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This page is the start of a trip report and track notes for the Frankland Range traverse in Tasmania, west of Lake Pedder.
This section is intended to contain useful information for others trying the same walk. Hopefully Adele will take some photos of the relevant bits of maps, and I can put up some grid references.
Serpentine Dam to Mt Sprent
Track marked on map isn't quite in the right place; it goes directly uphill from Serpentine Dam. Very easy to Mt Sprent. This was a very short 2-3 hour day, which we did after travelling from Hobart.
Mt Sprent to Islet Lake
Follow the ridge of the Wilmot range for the day. This is mostly easy going (compared to the rest of the walk -- so get used to it! :-), generally avoiding knobs on the right. The only real trick is getting off Mt Sprent onto the Wilmot range; do this as high as possible -- from near the summit of Mt Sprent you can see the correct saddle to take, so take note early. We went a little too low, so had extra scrub bashing.
The most important thing here is to sidle around the left side of Koruna Peak, not ascend it. As soon as the climb up Koruna starts getting steep, stop ascending and look around on the left. We found a trail which at first descends steeply, then starts to peter out. We lost the trail for about 100 very scrubby metres, but then regained a track as we crossed a ridge, which took us down to the meadow below Islet Lake. From here it's another 5 easy minutes uphill to Islet Lake, where there is an excellent campsite in the trees at the far side. You don't want to go over Koruna peak! We heard about someone who spent a whole day up there, trying to get down!
Islet Lake to Coronation Peak
We followed the second high valley downstream to a point where it narrows and begins to drop, then went sharply uphill on the right. We didn't find too much track around here, but the going wasn't too bad.
Madonna ridge is somewhat difficult, especially towards the end; there are patches of trail, and a few cairns, in the difficult bits.
There's good water on the north side of the saddle between the crest and Coronation Peak. We found no water on the southern side, which has the better campsites.
Coronation Peak to the Cupola
Don't remember too much from this day; mostly foggy. It's not too hard, and there are good bits of trail on the tricky bits. The campsite is very nice, and easy to see from the ridge, even in poor weather.
Cupola to Frankland Saddle
Frankland Saddle to saddle past Secheron
This is the difficult day! Up Frankland is easy, although there are a few false summits, and it takes a while to get there. As you reach the real summit, pay attention on the right, as you need to backtrack slightly from the summit to find the right way down. There's a prominent cleft on the right side, which appears to drop very steeply after the first 10m (and which corresponds to the gully visible on the 1:25 000 map, on the east side). This is not the way down! The way down is slightly further east, on the north side of this cleft, only about 25m away. It is marked at the top by a small cairn; we didn't see it until we'd already decided on our descent route. At the descent gully, there's a fin on rock extending out to the right; we lowered our packs off of this, and then climbed down the scrubby groove in the corner. At the bottom of the first corner, you can carry packs again for another 20m, before needing to lower them again. There's an obvious pad through some trees, which ends in a sharp drop, with thick scoparia at the bottom. You can lower packs down here. Don't climb down this though! Instead go further left, and down into (!!) the cleft in the rock. With a few twists and turns, this pops back out lower down on the cliff, near the scoparia, and there's one tricky move to the ledge. From this final ledge, you're about 15m up from ground level. Lower packs again (awkward; there's no good anchor or place to brace yourself), and perhaps use a rope to step around left into the steep corner. Congratulations -- you've done the worst parts of Frankland, and you're halfway through the day! :-)
Again, up Secheron is easy, although very scrubby and steep in places, and the top is complicated. Once you on the summit, you can descend easily enough for a while, trending left, until you reach the top of the big cliffs. There's a scree gully, marked with a cairn, that leads down. This has some exposed sections, and we found a better alternative; go about 40m further left, and find a gully that goes down then around right. Through some steep scrub, then down a 3m drop rejoins the 'main' descent. From here, it's still a long way down, following short ledges and climbing down steps. At first you go left a few times, and then eventually trend right, back into the main gully, with a final 30m section in the corner. We lowered packs several times here, but didn't need the rope for the downclimbing. After you've reached the bottom of the gully, it's still steep and scrubby, but not too bad.
Another hour of walking brings you to the saddle past Secheron. We didn't find any water here! Be warned!
Saddle past Secheron to Pebbly Creek
The description in Chapman says something like 'Then easily over Terminal Peak to the lake', but don't be fooled! Mt Lloyd-Jones is difficult and time consuming! The obvious cliffs marked on the map are exactly that, and apparently undescendable; at least we couldn't see the way. After you pass below the first, not so big set of cliffs, you find yourself on a narrowish scrubby ledge (10m?) leading towards the lower set of cliffs (the tops of which are still above you). Don't bother going up to the top of these; look for a gully down on the left instead. We followed one then descended about 60m, ending at a rocky knob. This was difficult with packs (we chucked them off, hoping the scrub would stop them below :-). From the knob descend to the right, eventually regaining the ridge. This descent has some terrible scrub, but I'm not sure what the alternative is. There's certainly no way to pass the cliffs on the right (southern) end. After Mt Lloyd-Jones, it is in fact easy, as is the descent off Terminal Peak. Pick your descent ridge carefully; head right off the summit, then take the second ridge on the left side; we took the first one, and had to do some unnecessary scrub to regain the ridge that goes all the way to the lake. We found a nice beach right where we met the lake, and stopped there. If you continue, you won't find a decent campsite until at least after Pebbly Creek, which is extremely boggy.
Pebbly Creek to near Scott's Peak Dam
We spent most of the day hiking knee deep in the lake, to avoid scrub, although we did move slightly inland at times. The creek mouths in particular were easiest to do right at the lake's edge, although sometimes we were in up to our waists! The edge of the lake is extremely scrubby, the whole day. We didn't quite make it home to Scott's Peak Dam this day, although we might have if we'd pushed longer, or had a bit more energy. There are quite pleasant beaches and sandy spots every so often throughout the day, at least past Pebbly Creek, so it's reasonable to camp.
To Scott's Peak Dam
You have a few options, right at the end. We split up; Tam and I climbed the ridge directly to the hill with the antenna towers, while Adele continued around the coast. The hill proved a better route; we picked up a good dirt road immediately, which led us back to the campsite, while Adele got a bit lost.