Thursday 9 January 2014

Newdegate Pass

Wednesday 8th January 2014

Newdegate Pass
I thought it was about time that I revisited Mount Field National Park so I decided on Newdegate Pass as the walk. I had not done the pass before although I had previously walked the Tarn Shelf and also up over the Rodway Range.
With a favourable weather forcast I left home early and arrived at Lake Dobson just before 0800 and set off walking soon after. The initial section of the walk followed the shores of Lake Dobson before heading up the Urquhart track which eventually met up with the road servicing the ski fields. This was followed uphill past a couple of ski huts before it met up with the Snow Gum track which went further uphill to eventually flatten out at the Lake Seal lookout. The weather was great and the views superb.
Lake Seal
From here the track was mainly on boardwalk for a fair distance before coming to the Tarn Shelf/Rodway junction. At this point it is possible to either walk via the Rodway Range or Tarn Shelf to Newdegate Pass and return either way. I chose to walk via the Tarn Shelf first, so headed downhill past the Rodway hut and ski tow and then along the Shelf past many tarns on the way to Lake Newdegate. The track was quite easy to follow and I arrived at the Lake Newdegate hut about 1000 just in time for morning tea. There was a family of 3 here and they left just as I arrived and went in the direction of the pass. After a short stop I started walking uphill towards the pass and caught up with them on top of the pass, and after a few pleasantries, carried on. The new boardwalk over the pass makes walking very easy now, but I expect it would have been quite sloppy in the past, as there was a lot of water here.
The Watcher
After walking through the pass the track deteriorated somewhat and became quite wet and muddy in places. From this part of the track were great views of The Watcher, Mount Field West and Naturalist Peak etc. etc. There was cloud on Mount Field West but I hung around for a short while hoping it would clear and it eventually did.
The track basically headed in a southerly direction on the western side of the Rodway Range and finally met up with the Mount Field West track at K Col. From here the track went up and over the Rodway Range and met up with the outgoing leg near the Rodway Huts. It was along this section that I started to come across an increasing number of people and some seemed to be ill prepared for what they were doing. Some of them were carrying nothing at all. I just shook my head, especially when one couple asked me if this was the way to Lake Dobson. I tried to explain that they had come from there and it was a long way back via the pass, but the last I saw of them had them heading in that direction. I hope they got back okay.
As I was coming over the Rodway Range there were some tiny patches of snow in the sheltered section and this surprised me. After reaching the Lake Seal lookout I took the Ski Fields track past the ski tows. I had visions of walking down the Golden Stairs track but I decided against that as I was feeling a bit tired and my legs were feeling a little sore and I could do without the scrub bash. I finally arrived back at the car just after 1400. The car park was packed with about thirty cars which surprised me as it was a week day. I guess the weather must have had something to do with that.
Overall a good walk with great views on a good day.
Distance: 15.7 kms.
Time: 6'00"
Ascent: 708 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Lake Seal and Mount Bridges

Rodway Huts and Tarn Shelf

Tarn Shelf

Lake Newdegate Hut

Lake Newdegate

Rodway Range

Naturalist Peak and Mount Field West

K Col Petersen Memorial Hut

Tyenna Peak in background

Rodway Range ascent with K Col hut in background

Mount Mawson

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