Western Arthurs Day 9 : Promontory Lake - West Portal - Lake Rosanne
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.
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 Centaurus 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 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.
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).