MT BYRON (4450’)
|Home to Index|
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 2.30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13th. 1941, Jack and Doug
Daniel, John Davis and myself started out from Launceston for Lake St. Clair,
accomplishing the car journey to Cynthia Bay via the usual route by 5.30
p.m.. Camp was made at the road terminus and all enjoyed a comfortable night's
Arising early, we were away from Cynthia Bay (2420’) at 5.5 a.m. and, selecting the Cuvier Valley track, passed the Rufus and Hugel turnoffs, crossed the Cuvier and were approaching the buttongrass ere daylight broke, relieving us of torch carrying. Many miles of wearying button grass then ensued during which we strayed from the track and skirted the Olympus border of the clearing. The uneven button grass, covering numerous concealed holes, plus frequent morasses fed by the melting snows, mitigated against fast progress. Still, excellent time was produced and, breasting the slight rise at the head of the button grass, we dropped down on pretty Lake Petrach (2750’ - 9m. - 7.4 a.m.).
A half hour was spent on the small sandy beach at the lake's south eastern shore and the camera came into its own. Lake Petrach is fringed with gum and King William pine, and is about two miles in length and surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks, all of which, particularly Byron, make admirable camera studies. Byron, a steep, conical, snow decked peak, rose in the N.W.; the flat topped Olympus extended from N. to N.E.; the southern peak of Manfred, a pile of white snow and black rock, joined Byron in the W.N.W.; a flat topped eminence lay to the west; Mt. Cuvier, in thick winter garb, glistened in the bright sunshine in the W.S.W.; and the rocky Hugel greeted us in the S. by E..
Resuming at 8.15 a.m., gum, myrtle, pandanni, tea tree, etc. replaced the button grass as we skirted the eastern shore of the lake and ascended towards the peak of Byron. The bush was generally easy of penetration and improved as we neared the rocky base of Byron. The early rock climbing was steep and breath taking and then the small snow field was encountered. The snow was hard in spite of the abundance of sunshine and ideal for progress. At length the short, but stiff climb was over and we were able to perch ourselves on the summit of our objective (4450’ - 13½m. - 10.25 a.m.).
Mt. Byron offers a glorious panorama of twisted peaks and quivering lakes, of densely wooded slopes and open button grass all clad in wintry attire. The long, flat topped Olympus was our nearest neighbour just across to the east; Lake Latona lay perched on a hill top in the E. by N.; little Mt. Ida rose in the E.N.E.; Lake Lana appeared in the N.E. by E.; the northern section of Lake St. Clair extended from E.N.E. to N.E.; our old friend, the Rugged Mts., greeted us in the N.N.E.; two lofty sentinels of the Du Cane Range, Falling Mt. in the N. and Mt. Massive N. by W., towered steeply upwards; the more symmetrical and graceful Mt. Gould attracted our attention in the N.N.W.; Walled Mt. rose on the west of the Guardians and conical Mac's Mt. appeared in the N.W.; the northern peak of Manfred welcomed our gaze in the W.N.W.; a high, distant peak, probably Castle Hill, was visible in the W. by N.; the walled Eldon Bluff arose in the west with the high, snow drenched spire of Eldon Peak glistening farther westward; then the closer and southern peak of Manfred intervenes; three distant mountains appear in the W.S.W.; Mt. Cuvier occupies the S.W.; the Frenchman's Cap raises its gleaming head in the S.S.W.; Gould's Sugarloaf may be seen in the south; Mt. Hugel with Rufus in the rear extends from S.S.E. to S.E. by S.; Wyld's Craig, Mt. Field East and Mt. Field West and the western spur of Hugel, with Lake Petrarch and the Cuvier valley in the foreground, lend variety to the scene in the E.S.E..
Lunch, photography galore, sight seeing and rest were all crammed into the two and half hours we spent on Mt. Byron and all were under way by 12.55 p.m.. An entirely novel, exciting and rapid means of descent was introduced in our departure from Byron. The many hours of brilliant sunshine had softened the outer snow crust and caused our feet to sink deep in the snow. Lying on our back, we tobogganed feet foremost down the steep slopes, digging our heels into the snow to serve both as brake or rudder as required and at times wildly sinking both hands and heels in a frantic endeavour to reduce speed whilst temporarily out of control on some steep slide.
Completing the snow descent, somehow without serious incident, the remaining rock slopes were soon traversed and the clearing at Byron's foot was acquired at 1.20 p.m. only 25 min. from Byron's summit. Following the clearing down to the north end of Lake Petrach, the eastern shore was again skirted to arrive at the small sandy beach on the lake’s south eastern shore (2750’ - 4½m. - 2.5 p.m.).
Here we located the staked Cuvier Valley track and made good progress down the button grass. Kangaroos and wombats were frequently met on the return journey. Gradually we closed in on the Cuvier River and then accompanied its eastern bank southwards. At last the Cuvier Bridge was crossed (12¼m. - 4.15 p.m.) and not long elapsed before the car appeared at the end of the road (2420’ - 13½m. - 4.30 p.m.).
We had changed and were on our way half an hour later and a little shooting was enjoyed before nightfall. In the vicinity of Mt. Projection, a dense mist made driving very precarious and a dead slow pace was necessary for a few miles. Launceston was gained at 9.45 p.m..
With the climbing of Byron, the respective totals of mountain successes
by members of our party now stand at the following: K.Lancaster, 45; J.Yates,
26; J.Daniel, 20; H.Daniel, 13; D.Daniel and J.Davis, 6.
|Home to Index|
If you would like more information on Keith Lancaster's diaries, please feel free to send me an email.