[On the ascent above Eliza Hut]
Having been woken, I find I’m a little anxious about the unknowns of the day ahead. But our recce up Mt Eliza in the afternoon has been valuable on a couple of levels. First we’ve been able to introduce Lina to the new-to-her concept of boulder scrambling, and without having to carry a large pack. She is mildly disturbed by the experience, but lives to tell the tale. And at least she knows what to expect first thing tomorrow.
[Lina on top of Mt Eliza]
The wind is still fresh, though nothing like the overnight blasts. It’s pleasantly cool: ideal walking weather. We come across a party we’d met the day before. They’re on their way down Eliza, ahead of schedule, after a terrible night at Shelf Camp. Two of their three tents have had poles snapped in the overnight wind. They’re cold, wet and not keen to stay and chat. We try to resist a dose of schadenfreude, knowing full well we had planned to camp in the same spot last night.
[Looking over Lake Judd towards Schnells Ridge]
I recall taking my brother-in-law Mike up this mountain one cold and windy day back in the 1980s. In basic day-walk gear we boulder-hopped and scrambled our way up the intimidating peak. Mike wore a plastic poncho in lieu of a rain jacket. In the wind it acted like a crazy spinnaker, blowing him on a dangerously erratic course across the boulders.
[Traversing boulders beneath Mt Anne]
We’re soon scrambling past the normal route to the summit. We’ve been told there’s a “back door” to the summit, further around. Some of our group are keen to try this out, though given the time we figure that might be tomorrow’s challenge.
[Tim straps my ankle: photo by Mick Adams]
Tim is first on the scene, and he asks all the right questions. I take off my boot, and find I can wiggle my toes and move my foot without too much pain. Not broken, then … but can I walk? Tim binds the ankle firmly. I swig some water, eat some scroggin, then put the swollen foot back inside my boot. I try out a step or two, and it seems workable if painful.
[Hobbling along N-E Ridge: photo by Paola]
After some hours of slow and literally painstaking traversing, we find what might be a way down to Pandani Shelf where we plan to camp. Our descent route is steep and undignified, but where legs don’t work well I find a bottom does fine. Nothing in this part of Tasmania is easy or straightforward, but we finally reach the shelf as the last of the sun is setting over the far mountains.
[The shadow of Mt Anne creeps towards Lake Timk, with Lots Wife and Mt Lot]