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Saturday, April 06, 2013

     The Western Arthur's Range in Southwest Tasmania is one of the most dramatic mountain chains not only in the island state but in whole Australia. It offers an unforgettable climb over rugged skyline of exciting rocky quartzite crags and countless dark glacier lakes. It'll lead you through some of the most spectacular glaciated scenery you'll ever see. The whole range contains 22 major peaks and 30 lakes in almost continuous series of steep ascents and descents on sheer cliffs and in precipitous gullies. The best time to visit Western Arthurs are the months from late spring to early autumn (November-March). However violent storms and heavy snowfall is common even during summer months and you should be prepared for very cold and wet weather any time of the year. Western Arthur's Range is known for attracting the worst weather in the Southwest and even in summer it either rains or snows every second day, or the range is shrouded in a thick cloud with visibility down to zero. In average, one in four days is clear and offers spectacular views of Southwest Tasmania in all directions.

     Western Arthur's Range Traverse is a circuit route that starts and finishes at Scott's Peak Dam  (4 hours drive from Hobart) near the southern end of Lake Pedder deep in the heart of Southwest National park. Depending on the weather conditions and your experience level you have a few options when attempting the Western Arthur's Range from the western end (Moraine A):
  1. Scott's Peak Dam to Lake Cygnus: 3 days return walk from Scott's Peak.
  2. Scott's Peak Dam to Lake Oberon: 4-5 days return walk from Scott's Peak.
  3. Westerns Arthur's Range Traverse via Moraine A-K: the most popular circuit route from Scott's Peak which descends the range via moraine K. It takes 7-9 days.
  4. The full traverse: The traverse of the entire Western Arthur's Range. It takes 10-11 days including the access to and from the range.
     It is also possible to access the range from the eastern end (from Cracroft Crossing on the Huon and Arthur Plains Track, or from the Pass Creek) as well as from the southern ridges, this should be however only attempted by the most experiences parties.

     If attempting to cross the entire range, you'll be expected to wade through more than 30km of knee deep muddy plains, to tackle almost 4000 metres of climbs and descents, and even to use a rope to lift or lower your packs in the steepest sections, to battle cruel southern winds, persistent mist and some of the most unwelcoming cold and wet weather, and punishing landscape to say the least. Whatever experience of Western Arthur's is waiting for you out there, it will never be forgotten.


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