VANDYKE & CLAUDE
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Along with a L.W.C. party with various objectives in the Roland area, I left Launceston at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22nd. 1952 in the Club 'bus and, journeying via the Bass Highway and Claude Road, camped for the night at Gowrie Park (980’ - 10.30 p.m.). Several army huts occupy this reserve which possesses an excellent position from which to approach the various members of the Roland group.
I was one of a party which left the Park at 7.10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Our course was via the branch road to the south of the Park and we followed this up-hill to its end (1400’ – l½m.), where we spent a little time in gathering track informat¬ion at the last habitation. Resuming at 7.50 am., we swung down-hill to the left to where a foot track takes shape as it crosses a small creek in the gully below. The track soon re-crossed the creek and swung up-hill through some gum saplings and soon emerged on the cleared paddocks. Heading up-hill through these towards the pass between Mts. Roland and Vandyke, fern and light scrub was met but, keeping reasonably low along the slope, we gained the end of the last small “paddock”. Here the track regains shape as it crosses the small creek (2020’ -2¼m. - 8.20-30 a.m.) and a stop was made to enable the party to re-group. The remainder of the track provided pleasant walking as we progressed towards the pass.
As the high ground was gained, the Vandyke party forsook the track (2860’ - 4m. - 9.25 a.m.) and, swinging to the right, took a clear course up on to the slopes of Vandyke. Fast moving clouds and intermittent light showers was the order of the day. Our ascent route led up a gentle button grass slope, midst light plateau scrub out on to a broad, exposed moor. A high rocky point towards the eastern edge of the plateau appeared to be the highest point on the mountain, although its position was contrary to the information provided by the locals. Three of us decided to climb it (3520’ - 5m. - 10.15 a.m.) and my aneroid recording and personal observation proved it, unquestionably, to be the true summit of Vandyke. Re-grouping, we tramped across the moor to the S.W., where a rivaling rocky crag appeared on the western lip of the plateau. From the top (3490’ - 6m. - 10.55 a.m.) we secured a fairly wide view of north-western wooded gorges, broken here and there by green clearings, hills and mountains rolling away to the S.E., and the long, sprawling form of Mt. Claude to the east (262 deg.), but the restless sea of clouds ever halted or limited our range.
Chris Binks and Joe Picone then left us to walk back to Mt. Roland, whilst Bill Thompson, Betty Frost, Doris Piper and I set off towards Mt. Claude at 11.35 a.m.. Soon we were descending to the low, wooded col linking the two mountains and the clear plateau was replaced by a dense mixture of small, tightly packed scrub (acacia, ti-tree, etc.). Crossing the small eastern flowing creek in the trough, we pushed up through the tangle to where helpful leads appeared and soon were assisted by an old “burn”, through which strong ‘roo pads showed the way. Farther up, the site of an old hut was reached, where a track led downhill towards the Claude Road. A further old "burn" and ‘roo pad assisted us towards the high ground ahead and, crossing the upper course of the small creek of the col trough, we progressed through thinning scrub to the crest of the plateau, where button grass started to open up the way (3030’ – 8½m. - 1.35 p.m.). Continuing westward, we gradually made height but encountered some trouble from the jumble of conglomerate boulders and cavities around the summit. Like the whole Roland group, Mt. Claude is of conglomerate, a rock which possesses some unusual shapes. Tremendous boulders and large cavities extending underneath them are common. The highest point of Claude is occupied by such an immense block of conglomerate with high walls, that the only practical ascent via the eastern corner possesses an awkward beginning, over which there was a little hesitancy by the lesser experienced.
We were all atop at 3 p.m. (3380’ – 9½m.) and, as
we were due back at the bus by 4 p.m., lost little time in leaving and
seeking a descent route down to the Claude Road below us to the N.W..
The gully we chose was not an easy one. Short cliffs would suddenly appear
below us and present their problems and, lower down the gully, thick bauera
reduced our progress to painstaking slowness. Obviously, we would be late
in regaining the Park, so we battled on as fast as possible, but encountered
scrub right up to the road (11m. - 5.45 p.m.). A brisk walk soon carried
us back to Gowrie Park (980' - 12m. - 6.10 p.m.). All were not ready yet
for departure, so we were able to find time for tea. Shortly, we were
on our way homewards, picking up other groups en route, and finally reaching
home at 10.15 p.m..
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