Monday, February 14, 2011

Mt Ossa, Tas, Australia

2011 February: Day 2 - Climb Mt Ossa, from Pelion Hut (on Pelion Plains) - Tasmania, Australia

This is day 2 of a 2-day overnight climbing trip.
The 1st day was to climbing Mt Pelion East ... refer

Mt Ossa

Mt Ossa is:
- 1617 meters
- Tasmania's highest mountain
- On the West side of Pelion Gap (The Overland Track from Pelion Hut to Kia Ora Hut goes through Pelion Gap.)

This trip with Ricky is part of our effort to climb the highest peak in every State/Territory in Australia ... called the State-8 peaks. Scroll forward to the Appendix section to see a list and links of my climbing trips to these peaks.

Hiking route

Day 1:
- Refer for day 1 of this trip

Day 2:
- From Pelion Hut, walk south on the Overland Track to Pelion Gap.
- At Pelion gap, turn west. The track skirts around Mt Doris before heading towards Mt Ossa.
- From summit of Mt Ossa, retrace steps back to Pelion Hut.
- Retrace steps back to Arm River Track carpark.

Hiking distance & time

25.5 km
11 hrs 15 min


"Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair & Walls of Jerusalem National Parks" by John Chapman, Monica Chapman & John Siseman has a good description of the Arm River Track and Mt Ossa.


The 1:100,000 scale topographic survey map 8114 Mersey is good enough as the tracks can be easily followed. But if you wish, you can get the 1:25,000 scale maps.

Water Requirement

From Pelion Hut to Mt Ossa and back, carry 3 litres of water on a hot sunny day.


After a good night's sleep at the tent site at the back of Pelion Hut, we are up early and start walking southward on the Overland Track at 6:25am. This is a retrace of our steps of the previous day to Pelion Gap which is duly reached at 7:40am.

Pelion Gap is a 4-way meeting point. Direct ahead is to Kia Ora Hut for hikers on the Overland Track. On the east is the track to Mt Pelion East which we successfully climbed yesterday  ( refer to ). Today, now, we turn west and head towards Mt Doris and Mt Ossa.

The track to Mt Ossa skirts the southern flank of Mt Doris. Once you reach the Mt Doris area, you get an awe inspiring view of Ossa - twin spires of rocks with vertical cliffs rising high up into the sky. And you wonder how are you going to climb up these cliffs!!!

Fortunately there are wooden posts at regular intervals pointing the way up. First we descend into the gully between Mt Doris and Mt Ossa. Then it is a long and steep(!!!) scramble up a scree slope between the above mentioned two tall cliffs. The trail hugs the side of the cliff on the right. After much panting and struggle, we reach a plateau area. From here, the peak is just a short distance on the right.

At the rear of the plateau is a small tarn. As it is a beautiful blue sky day, no wind and not a cloud around, the tarn is also beautifully blue, faithfully reflecting the colour of the sky. So tranquil, so serene, you wish you can just linger there forever.

But after a short stay and taking many photos of the tarn, we turn right and reach the summit at 9:50am.

No one would be disappointed by the magnificent panoramic scenery from the top ... see some of the photos further down in this article. And of course we have a clear view of the nipple shaped Mt Pelion East which we climbed yesterday.

We have a good rest at the top, soaking up the atmosphere. Then reluctantly, it is retracing steps back to Pelion Hut, have lunch, pick up the tents and sleeping bags and carry the lot back to the car at the Arm River Track carpark.

All up, it is an 11-hour day. But it is also a most satisfying day. Of the highest peaks in each of the 5 Australian eastern States/Territory (ACT Bimberi, NSW Kosciuszko, Qld Bartle Frere, Tas Ossa, Vic Bogong) Mt Ossa surely is the most rewarding one to climb, with the most magnificent scenery from the summit - sheer magic beauty !!!  But it is also the hardest to climb because of its remoteness from the nearest road.


06:25 Start from Pelion Hut.
07:40 4.2 km later, arrive at Pelion Gap.

------ 10 min rest

07:50 Leave Pelion Gap.
09:50 2.5 km later, arrive at summit of Mt Ossa.

------ 50 min rest

10:40 Leave summit
12:00 2.5 km later, back to Pelion Gap.

------ 5 min rest

12:05 Leave Pelion Gap.
13:15 4.2 km later, back to Pelion Hut.

------ 50 min lunch

14:05 Leave Pelion Hut.
17:40 12 km later, back at Arm River Track carpark.

------ Total: 11 hrs 15 min, 25.5 km

Pictures - To Pelion Gap

1.) We are on our way to Pelion Gap, and walking on the famous Overland Track. This part of the track takes 1 and a quarter hour. Only a small section has board walks like this. Many stretches are muddy.

At Pelion Gap

2.) This is Pelion Gap. Turning east is to Mt Pelion East which we successfully climbed yesterday  ( refer to ). Turning west is to Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain, which we are going to do right now. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can just make out the writing on the sign.

3.) Paul at Pelion Gap - Mt Ossa & Mt Doris is in the background.

Climb Mt Ossa

4.) A cute wallaby in the foreground. The nipple looking mountain in the background is Mt Pelion East which we climbed yesterday.  ( Refer to ).

5.) The nipple in the background in Mt Pelion East which we climbed yesterday.

6, 7, 8.) The peak on the right is Mt Ossa, highest mountain in Tasmania. Awesome looking monster!!!

9, 10.) The way up Mt Ossa is to scramble up the steep scree area between the 2 peaks. Once you reach the plateau, turn right for the summit. Here, you can see Ricky going up the slope.

11.) I am the small figure in the middle of the scree slope.

12.) A beautiful picture with the nipple shaped Mt Pelion East in the background.

13.) Mt Pelion East is in the background.

14, 15.) Paul, climbing up the rocks

At plateau just below Mt Ossa summit

16.) At the plateau now - Ricky and I with Mt Ossa in the background - not far to go now

17.) At the plateau area - a tarn reflecting the blue sky. Love this spot, so tranquil and beautiful.

Mt Ossa summit

18, 19.) Finally, (3.5 hrs after we started from Pelion Hut), we reach the summit, 1617 meters - the roof of Tasmania!!!

20.) Mandatory photo session time  :-)
Ricky and I at the summit

21. Ricky climbs up one the rocks.

Views from Mt Ossa summit

22.) Super scene from the summit - pure magic scenery!!!

23.) The nipple is Mt Pelion East which we climbed yesterday.  ( Refer to ).

24.) Mt Pelion West is in the centre of this pic. Barn Bluff, the nipple, is to its right. And further along to the right is Cradle Mountain.

Photos and write up on the Barn Bluff climb is my blog:

Cradle Mountain is in:

Back at Pelion Gap

25.) Back down from Mt Ossa and back at Pelion Gap. I am pointing to the sign which says "Mt Ossa 1617m", and we climbed it !!! (I am wearing gloves. This is to prevent sun-burnt, and also helps climbing up the rocks.)

Return to car

26.) After picking up our tents and sleeping bags from Pelion Hut, we are on the Arm River Track walking tiredly back to the carpark. By the time we are back in the car, it will be an 11-hr day.
Only a few sections of the track has this board walk. Many stretches are muddy.

27, 28.) Ricky finds a hedgehog.

Appendix - State-8 Peaks

This is part of my mission to climb the highest peak in all 8 Australian States & Territories ... called State-8 Peaks.

- 2010 Oct, Qld - Mt Bartle Frere

- 2011 Jan, ACT - Bimberi Peak

- 2011 Feb, Tas - Mt Ossa - This trip report

- 2011 Mar, Vic - Mt Bogong

- 2011 Apr, NSW - Mt Kosciuszko

- 2012 Jul, NT - Mt Zeil

- 2012 Aug, WA - Mt Meharry

- 2013 May, SA - Mt Woodroffe

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant pictures, it was in mist when I climbed it so it is good to see what the summit looks like!


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