Tasmania - Traverse of the King William Range, Spires and Prince of Wales Range - Jan - Feb 1977

All images © David Noble. No image can be used for any purpose without permission.

Section 4 - Prince of Wales Range - Southern Section

We were now on our 15th day. We had started from the Lyell Highway and traversed the King William Range and then traversed the Spires. After that we traversed the northern peaks of the Prince of Wales Range and were now on our way to Mt Humbolt.

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Above - In the late afternoon - we reached our airdrop - in a saddle not far before Mt Humbolt. We had been very lucky. The bushfire we had seen earlier that week - had indeed burnt very close to our airdop. The burnt area is in the foreground - the closest of the three bags is only 2 metres from the fire. Place your cursor inside the image to see the location of the 3 airdrop bags

Above - One of the airdrop bags. Food and gas cylinders were tightly packed in strong plastic fertilliser bags. These were in turn packed in hessian sacks and padded with balls of newspaper. The drops themselves had been placed by Jim England - who was very experienced at flying over the south west. These bags had been thrown out of the plane when it was about 20m above the saddle. After extracting the food and fuel - we built a large fire to burn all the packaging.

Above - Ian looking west at dusk

Above - Looking down to our campsite from the next peak south. Our two tents are visible just before the black, burnt section. In the far distance it is possible to see the spire of Diamond Peak.

Above - Ian looking ahead to Mt Humbolt - this section involved the most challenging route finding of the trip.

Above - Looking north along the Prince of Wales Range from the summit of Mt Humbolt.

Soon after - we were surprised to meet anothre party of walkers - from the ACT. They had come by boat along part of the Gordon impoundment and then crossed the Denison and climbed onto the range nearby. They then intended to traverse the range north and exit via the Spires and Denison Range.

Above - Looking to Southern Bluff

Above - Pinnacles

Above - Bluffs

Above - From Southern Bluff - Looking to Mt Humbolt

Above - We added an entry to a page found in spirit bottle on Southern Bluff.

Above - Ian descending off Southern Bluff. This was the most difficult scrambling and routefinding of the trip.

The southern 5 miles of the range had been called "Yop Yop" by Reg Williams after  hearing Olegas Truchanus continually uttering these Lithuanian swear words whilst in the scrub.

Above - Our first campsite - in buttongrass - not far below Southern Bluff - and just before the serious scrub started

Above - Dusk

Above - Morning mist - in the Denison Valley. Beyond are the peaks of the Spires.

Above - Looking to the South - towards the Arthur and Frankland Ranges

Above - One of our campsites on the Yop Yop section. We camped twice in the scrub.

We were lucky to be able to camp in short sections of ridgetop horizontal rainforest. Most of the way was a continual struggle in thick baura and tea  tree. Some of the worst bits, the baura was entwined around dead logs and cutting grass. We had a rigid system of alternate leads - at first swapping leads every 30 minutes and later every 15 minutes - and having a 15 minute rest after we each had a lead. This way - we could at least make some forward progress. We wore long pants, long sleeve shirts, gaiters and leather gloves or gauntlets.

As well as the scrub - we had problems with heat and lack of water. We tried squeezing moss - but most was dry. Later we did find some moss that contained liquid - but it was horid. We could not filter it through cloth or toilet paper (it could not be squeezed through!) - so we drank it as it was - a dark black, thick liquid. At one stage Peter resorted to squeezing the abdomen of the March Flies - a drop of goo would come out - and it tasted sweet - but did not really quench the thirst. Each evening - we managed to find some small soaks off the side of the range. Lack of water caused us to abandon our final objective - Mt Yop Yop (the end of the 5 mile section - now called Mt Olegas) - about 1.5 miles short - and head off the range to the Denison River.

Above - Dave wearing parka and ovrepants - ready for the descent through horizontal scrub to the Denison River.

Above - Peter and Ian at the Denison River

Above - Peter looking back at Yop Yop from the Hamilton Range. This was on our 20th day.

We then dropped down to the Gordon Dam and walked to Strathgordon.

Above - Dave at the Gordon Dam

Above - The gorge below the dam

Ian and myself accompanied by Tom Williams and Bob Sault returned to the Prince of Wales Range in January 1981 - and traversed all the range.

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