2

Western Arthurs Day 9 : Promontory Lake - West Portal - Lake Rosanne

Western Arthur Range Index

A Change of Plans


I awoke with a start and realised very quickly that the drumming of the rain had stopped and that a heavy silence had blanketed us. It was still dark outside as it was well before dawn, but since the storm had passed, I decided to crawl out of my sleeping bag to stretch my legs and to get some much needed fresh air. As I emerged from my tent, I was greeted by a sky that was blazing with stars. The storm had moved away and its cloud-cover could still be seen, low on the distant horizon, intermittently lit from within by flashes of lightning.

Star-filled Sky

It was now day 9 out of 11 and both of our contingency days had been spent stuck in our tents weathering out storms. The original plan had us walking from Promontory Lake to Lake Rosanne, then onward from Lake Rosanne to Scott’s Peak Dam over the next three days, camping at Cracroft Crossing and Junction Creek. But since the weather had cleared, Damon and I decided that we would compress that last three-day leg and push all the way through from Lake Rosanne in just two days, instead of being forced to pull out of the range via Kappa Morraine due to a lack of time.

Looking back at Promontory Lake behind us

Looking back at Promontory Lake behind us with Carina Peak on the left of the image


Back on the Trail


We climbed up from the South-East corner of Promontory Lake, where the campsite lay, heading South-Easterly up the slopes in-between The Sculptor (elevation : 1004m) and Carina Peak (elevation : 1008m), then around the side of the Sculptor and on to the shoulder that lay just before The Pheonix. One can also veer East at the Sculptor instead and continue along the ridge for a kilometre or so to reach the peak of Mt. Canopus. The area was pretty overgrown, occasionally to the point where bush-bashing was required. There was no trail to follow and we had to walk from cairn to cairn visually, and oftentimes from clearing to clearing when no cairns could be seen. I made it a point to orientate the compass from feature to feature to ensure that we were indeed making our way South-East to the shoulder. From there we began the climb Southward to the peak of the Pheonix (elevation : 1091m) with a faint remnant of a trail appearing and disappearing every now and again.

The cantilever rock of the Pheonix

The cantilever rock of the Pheonix

Next : Western Arthurs Day 09 - Promontory Lake – Lake Rosanne (Part 2)

Western Arthur Range Index

Western Arthur Range Index

The Pheonix


It took us an hour and a half to reach the peak of the Pheonix from the Promontory Lake campsite, following the trickle of a small stream up to the peak. We stopped there for a moment admiring the views and spotted the prominent, jagged peak of Federation Peak floating over on the South-Eastern horizon.

From the summit, we descended down to the saddle in-between the Pheonix and Centraurus ridge, before heading East to climb up and onto the almost 3 kilometre-long ridge itself. When we got up onto the ridge, we caught sight of a large, grey, barren patch along the spine of one of the off-shoot ridges that ran Southwards. I figured then that such destruction could only be the result of the invasive pathogen, dieback disease (Phytophthora cinnamomi), but in hindsight realise that it could also have been caused by a recent fire.

The destruction left by dieback disease

The destruction left by dieback disease

The trail sidled the North side of the ridge before descending steeply. It then veered right, Southwards, through some boulders before continuing Eastwards once again. We began to approach a tower and I looked up in dread thinking that the trail would take us up and through the precarious-looking spines but fortunately it took us around the South side of the tower instead, completely skipping the rocky sections up above. We sidled the sphagnum (Sphagnum sp.) moss-covered rocks and plunged into the underbrush with long drops just to the side.


West Portal


The trail continued Eastwards with a long, gradual climb up the open ridge, with the occasional climb up and around, in and out, and down all manner of crags, boulders, and pinnacles. We were used to a constant change by then, the range giving us different problems and obstacles, never letting us get complacent or bored. This ridge however seemed almost endless. We eventually reached the junction on the West side of West Portal (elevation : 1181m) and swung around to the left to follow it Northwards on to the Crags of Andromeda.

The spires of West Portal

The spires of West Portal

The track was fairly easy to follow here despite the ubiquitous rock outcrops but it did fade away on occasion. Whenever it did however, there always seemed to be a cairn in the distance that showed us the way. The track went right up in-between two large dark grey buttresses with scattered boulders that we had to clamber over to get through, before skimming up along the Eastern side of the Western buttress. It then descended sharply off the Western side of the Crags of Andromeda and zig-zagged steeply down through the middle of the next buttress.

The Crags of Andromeda

The Crags of Andromeda

Next : Western Arthurs Day 09 - Promontory Lake – Lake Rosanne (Part 3)

Western Arthur Range Index

Western Arthur Range Index

Lake Rosanne


Just before reaching Lucifer Ridge, the track veered off to the right to head Eastwards along and down the lower South side of the ridge instead, through vegetation and scree. We passed a couple of trail markers here before carrying on Eastwards to traverse the lower South sides of the ridge. The trail took us through some heavy scrub that was fairly overgrown, forcing us to push our way through for a while, with parts that reminded me of rainforest hikes in Malaysia. Just when we were starting to feel as if we had had enough, the trail opened up into (much appreciated) fields of button grass (Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus).

Lake Rosanne

Lake Rosanne

Lake Rosanne lay just below us on the left but we had to walk on past the lake before the trail met the junction that (when turning left) lead along the moraine that runs along the East side of the lake. If one were to carry on walking Eastwards past the junction along Lucifer Ridge, one would link up to Pass Creek and onwards to the Eastern Arthurs. The track then branched off to the left further along the moraine and descended down to the Southern shore of the lake and the campsite below.

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats

mc09a

mc09b

 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

Western Arthurs Day 10 - Lake Rosanne – Wullyawa Creek

Western Arthur Range Index
Click to share thisClick to share this