lucky with the weather for the final stage of our journey from Kitchen Hut. The Overland Track in this area, while spectacular, is also very exposed. The track is a variety of new treated pine “duck boarding” , the old style split timber and wire style and formed track. Most of the sections here were slippery because of the ice.The walk out to the carpark was uneventful other than concern regarding the amount of available light. Clare sprinted ahead and, to our relief, had been offered a ride for all of us from Ronny Creek back to Cradle Mountain Lodge. We ended up hitching and met Simmo and the Activity person from the Lodge on the road, coming out to “rescue” us. This effort was most appreciated, as when we had split up that morning, we had made this contingency plan to save us walking the7km to the Lodge. Luckily there were many daytrippers at Dove Lake when we looked down to the car park from Marion’s Lookout and we were confident of nabbing a ride.

We reached Cradle Mountain Lodge at around 6pm and spend a delightful two nights relaxing in their excellent facilities and enjoying a few gentle strolls in the immediate vicinity. Many thanks to Simmo, Colin, Clare and Sue for another great trip.

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