Mt. Patrick lies on the eastern bank of Arthurs Lake, on the southern end of the Den Tier on Tasmania’s Central Plateau. This rather short walk is usually done in conjunction with an equally short hike to the summit of Mt. Penny West.
Date: 6 July 2019 – Summit: 1119m
Distance: 3.2km as a loop
Time taken: About an hour, and that was taking our sweet time!
Difficulty: Fairly easy for the northern approach – follow a clear fire trail then a small amount of off track walking through alpine bush to the summit. Southern return is steeper and rockier with the thicker scrub, though hardly taxing especially considering the short distance involved.
Type of track: Fire trail and/or off-track through navigable scrub.
Access from: Note that this Abel – not just road access, but the summit itself – is on private property. Through The Abels Vol. 1 the caretaker of the property has very generously made their phone number available, where a date and time can be arranged to borrow a gate key for a small fee ($5 per person as of the time of writing) and receive instructions to access the track that leads to the trail head. This is an extremely kind gesture by the landowner and caretakers towards the local bushwalking community. Please, ensure this graciousness is reciprocated by accessing the track only with permission, keeping gates locked and respecting the private land so that future generations of walkers can continue to enjoy simplified access to this wonderful Abel.
With a rare burst of bright, sunny weather somehow managing to make its way into the dearth of our winter, it seemed the perfect opportunity to finally tick off these two short, somewhat maligned Abels.
Neither Mt. Patrick nor Mt. Penny West are likely to top anyone’s “most favourite mountain” list any time soon. Both have reputations for being short, not particularly challenging and with less than amazing views. In the case of Mt. Patrick, that turned out to be pretty much the case, but an Abel is an Abel and the full list won’t tick itself.
We had organised access with the property caretaker earlier in the week. After picking up the gate key and instructions, we continued east along Arthurs Lake Road about 6km before reaching the gate to the property. Once through we followed the rougher gravel track for about another kilometre when we reached a second locked gate. As per our instructions, no vehicles are to pass beyond this point, so we parked the Mazda and continued north on foot.
As suspected, there’s not a great deal to discuss with the actual walk to Mt. Patrick. The fire trail arches slowly to the east, where as suggested by The Abels, we followed it until directly south of our position before breaking off into the scrub along the less steep northern flank. Actually we overshot this point slightly and ended up tracking sou-west towards the summit. Oopsy.
From the track the summit lie a mere 500m or so. Elevation gain was moderate and the sparse snow gums and low scrub over rocky ground made for easy off track walking.
The summit of Mt. Patrick is properly tree-covered and relatively flat, thus it isn’t easy to see the actual high spot from the approaching surrounds. Using GPS we eventually steered our way over some rockier outcrops until finding the ‘right’ one that bore the telltale summit cairn. Bagged in (just) under half an hour!
Unsurprisingly, the views from the top were limited to say the least. Glimpses of the lake could be seen to the west but anything visible anywhere on the compass was filtered through plenty of foliage. Moving slightly south of the summit towards a more open outcrop offered a slightly better vista of the lake, but still nothing to write home about.
For the mere sake of doing something different for our return trip, we decided to head straight down the western slope of the mountain. We figured the downhill advantage would help us push through any denser scrub we might encounter.
As it turned out, there was little to worry about. Numerous scree fields and areas of open, rocky terrain with little undergrowth dominated the area with sections of thicker scrub usually navigated around. Only on a couple of occasions did we have to push through. Within 10 minutes we had covered the 900m or so back to the fire trail and back to the car. Did we mention this was a short one? 😉
With one Abel done for the day, we took a quick drive back towards Arthur’s Lake to climb the nearby Mt. Penny West.