Mt Somers

This is one of the best overnight tramps I have ever done.  It’s near Ashburton.  Here is a map.

I started from Sharplin Falls car park.  The track goes up to a spot height.

The track goes over a stream straight away

The track goes over a stream straight away

Then climbs up to get this view

Then climbs up to get this view

Track condition

Track condition

At the spot height there is a 10m detour to this viewing spot

Not bad

Not bad

Then the track descends and follows Bowyers Stream for a while.  It’s very pretty.

Stream

Stream

Le track

Le track

Spiffy

Spiffy

Pretty!

Pretty!

Cool old track marker

Cool old track marker

After you cross the stream the track slowly ascends.

Including under this waterfall

Including under this waterfall

The vegetation becomes more beechy

The vegetation becomes more beechy

Then there’s a steeper climb and the track comes out of the bushline.

to get a view of Mt Somers

to get a view of Mt Somers

I was surprised at how quick the travel was – it only took me about 2 hours to get to Pinnacles Hut.

About 10 min away from the hut

About 10 min away from the hut

Pinnacles Hut

Pinnacles Hut

Here I met one man running west, then two women and a dog running east.  I sat down and had lunch and was attacked by 50 sandflies.  Owing to some technical difficulties (not passing a Coupland’s on the drive in) I tried having English muffins for my lunch.  NOT WORTH IT.  They squash, and the purported ‘cheese’ flavour was more like cinnamon.  C+, must try harder.

The track then crosses a couple of spurs.  The alpine scenery is very nice.

Facing north west

Facing north west

You can just make out the track

You can just make out where the track goes in this photo.  But it’s all well marked.

Looking back east

Looking back east

The views really are quite epic.

The Main Divide

The Main Divide

The track then crosses a plateau of sorts.

Quick travel

Quick travel

Then descends on a good gradient.  It feels like it was surveyed for a road judging by how well graded everything is.

Looking towards Woolshed Creek.

Looking towards Woolshed Creek.

One of the best things about the track is how the flora is so varied.  It’s quite different on this side.P1090271On the other side of the stream there’s an area where you can go water caving.

I hate water and caving so I left it alone

I hate water and caving so I left it alone

Then there’s one more stream crossing.

Boots don't get wet if you step well

Boots don’t get wet if you step well

Then there’s a nicely graded ascent and on the other side is the hut.  It took me about 2 hours from Pinnacles Hut.

Woolshed Creek hut

Woolshed Creek hut

Woolshed creek hut is very recent and has 2 large bunk rooms.  Evidently this can be very busy during summer weekends but when I went (mid-week in November) it was about 1/2 full.  There was one group of Y9/10 school girls in residence so I spent most of my time reading outside.

The view from the hut is very nice

The view from the hut is very nice

Yes I am actually standing in the stream

Yes I am actually standing in the stream

As is usual I took a bunk next to a window.  This is because for some reason people don’t seem to wash when tramping.  Soap is not heavy!  I know things are a bit different when you’re tramping but some people really ming.

The next morning I took the track towards Woolshed Creek car park.

The track goes straight up to a ridge

The track goes straight up to a ridge

Good view at the top

Good view at the top

The other side

The other side

The visible track here is a 4WD access road.  The track goes along the bushline.

After about an hour I reached the site of an old coal mine!

Coal!

Coal!

Blackburn mine

Blackburn mine

Evidently it opened in 1935 and shut in 1936, before being unsuccessfully mined by a coop, then mined opencast until the 1960s.

From here I took the Sidewinder track that goes near where the old incline went.

Steep!

Steep!

It comes out at Woolshed CreekP1090292The track then goes to the bottom of the old incline.

Coal cart

Coal cart

The track is then very wide and flat to the car park.  It took me about 45 min from the mine.  There is a large car park here so you could just do an A to B tramp if you wanted.  I’d recommend this if you can as the northern side is the best.  However I was doing the loop.  Then the track has a steep ascent up Rhyolite track.  It has zig zags but you can’t get around the fact that it’s a 400m gain.

Trudge trudge trudge trudge

Trudge trudge trudge trudge

Quite windy here!

Quite windy here!

View of the mine

View of the mine

It took me just under an hour to reach the track junction with the south face track.P1090304From here it’s just tussock and plains for quite a while.P1090307After coming around to the south side you will see a rather nicely graded track going up a western ridge.  I didn’t go up this but it looks a LOT nicer for ascending Mt Somers than the track marked on the map, which is basically straight up.

Alternate track

Alternate track

Hot.

Hot.

The track does go in to the bush a bit.

Thank goodness

Thank goodness

P1090315After about 1 hr 20 min from the Rhyolite/South face track track junction to Acland shelter.  The shelter has no stove but does have 2 mattresses.  You could easily stay here.

From the shelter there’s a well-graded ascent over a pass.

Good condition

Good condition

It goes in and out of the bush

It goes in and out of the bush

It took me 1 hr 5 min from the shelter to the junction with the summit track.

Mt Somers

Mt Somers

This is the face that the marked summit track goes up!  Compare that to the unmarked one from earlier!

From here it’s just one long descent back down to the car park.  It takes forever.

It just follows this ridge

It just follows this ridge

I found something appealing about this tree/rock combination.

I found something appealing about this tree/rock combination.

P1090331Here I came past 2 German women singing.  Please don’t sing in the bush.  Nobody can sing well.  It’s just how it is.

After a while the track goes in to the bush but it’s all just beech.  It took me 1 hr 20 min from the summit track junction to reach Sharplin Falls car park.  The car was covered in beech sap.

Overall this is a very good tramp.  The tracks are very well maintained and the scenery on the northern side is excellent.  Well worth a weekend out.

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