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Western Arthurs Day 4 : Lake Oberon – High Moor

Western Arthur Range Index

Lake Oberon


We left the Lake Oberon campsite at 09:00 the next morning, still completely oblivious to the hidden beauty that surrounded us. We made our way back up the junction towards the base of Mt. Orion (elevation : 1151m), but took the path on the right that snaked up and around the lake instead. The path continued along the ridge, then dropped down once again past a smaller tarn on the upper tier and to the flat saddle between Mt. Orion and Mt. Pegasus.

Bag Hauling We reached a near-vertical rock face that was several metres high soon after, an obstacle that would necessitate a pack-hauling rope for most parties. I climbed it with my pack still strapped to my back but found that the additional weight of the bag kept on trying to rip my hands off the rock and hurl me back down to the bottom. I managed to cling on to the water-logged, slippery cracks in the rocks by leaning in and over as best I could in an attempt to tip my bag's weight over towards my head instead. This is definitely not something that I would recommend others do.

As the clouds slowly passed in and over the shoulder, a magnificent vista began to open up in front of me, with the beautiful Lake Oberon shimmering below to the left and the sunlit plains beyond the shadows of the clouds to the right. We continued along, up and around boulders, in and through gaps and cracks, and down fissures and gullies. There was a point where we seemed to just reach a precarious and sudden drop-off that looked impossible to descend, but after looking around the area, we found a stack of boulders with two little holes leading upwards. We ended up passing our packs up and through the hole on the right before squeezing ourselves up and through.

There seemed to be several false leads after this point, the trail continuing on through the Scoparia shrubs (Richea scoparia) and mud. The path sidled Mt. Pegasus (elevation : 1063m) with the peak off on the left, before descending down a steep gully where the glorious views of the Lake Uranus and Lake Titania system appeared in-front of us. I stopped here for a while just soaking in the views, completely mesmerised, aware of the tiny ripples of water that skittered across the lake and watching in fascination as water would be lifted up and off the lake's surface whenever strong gusts of wind shot through. It seemed as if an intricate dance was being performed by the water to the sounds and music of the wind...

Panorama with Lake Oberon on the left

Panorama with Lake Oberon on the left


Lake Uranus


Lake Uranus and Lake Titania just behind

Lake Uranus and Lake Titania just behind

After passing the summit of Mt. Pegasus, we sidled under a huge buttress that towered over us on our left and continued on carefully past gaps in the rocks that revealed huge drops down below. From there, the trail made its way down South-Easterly and then back up to the curved saddle between Mt. Pegasus and Mt. Capricorn. The clouds seemed to rise vertically just behind the saddle, with the ridge giving them no option but to be pushed upwards. The speed of these rising clouds indicated ferocious winds coming from below and evoked thoughts of a huge roiling cauldron.

The saddle between Mt. Pegasus and Mt. Capricorn, before High Moor

The saddle between Mt. Pegasus and Mt. Capricorn at the centre of the image

The track seemed to disappear across and over the saddle but in actual fact, it ran along the saddle and up to the summit of Mt. Capricorn (elevation : 1037m). As I rounded the saddle, I was caught in very strong winds, so strong in fact that I was almost blow off my feet several times. I hurried across, eager to find some sort of shelter from the ferocious winds that were coming in from the other side. Unfortunately, there was no shelter to be found and the wind continued, completely unyielding. To make things worse, the clouds rolled back in and left everything blanketed in a sea of white. I had to resort to walking almost diagonally, fighting the wind constantly, and just focusing on my next step in-front of me and ensuring that the space in-front of me did not drop off into a void.

I prodded on, step after step, blinking away the wind-induced tears from my eyes.

Next : Western Arthurs Day 04 - Lake Oberon – High Moor (Part 2)

Western Arthur Range Index

Western Arthur Range Index

Onwards to High Moor


We descended down the mountain, at times along almost vertical descents, but most often than not the path zig-zagged its way down past slippery branches and exposed roots that jutted out of the sides of the mountain, aiding in our descent down. I took great care whenever I stepped on the roots however as I found some to be very slippery, basically an accident waiting to happen. The rain and the wind at this point was almost horizontal and were hitting me with such ferocity that they were akin to tiny projectiles. All concept of time seemed to vanish from me at this point as all I focused on was each and every single careful step in front of me, as well as trying hard to keep myself balanced and to not get blown over by the harsh wind.

The path gradually made its way around some boulders, before heading up to the moor between the two peaks of Mt. Columba (elevation : 1042m). There were wooden planks, that I could barely stay on because of the wind, that lead across the moor and down to the High Moor campsite.

Please disregard the distance and the GPS positioning below. The inclement weather made it very hard for the GPS to get an accurate fix.

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats

MC04a1

MC04b1

 The information from the Suunto Ambit for this trek can be found on my Movescount Page

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device, the entire route for the Western Arthur Range can be found below :

Check the route in

Next : Western Arthurs Day 05 - High Moor

Western Arthur Range Index
Western Arthur Range Index

Day 5 : Inclement Weather at High Moor


The inclement weather simply did not let up.

It rained and rained and rained. The wind blew with a feverish pitch, occasionally buckling the entire frame of the tent down upon me. We were left drowned in the constant sound of flapping tarps and the ferocious drumming of the rain.. completely unceasing and unyielding. All we could do was wait the weather out, reading and sleeping.

I woke up with a start after having had a strange and somewhat disturbing dream involving dogs, wild boars, and a child with a shotgun. As the images of the dream started to quickly fade away, I began to realise how eerily still and quiet everything was. The silence was all encompassing and the stillness was almost palpable, after 36 hours of just the thrashing of tents and the whistling of the wind.

I was snuggled up warmly in my cocoon and didn't dare move, thinking that the slightest sound would shatter the delicate stillness that surrounded me. I looked around, still trying to get my bearings, and when I turned on my headlamp, I saw that the tent netting was completely saturated with thousands of miniature dew droplets that gleamed back at me. I slowly peaked my head out and realised that it was not as cold as I had thought that it would be.

I decided to get out of the tent and to have a look, hoping for a brilliant starlit sky but as I crawled out the only thing my headlamp illuminated were dew droplets that were suspended in front of me, hovering weightlessly in the air, that clung to my face as I moved forward. I couldn't see much further than my feet as everything was cloaked in a complete whiteout. Apt for the all-encompassing stillness, I thought to myself.

I crawled back into the tent as quietly as I could, not daring to make a sound, cringing at each and every rustle of my sleeping bag, the silence magnifying each sound I made a thousand times. As I settled down, the warmth of the bag slowly began to seep in and I fell asleep once again to the almost inaudible bubble of the brook that slowly trickled underneath the platform below me.

Next : Western Arthurs Day 06 - High Moor – Haven Lake

Western Arthur Range Index
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