ON THE "FORESIGHT" & A CIRCUIT OF THE DU CANES
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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.
|The 3 day New Year week end break followed closely
on the heels of our 1950 Christmas trip. With only three days in which to
recuperate and do our work as well, it could hardly be expected that the
party would set off with the same vim and verve as before. This time a party
of five set out from Launceston at 6.55 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29th. for Lake
St. Clair to link up with the remainder of the L.W.C. Mt. Anne party. The
early speed was reduced considerably on the Lake Highway by heavy mist around
Mt. Projection, whilst a puncture caused further delay on the rough Lyell
Highway. Ultimately, we reached Cynthia Bay camp at 10.50 p.m., contacted
our friends and retired about 12.5 a.m. in cloudy and unpromising weather.
Saturday opened cloudy with some occasional drizzle but cloud breaks occurred and the barometer was rising. Our whole party of ten plus a few others set off in the Board's launch at 9 a.m., reaching the Narcissus shore at 10.50 a.m.. Here the party split up into two groups. Leaving the others to try conclusions with Mts. Ida, Manfred, etc. a party of four (John Daniel, Jim Turner, David Pinkard and myself) left the Narcissus Hut at 11.18 a.m. once more to attempt the unclimbed "Foresight" of Cyrian. In accordance with various alterations contained in the latest Lands & Surveys Dept.'s maps, the name "Geryon" is now applied to Cyrian and from explanations given by Mr. I. Boss Walker in his book "Peaks and High Places", it appears to be the original Grecian name adopted and the name of "Cyrian" a corruption. Our packs were heavy, including, in addition to the normal paraphernalia, two 150' ropes plus belays, two tents and, in some cases, climbing boots. Our plan was to establish ourselves at the high level camp at the head of the rock slide for the night and make contact with Chris.
The sky remained ominous as before but little rain fell. In improving weather, we reached Pine Valley Hut for lunch (2700' - 5m. - 1.20 p.m.). Here we learned from the log book that Chris had been very active over the past day or two and at present was away climbing the Acropolis. He returned, however, as we were about to leave, so we had a further short spell whilst he dined and packed. As could be expected, there was no shortage of other inmates of the hut during the height of the popular walking season.
At 2.30 p.m. we were afoot once more, threading our way along our familiar route up the Cephissus. An occasional sprinkle punctuated our progress through the damp forest and clouds still hung low as we struggled up the long rock slide. Coming in like Brown's cows, we gained the high camp site (4000' - 10m. - 5.13 43 p.m.) and set about enlarging our small tent site to accommodate the larger tent. Water was entirely absent from the dripping rock face, so much time and labour farther afield was necessary. At length the slow job of completing camp preparations and cooking were over and we retired at 9.15 p.m..
The clouds still were hanging low next morning and there appeared little prospect of a relieving breeze although the barometer had risen slightly. The clouds had broken somewhat when we left our tents for the climb at 7.15 a.m.. We chose the old route towards the "Foresight", around the cliff base and then up its western side, and were close up to the Gaps when we roped up. The climbers were sorted out into two teams with Jim, John and David in No. 1 team in that order and myself and Chris on the other rope. However, as the choice of courses soon became nil, it became apparent that there was everything to gain and nothing to lose from a safety angle by a complete link-up, so Chris linked with David to form a team of five.
A cloud was surging around the "Foresight" as we linked up and a light drizzle included a dash of snow, but soon all was fairly clear again. Jim found a good traverse across to the Northern Gap on our first combined pitch and this considerably enhanced our prospects. The next two pitches were relatively easy as we curved around to the north eastern side, but the final pitch was harder with one short difficult chimney. Loose boulders, some very deceptive, were our worst danger, but we cleared a number of these out of the way later. At.10.10 a.m. all were atop the narrow summit of the Foresight (4680') with both the Northern and Southern Peaks of Geryon towering, nay almost leaning, ominously above us on either side. An almost sheer drop of over 1000' lay below us on the east, whilst the western side slid away almost as steeply. Certainly not a place to prolong one's stay on such a cool day. So, after erecting a small cairn, leaving a written record behind and a little photography, the Foresight was rid of its first human visitors by 11 a.m. and all were abseiling down to the Northern Gap (4400') and then, via the northern gully, to the cliff base and so on back to our high camp (4000' - 3m. - 12.55 p.m.).
Although there appeared still plenty of time for further activity prior to picking up the launch by 3 p.m. on the morrow, pleas and entreaties failed to gain any response from some members whose only immediate ambition seemed to be rest and more rest. Thus, after dinner, it was left to Chris and I to carry on alone whilst the others returned to Pine Valley. We were packed up and away by 3 p.m. over the same ground as earlier in the day to the base of the Foresight. Then we had to descend a little before continuing forward to finally ascend a little and reach the creek gully descending from the plateau to the north of Geryon in close proximity to our North Geryon camping site (4000' - 4¾m. - 4 p.m.). By now the clouds had thinned considerably and hot sunshine had taken over. The creek was almost dry, but the water excellent. We toiled up the creek bed to gain the high plateau above (4600' - 5¼m. - 4.18 p.m.). Here the going was wonderful; also the view. Pushing across towards Hyperion, we deviated slightly to ascend an un named bluff on the plateau almost midway between Hyperion and Massif (4700' - 6m. - 5.10-16 p.m.).
In continuing onwards towards Hyperion, we made a further slight deviation to gain the end of Lake Helios for photographic purposes. Then, dumping our packs a little further up the gully, we ascended Hyperion, finding the latter section of it much steeper than anticipated (4650' - 8m. - 7 p.m.). Hyperion's exposed summit and steep fall to the north makes it an ideal vantage point to study the Wallace Gorge and the huge mountain peaks to its north. The proposed alternate track route from Frog Flat to Pine Valley won our whole hearted support and its value in bringing these mountains so much more within reach of all appreciated to the full. The peaks of Achilles and Thetis were never seen to better advantage, the fine glacial cirque on the latter being superb. Walled Mt., Mac's Mt. and Ossa also looked fine from this new angle and, even in the lengthening shadows, the more distant peaks were most attractive.
However, we had to cut short our sight seeing and photography as we were still some distance from a reasonable camp site and the sun was sinking fast. We returned to our packs and then commenced shouldering the high hill to the south in order to reach the lake at its southern base. This lake at the northern end of the Labyrinth was visible from our Geryon camp and looked a reasonable camp site. Crossing over the top of the hill, we discovered there were two lakes instead of one. The north western end of the westernmost lake held the best camp prospects, so we angled around the top of the fagus before descending to the lake (3700' 9½m. - 8.2 p.m.).
Here, indeed, was the ideal camping spot with the tent pitched over a springy patch of pineapple grass and with water and dry wood galore. Within half an hour, the evening meal was ready and the camp established and we were able to have our first decent wash since leaving Lake St. Clair. A very comfortable night was enjoyed so comfortable that we were slow to awaken in the morning.
New Year's morn was sunny with a few clouds and a high north westerly. Leaving our gear at the camp, we started northwards for Mt. Eros at 9.20 a.m., curving around the corner of the big hill and picking a fairly good course across the gully beyond. Soon we were on top of the diminutive Eros (4310' - lm. - 9.50 a.m.) and gazing out on a view not so very dissimilar to that from Hyperion which showed up nicely to the north east. Once more it was necessary to reduce our stay to a minimum as we realised we would have to move fast to be back at the Narcissus by 3 p.m. to catch the boat.
At 10.15 a.m., we left Eros and retraced our steps back to our camp (3700' - 2m. - 10.44 a.m.), packed up all our gear and moved forward again at 11.10 a.m.. The sun was very warm now and the undulating northern section of the Labyrinth was not inducive to fast pace. Soon after midday, we reached the large lake of the central Labyrinth and sped down the eastern side of the string of lakes to its south, arriving on the edge of the plateau opposite Long Lake at 12.35 p.m.. Then followed a fast descent down through fairly clear country to the plain below and so on back to the Pine Valley Hut (2700' - 7m. - 1.1 p.m.).
Here we had hoped to have dinner but it was evident time would not permit. We stowed away a few iron rations, completed our log book entry and had a few words with the occupants and were under way again (1.19-26 p.m.). The track journey back was a race against time and we succeeded in gaining the Narcissus Hut at 3.1 p.m. after a flat out blitz most of the day. Here we rejoined most of our party only a few minutes before word was received that the boat had arrived and was waiting. Soon we were all aboard and bound for Cynthia Bay. The lake was very calm and the sun warm excellent conditions under which to relax from one's efforts of the past few days.
Soon after our arrival at Cynthia Bay, we were in the throes of tea preparation and were all away in the car by 6.12 p.m.. We suffered some more buffeting from the rough road which left its mark on the car. We were all pleased to reach Launceston at 10.30 p.m. and seek the comforts of a civilised life once more.
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