Taking advantage of the large stable high pressure system over Eastern Australia, Reuben VK7FREU and the author drove to New Norfolk and through to Westerway and turned off down the Gordon River Rd to Maydena. Approximately 16km past Maydena you get to a sign that says the highest point on the road and reminds you that there is nearly 2m of rainfall per annum!
A warning for prospective bushwalkers on this track – much of the track especially for the first half is a creek and therefore is very muddy and wet. Many ankle deep mud experiences and after the recent snow falls there was plenty of water flowing!
You are warned – I said it was muddy!
The track is relatively steep – from the car to the summit is only 1.2km however you are rising 440m up to the summit therefore rising about 0.4m every 1m on average. Lots of rests required and water required. The geology around this location is very old Proterozoic layered Quartzite which is the source of the white sand you come across along the track.
The quartzite forms many of the mountains around the area and the ridge line of The Needles. You walk up through outcrops on the track and slowly make your way to the outcrop that forms the summit and there is a steep final ascent to the rock cairn.
Once on summit we setup the squid pole, spotted ourselves as 3G mobile coverage was good and we started making contacts.
All up we both made 13 contacts, had lunch and took in the fantastic views.
The above panorama LtoR – Wylds Craig (distance) Tim Shea & Wherrets Lookout (foreground), Mt Field West (snow), Naturalist Peak (snow), Florentine Peak, Mt Mawson, The Needles Ridge line (foreground) Mt Mueller (snow) behind Mt Bowes is Mt Anne/Eve Peak/Mt Eliza (far distance).
The above panorama LtoR – Mt Mueller (snow) behind Mt Bowes is Mt Anne/Eve Peak/Mt Eliza, Western Arthurs (far distance), Marsden Range/Mt Wedge (medium distance), Lake Gordon, Ragged Range, Sawback Range, The Thumbs/Mt Wright (med distance), Tiger Range (foreground), Wylds Craig (far distance), Tim Shea (foreground) and Mt Field West (snow).
A fantastic activation in the South West of Tasmania and thanks to all who contacted us.
See and hear you on the next summit.
73, Justin, VK7TW
The Needles Reprise (Sunday 25 September 2016)
Given some good weather and the fact Reuben and I needed to go up to Mt Field National Park and pick-up a map and ask the Rangers about camping in the park, we decided to go on and re-activate The Needles.
Given the substantial rain we have had over the last month we were a little better prepared with gators and substantial walking boots. Most of the lower path you walk up is basically the stream bed off the mountain and therefore the track is really wet….and it was.
We only had some rain about two thirds the way up but it passed and the rest of the activation was rain free. We were luck as we watched the showers go over Mt Mueller and Mt Field and miss The Needles.
We setup and made 16 contacts and thanks to all who contacted us.
We also christened the new SOTA flag on this activation!
Catch you on a summit soon.
73, Justin, VK7TW