CONQUEST OF DRY’S BLUFF (4257ft.)
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Note: The reports have been scanned in as written. I have included the height and distance indications, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.
At 6.30 p.m. on Sunday morning, May 15th., 1932, I left
Launceston with the intention of scaling Dry’s Bluff. The morning
was frosty making my feet and hands rather cold but the blue sky above
gave promise of a warm day and, what was more to my taste, a clear, wide
range of visibility.
After disposing of our bicycles in the scrub, we crossed the stream and shortly afterwards located the track. The track was indeed overgrown and after following it for about a mile we lost all traces thereof and struck off through the dense scrub towards where I expected to find the mountain pass. It must have taken us nearly two hours to penetrate this thick bush which lay between us and our objective and when we did so the top seemed as far away as ever. The approach to this portion of the plateau of the Western Tiers was now becoming much steeper and, as we gained altitude, we edged around towards the west and at length had a view of the “Gap”.
However, we did not pass through this opening but through a much smaller gully known as the “Little Gap” which was much nearer at hand. When we gained the plateau we were at a loss to locate the highest point as there were several hillocks on top close together all much about the same height. We found our objective after a while and at a few seconds to 2 p.m. we had added the conquest of Cry’s Bluff (4257 ft.) to our list of mountaineering achievements. We were indeed fortunate to have arrived so late as the clouds, coming up from the north side just beat us and soon completely obliterated our view in that direction.
From the top of Dry’s Bluff we had a fine view of Quamby’s Bluff, Projection Bluff, Cluan Tier and the western peaks of the Great Western Tiers, but only for a few minutes before the clouds blotted them from our vision. To the south-west a corner of the Great Lake was visible but this, too, disappeared ere long owing to the agency of the clouds. Towards the south a long layer of clouds occupied a valley in the Tiers and formed a picturesque and unusual spectacle with the lofty peaks of Brady’s Lookout and Miller’s Bluff in the background rising high above the clouds. Visibility in the north and west was too limited to enable us to distinguish any distant landmarks.
By the time we had finished our lunch on this high eminence, the clouds had thickened all around us, enveloping us like a fog and, when we attempted to find the pass through which we arrived, we met with no success. After considerable scouting along the plateau edge, we abandoned our attempt to locate the “Gap” (especially as our opinions regarding its whereabouts differed greatly) and tried to find a way down the precipitous cliffs. It was not until we had made several unsuccessful efforts, going down crevices in the rocky mountain wall only to pull up on the brink of some sheers drop of hundreds of feet and retrace our steps, that we reached the bottom of the main cliffs. Our route from the top had taken us down a very steep grade and at considerable risk we negotiated the steep descents and, towards the bottom when we were among the loose stones, we would often set a miniature avalanche hurtling below.
It was about 5.30 p.m. when we arrived at the bottom of the cliffs and,
although we did not know exactly where we were, we knew that we had yet
a long way to go. To make our predicament worse, dusk was falling. We
had not descended much farther when we came to a tiny creek and we agreed
not to forsake this as it appeared now certain that we would have to camp
the night on the mountain side. We
It was then about 7.30 p.m. and after waiting for a while we stopped a passing jinker from the driver of which we learned that the location of our bicycles was about a mile down the road i.e. to the eastwards. It was then obvious to me that the route we had followed had led us down the mountain about half a mile to the west of the “Gap” and, but for striking the creek which was flowing north-eastwards, we would have reached the road two miles farther up and , if we had encountered (as would have probably have been the case) such dense bush as when ascending, it would have most likely been about 9 p.m. before we could reach the road. However, as it was, after we had followed the creek for a while, it took us in the right direction. We were indeed fortunate in not having to spend the night on the mountain side. The journey from the road to the highest peak would approach five miles in distance, taking us nearly three and a half hours to cover, whereas our return journey, covering easily seven miles in all, took about four and a half hours, the majority of this time being lost in trying to find a way down the cliffs for once we reached the bottom of the cliffs, we reeled the last five to six miles off in an hour and three quarters, a performance of which we are justly proud.
At a brisk walk we set off to where our bicycles were concealed and,
procuring these, we began our journey home. We were surprised that, notwithstanding
the fact that our legs had been in constant working ever since early morning,
we could make such good time. We had a little difficulty with the aforesaid
pedal but it was soon repaired and we sped along through the bright moonlight
at a strong pace. The air was frosty and cold but we were more than satisfied
with the day’s outing and arrived home at 10 p.m.. This trip would
easily be the most severe one-day trip to date.
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