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MOUNT ELIZA - eyes on the prize (29 January 2008)

contributed by iandsmith
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Mount Eliza - Lake Judd This view is available after you summit Mount Eliza (allow around 2 1/2 hours) and is looking down on Lake Judd.

After arriving and viewing Lake Pedder I was sure nothing would top the experience though I'd heard the Mt. Anne walk was a bit special. I also remembered it was five hours. I could handle that.

The weather, for a change, was quite good though there was still a haze around when I packed my bag and set out.

Mount Eliza This is a shot of the trail to Mount Eliza which is just out of vision on the right.  Mount Anne is the highest peak in this picture.

It runs out that Mount Anne is the highest in these parts but, when I started, I had no idea which one it was, I simply followed the trail.

For five minutes it was easy then it got steep, as in up lots of stairs, not all formed properly. After 20 minutes I reached the top of a small hill. I was stuffed and wondered whether I should continue but knew I wanted to.

The track then became a boardwalk for 10 minutes before it started to climb again; this time on an unmade but worn trail following a spur running off the mountains. It was hell climbing up without respite for the next nearly hour and a half until, amazingly, I reached a hut I didn't know was there at the base of the final assault.

People had camped here overnight because the weather had been crap the day before and it was here I learned that Mt. Anne was, in fact, a five hour ONE WAY climb. What was before me was Mount Eliza.

By this time my body was lathered in sweat from my exertions yet my hands were almost numb from the cold. The guy eyed me up and down as I only had a T-shirt on and I think he had some doubt about my footwear.

"You'll need something for the cold up there", he offered. I explained that I had a windcheater in my backpack but I don't think he was convinced.

I waited for about five minutes before deciding to continue. Ahead it was a serious scramble, a lot of the time using hands and feet, over a scree of large rocks. Eventually I opted for the extra, having gotten this far.

For half an hour I grabbed and stumbled my way up the slope, during which there was a not-too-reassuring memorial to someone who had died there after a fall.

When I reached the top I admired the splendid view from above, especially back over Lake Pedder. Unfortunately, it was still hazy and not good for photography.

Looking the other way I saw a small rise in the saddle between Mount Eliza and Mount Anne. I thought I would walk to the top of that at least before returning since it was the first bit of easy trail I'd seen for 2 hours.

The walk over was through gorgeous alpine vegetation with an abundance of colours. Here and there the occasional small tarn added to spectacle.

At the top I decided that if I went a short way over I might get some shots looking in the opposite direction.

I neared the edge and, in about 6 paces, my world changed. With each of the last six steps my lower jaw fell progressively further down. The view, as you may have surmised, was stunning. The epic sheer cliff dropped before me into Lake Judd, one of the truly great unsung sights in Australia. Beyond there was another similar mountain called Lake Sarah-Jane. It too had a tarn and, when I later checked, there were no photos of it on the internet. Here, so close to a road, are some of the gems of Tasmania yet they're rarely visited by photographers it seems, unlike Cradle Mountain, The Walls of Jerusalem and Lake Oberon.

I've pencilled it in for a future excursion.

The pictures I took, of course, only give you a part of what it is like to really be there but I hope you enjoy them anyway.

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