Trip Report: Tassie’s Frenchman’s Cap

resized_P1040161

My mate James and I decided to sneak in a quick trip to Frenchman’s Cap before Christmas. This is a spectacular walk and we had perfect weather. This trip is recommended as a 3-5 day walk, and having done it in 2 days I now know why. At just under 24km each way it is certainly doable in 2 long days, but in hindsight I think 3-4 days would be more enjoyable.

resized_P1030982

James had done this walk previously during the days of the “Sodden Loddons” but since 2013 the track has been re-routed and significant track building has taken place. Yes our feet were nice and dry.

resized_P1030995

The first section of the walk from the highway to Lake Vera Hut is relatively flat, easy and enjoyable walking. As we walked down one moderately steep section, we found a nice Swiss guy named Marco camped on the track. It was the sort of spot you would only camp if it was dark and you had no torch, you were exhausted and had drunk 12 beers. Marco’s campsite selection became a source of amusement and ridicule as we spent 4 hours walking with him later in the day.

resized_P1040002

resized_P1040006
The Lake Vera hut was immaculate. It was better than some hotels I have stayed in and you don’t have to pay by the hour.

resized_P1040020

This little guy is a good reason to keep your shorts on when going for a swim. Photo credit: James Lambert.
This little guy is a good reason to keep your shorts on when going for a swim. Photo credit: James Lambert.
resized_P1040030
Vera Creek

The section of the walk from Lake Vera Hut to Lake Tahune Hut is significantly slower as there are more obstacles and more up and down.

The track builders have done a great job.
The track builders have done a great job but these steps are much easier to walk up than down.
resized_P1040048
The view from Barron Pass
The first good view of Frenchman's Cap is from Barron Pass. Photo credit: James Lambert
The first good view of Frenchman’s Cap is from Barron Pass. I believe the massive 350 meter SE face is the highest vertical cliff in Australia and is apparently popular with climbers. Photo credit: James Lambert
James caught me in a moment of contemplation: Did I pack 2 bags of jerky or only 1? Photo credit: James Lambert.
James caught me in a moment of deep contemplation: Did I pack 2 bags of jerky or only 1? Photo credit: James Lambert.
The view from Barron Pass is fantastic
The view from Barron Pass is fantastic
James with Barron Pass in the background.
James with Barron Pass in the background.
resized_P1040066
Heading towards Lake Tahune
The final climb up to Frenchman's Cap with Lake Tahune in the background.
The final climb up to Frenchman’s Cap with Lake Tahune in the background. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
resized_P1040076
Did I mention that the views were awesome?
We made it to the summit with plenty of daylight left. Photo credit: James Lambert.
We made it to the summit with plenty of daylight left. Photo credit: James Lambert.
I was pissed off when I found out that Domino's wouldn't deliver.
I had Telstra and Optus coverage but I was pissed off when I found out that Domino’s wouldn’t deliver.

resized__DSC7288

Macquarie Harbour to the east.
The sun setting over Macquarie Harbour to the west. Photo credit: James Lambert
James decided to go brokeback on his backpack.
James decided to get up close and personal with his backpack. I stayed well away from the edge of the massive cliff.

The big camera….

Rather than carry luxury items like snacks, adequate water, long pants, comfortable boots or a warm sleeping bag, James decided it would be best to load up his pack with several kilograms of fancy camera equipment. I am sure you will agree the photos from James’ camera came out very well – but he certainly suffered for his art.

Did I mention that we had to share my pair of pants? James ate dinner with his legs inside the sleeves of a jacket (a very funny look) but when it came time to sleep I loaned him my beloved fleece pants as he had brought along his very light summer sleeping bag. Then when James went for his sunrise on the summit photo marathon he retained the trusty pants which was the only excuse I needed to sleep in.

A quiet night

Our campsite near the summit of Frenchman’s Cap was the quietest place I have ever been. Not a breath of wind, no bugs, birds or animals, no traffic or planes or noise of any type. It was eerily quiet and the absence of any noise added to the awesomeness of the location.

P1040099

We had a sweet campsite and I tried out the Bush Cocoon for a 2nd night. See the gear review for more:

https://bretto.com.au/2015/11/25/macpac-bush-cocoon/

There was one section of snow left near the summit.
There was one section of snow left near the summit. Photo credit: James Lambert.
Photo credit: James Lambert
Photo credit: James Lambert
This is the part of the day where I like to warm my butt in the morning sun.
This is the part of the day where I like to warm my butt in the morning sun. I couldn’t actually get out of bed because James had my pants. Photo credit: James Lambert.
There is one section that is more like rock climbing than bushwalking. I lowered my pack down this section before changing my shorts.
There is one section that is more like rock climbing than bushwalking. I lowered my pack down this section before changing my shorts. James out-manned me and just climbed down with his pack on.

resized_P1040157

The Loddon River
The Loddon River

 

Crossing the Franklin River.
Crossing the Franklin River.
We made it back to the cars shortly after dark.
We made it back to the cars shortly after dark and just in time for a cold beer at the Derwent Bridge Hotel.
Every bushwalker knows the feeling of joy when you remove your boots at the end of a walk. James enjoyed that moment more than most.
Every bushwalker knows the feeling of joy when you remove your boots at the end of a walk. James enjoyed that moment more than most.

For further information on this great walk check out the Tas Parks and Wildlife website:

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=2255

Navigation on this walk is very straightforward but it is always good to have the right map. Make sure you get the latest edition that shows the re-routed track bypassing the Loddon Plains.

WKFRENCH

https://www.tasmap.tas.gov.au/do/product/WKFRENCH

Road conditions

A consequence of doing the trip in 2 days was that I had to drive to/from the start of the walk from Hobart in the dark. There was a heap of wildlife on the road so unless you want a smorgasboard of native animals on the front of your car you need to allow extra time so you can drive slowly to avoid roadkill. Or you can plan your trip better than me and drive out there during daylight.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Trip Report: Tassie’s Frenchman’s Cap”

  1. Great report, great photos. But I’m left wondering how many hotels you’ve stayed in that charged you by the hour and how long you stayed? 😉

  2. Great report Bret. After guiding my mate and I through our Bass Straight Crossing March 2015 with your trip report and maps, I am pleased to say I plan to again follow in your footsteps as partner and I are heading over on the ferry tomorrow to do Frenchmans after not quite making it last time I attempted doing the hike in two days. We have a much more pleasant 4-5 days to complete the hike this time. Thanks for the write up 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s