I’m pretty obsessed with mountains – I read books about expeditions, I’ve watched countless documentaries about high altitude climbing and I love to take photos of them. I feel drawn to them in some weird way.
Tasmania was my home for around 4 months during the latter part of my Australian adventure. Pretty much from the moment I heard about Cradle Mountain, I wanted to climb it. It became my number one thing to do before I left and I’m so glad I made it happen.
Unfortunately, the mountain was still covered in ice and snow from an unseasonably late winter; considering I didn’t have an ice axe, rope and crampons (or a clue how to use them) I was going to have to wait for the warmth of the coming summer to melt it all away.
My mate Lewis (equally obsessed with ticking this one off) and I were working a fair bit and struggled to find the time to squeeze it in. Then one day in January we were told we had the following day off – the stars had aligned, so off we went!
Cradle is a large dolomite mountain that rises from the glacially formed and incredibly beautiful Dove Lake. It stands at 5,069ft tall; pretty high in comparison to anything I’ve scaled in the UK.
Upon doing a little research the climb was advised for only “Experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid.” – I struggle to put a plaster on straight so this absolutely filled me with confidence as you can imagine.
Here are my photos from the Cradle Mountain hike.First stop was the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre to get our permit; this is also where the bus departs that takes you to the start of the trail. Our first glimpse of the summit in the distance, a long way to go. The driver informed us of a woman that was killed by a tiger snake here some years ago, a doctor no less….. cheers for that mate.
No trip here is complete without stopping at the infamous boat shed on Dove Lake. Used in pretty much all advertising campaigns for Tasmanian tourism.
There are various circuits to chose from to get to the summit. We opted for a steeper more direct route that followed Dove Lake, through the Ballroom Forest and past Lake Wilks. It was estimated to take about 7 hours, challenge accepted.
No better place to stop for a spot of lunch with a mate.
The magnificent Dove Lake.
The last signs of vegetation before the start of the ascent.
It takes a few hours to get to the base of Cradle Mountain. Once you’re at the start of the main ascent it’s pretty much scrambling and climbing all the way to the top, often accompanied with 1000ft clean drops. Totally sobering and guaranteed to make you pay attention.
The thing with this peak is you can’t see the summit on the last leg, you think you’re almost there and climb over another section to see yet more to go.
This part was a total psychological hurdle. Tired, slightly sunburnt and legs aching – I thought I’d made it. Then this valley appears from nowhere as if to say “F You, you’re not getting it that easy”. You have to go down before going back up again, killer.
If you look at the picture you can see small specks of colour – they’re people.
If you look closely just off centre, you can make out a splash of silver – This is a foil blanket wrapped around some poor woman. She’d taken a nasty fall from climbing the section above her; She had apparently broken some ribs. Sadly, If you hurt yourself up there, there is no walking back down. It’s just too dangerous…. plus you’re still hours from the visitors centre, even on a good day. Helicopter ride anyone?
After about 4 hours of gruelling work, we finally made it to the summit!
The view was totally worth the struggle – The prize at the top as I like to call it. We had incredible 360-degree views and spent about an hour up there just taking it all in, unreal. That strangely shaped peak in the distance is Barn Bluff.
I needed to document the summit as well as the Grizzly Adams beard. Beautiful though (the view not the beard).
The descent seemed even more difficult in my opinion. It’s always harder on your legs as they’re feeling tired from the way up… Plus, it’s not as exciting as getting a lift in a helicopter from Mountain Rescue like silver blanket injured rib lady.
We made sure to sign out to let the rangers know we’d made it back.
From start to finish it took us 8 hours. A bit longer than expected, but we did take our time in parts – It’s just so incredibly breathtaking, you’d be a fool to rush it.
It was a great day out with a great friend and a memory I’ll cherish forever.
Tasmania – You will always have a special place in my heart!
Pictures were taken with a Nikon D7200 and an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.