Tower Hills (East and West Towers)
I had been thinking about the 'two towers' for some time and I must say, with some trepidation. Mates had done the peaks previously and didn't describe them favourably. By all accounts, getting out to the West Tower was a scrub bash in an area that didn't particularly enthuse me. However, I am on an Abels mission so they had to be done. I just didn't have it my head I'd be doing them any time soon.
The opportunity came the 'morning after' - The morning after a Mt Saddleback trip with Woolza (read about it here). We had camped at Griffin park camping ground after a quick trip up Saddleback on a Thursday evening. We awoke early on Friday morning, with Woolza heading back to Launceston and myself driving south through Mathinna to the start of the road that leads one up to the Towers. The drive felt precarious in parts but the road was good. With all the low lying mist and fog, it felt a bit spooky. The whole 'two towers'/Lord of the Rings theme in my head wasn't helping.
I arrived at the boom gate on the road leading to the peaks at about 7am and was away on my bike by 7.15am. I headed uphill along the road and after about 1.5km turned off the road onto a very rough firetrail that leads towards the West Tower. I had the brainwave of bringing my mountain bike the day before and I figured it would save me a lot of time (I have four kids and had to get home!). And it did - I made great time all the way along the rough fire trail towards the West Tower. It was super easy to follow and it wasn't long before I was descending into the saddle between the two towers and heading up along the other side towards my first goal of the morning. After 30 minutes riding I reached a point where I could ride no more. I dropped my bike and started walking. This was the part I had been dreading - the supposed scrub bash to the peak. I followed the fire trail to its terminus to find some pink tape and a strong pad heading towards the peak. Sweet! This pad led the way for me and in no time I was scaling the first boulders of the mountain. 'Can't be far from here' I thought. How wrong I was. After my initial climb, the track (which was very well taped and cairned) then sidled around the north western side of the peak for what felt like ages. There seemed to be a lot of descending which made me feel as if I was going the wrong way but I stuck with my pre planned route and after a lot of up and down and sidling, I finally arrived at the diminutive summit 1.5hrs after departing the car (about 1 hour from the fire trail). The summit wasn't much and the cloud cover meant no views. Yep, I can see why the others didn't go much on this walk. I sat for a couple of minutes before returning the way I came. The return trip was much quicker and I was back at my bike half an hour after leaving the summit.
Back at the bike I decided that this trip wasn't as bad as I had worked it up to be. It had actually been a great little solo mission! I jumped on my bike and made my way back to the road for the dawdle up the East Tower. I was back on the road within 20 minutes and heading up the final section of road to the easy East tower walk. As I approached the carpark, I heard rumblings of a car which pulled up at the base of the peak at the same time as me. It was the fire tower attendant! A lovely chap who I had a good chat with. He was heading up for work for the day and was a bit surprised I had already completed the West Tower. 'You doin the Abels?!' he asked.
I headed up the peak (after sneaking through the gate) and checked out the foggy valleys below. The sun was shining, it was 10.00am - what a morning! Two Abels under the belt before breakfast. I spent a few minutes on top before making my way back down and roaring down the road on my bike back to the car. Just under 3 hours exactly since leaving, these Abels that I'd worked up to be a large mission turned out to be an awesome morning adventure! Was back in Lonny by midday after a pleasant drive through the Fingal valley! not sure I'd do the West Tower again but thoroughly recommend it if you haven't been!
STATS (using Suunto Spartan Ultra)
Time: 2hrs 56min