I guess this trip was almost doomed from the start! First of all, we had tacked it on the end of the Rafting the Franklin trip and when that didn’t go ahead we organised other things to do until Mt Anne, then our run of good weather (predictably) changed and I struggled with whether to can the trip or not.
We arrived in Hobart after our Freycinet walk and met up with Trish M and Sharyn C at the Astor Hotel (our preferred accommodation in Hobart, we all just love Tildy). We went out shopping and at each of the outdoors shops I asked what the “locals” thought the weather was going to do. A couple of people I spoke with said “don’t go if the weather’s iffy”. Then I met up with some outdoor guides at the Astor and they said the same thing, if the weather’s iffy, just don’t go. I was really reluctant to cancel, after all Trish and Sharyn had travelled all the way from Sydney, so, we Reassessed The Situation as a group and decided that we’d go out to Mt Anne NP, see what the weather was like, and at each “turn around” point, reassess. Wendy decided that she’d had enough walking for a while so opted out of Mt Anne and left us in a rental car with the intention of researching her family roots up north.
So, next day the rest of us were in the cars and off. We did a car shuffle in case we were able to complete the full circuit and set out. The track is well maintained and before long we were up in the hills, with great views. It was up hill all the way, but we weren’t in a hurry so took our time.
Around lunch time we were at Vera Hut. We had decided to take a break here and stay the night, it’s a small hut and we were the only people there. The wind picked up considerably overnight but nothing to be overly concerned about. We all started up next morning and straight away we had a change in plans, both Len and Sharyn were struggling with the rock scrambling and both, almost at the same point decided that they would turn around and walk out. That left just Theo, Trish and me.
Theo and Trish said that they wanted to continue on. I decided that with the weather as unpredictable as it was (some people had turned around and retreated from the mountain that morning), that I wasn’t going to risk scrambling over granite with any snow or ice on it. I explained my rationale to Theo and Trish and they determined to at least go on to Mt Anne and if the weather was iffy, they’d turn back. I said that I’d spend the night at Vera Hut with Sharyn and Len waiting 24 hours for them there, in case they turned back. If they didn’t show up in 24 hours, I’d go back to the car and meet them at the other end. So, the party split up I continued up to the top of Mt Vera with Theo and Trish to see them on their way, I at least wanted to see the tarns at the top which were supposedly spectacular and I also wanted to check out campsites for the future.
So, up at the top of Mt Vera, I bid them goodbye and set off back down to Vera Hut where Sharyn and Len were waiting for me. We had a nice time relaxing in the hut. The temperatures started dropping and the wind picked up some more. By now I was concerned that Theo and Trish would carry on regardless of what the weather looked like and, as leader, that started to stress me out. Quite a few other people who had been up on the Mountain were now starting to come down in anticipation of bad weather (snow) coming.
I was so relieved when I saw Trish and Theo walk in the door around about 5pm, Theo had climbed to the top of Mt Anne, Trish had stayed down the bottom, and then they agreed that with the wind and dropping temps that they wouldn’t risk continuing on.
It was a good decision on their part, on the walk out next morning we had rain and drizzle and I expect there would have been snow up top.
We drove back to the B&B that we’d been staying at and booked in, meeting up with Wendy who by this time had come down from the north. On the following day we drove over to Mt Field National Park and the whole park above 1,000m or so was covered in snow, so, there’s no doubt that there would have been snow on the rest of the Mt Anne circuit.
So, now I’m going to have to go back and attempt to do it again. Whilst I was prepared for the full trip, it’s not to be undertaken lightly, and I think next time I’ll make sure that I take some people with me who are good on heights, picking the weather, and have good risk assessment skills. It’s too hard making all the decisions by yourself.