The Overland Track - Day 4

We get up on day 4 relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for action as Pelion hut is the largest, most modern hut and we’ve all had a great night’s sleep. Today is the big day of mountain climbing with Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest point at 1617m, and Mount Pelion East at 1461m, both on the agenda.

After a short hike to the 4 way junction at Pelion gap, we dump our bags and waste no time in taking the boardwalk past Mount Doris, Ossa bound. With Doris behind us and Ossa in front we can now see how great a climb today’s first summit really is. We can see the path weave tightly up the side of this massive mountain leading to seemingly vertical rock climbing further into the clouds.

Once we reach the rock section, the wind picks up and we are quite exposed. Almost all additional clothing and wind/rain jackets are donned as it starts to sprinkle lightly and boy are we glad we brought them! Thankfully the rock scramble is no worse than Barn Bluff on day 2 but it’s the elements which make this climb taxing.

We summit Mount Ossa and toast our success over jerky and trail mix as the sky clears at just the right moment for us to enjoy the hard earned view in every direction.

Once we are back down from the top of Tasmania, we have a long overdue lunch break and head for today’s 2nd summit, the 1461m of Mount Pelion East.

As Ossa’s smaller brother, and 200 odd meters lower, we assume Pelion East will be somewhat a walk in the (national) park, but we turned out to be very wrong. About halfway up the short but very steep track, the light sprinkle we had on Mount Ossa returns and intensifies into actual rain, blown sideways by the wind. To top things off the mist rolls in and we can’t see the mountain in front of us or the track behind us.

Upon reaching the rock scramble we quickly realise that this is even more technical than Barn Bluff and we are extremely thankful for the sign posting as no part of this mountain looked climbable.

Nearing the top we can see the only way to proceed is a couple of small 3-4m climbs and it’s only my long arms and legs which make these comfortable enough to do without ropes, though I’ll admit the way back down felt a little hairy.

We reach the peak and perch on a rock to enjoy the view and take a few photos. To say this climb was precarious would be an understatement, so as the wind picks up we start climbing carefully back down. The descent back to the junction is extremely windy and we are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Nick, the wavey-armed promo man, in his natural habitat.

Back at the junction we take the 4km gradual descent into Kia Ora hut. As this is one of the smaller huts we decide this is a good night to camp instead of sleep in the hut, so we set up on the tent platforms and head into the hut to cook dinner just as the rain hits.

After an epic day of epic climbs and an epic spag bol for dinner, it’s time for a good night’s sleep, our first in tents for the trip! As I write today’s blog by head-torch with paper and pen, the rain hits harder, the wind blows a gale, and I sincerely hope this tent stays up for the night.