Updated: Feb 24, 2019
A quick overnight trip afterwork to knock off another Abel. The team from the previous weeks overnighter to Cummings head gathered in Launceston again at about 4pm and hit the road towards Meander yet again. After an hours drive we were near the top of Smoko Road and at the trailhead that leads to Mother Cummings head in one direction and Ironstone Mountain in the other.
Ironstone Mountain at 1444m qualifies as an Abel, so it would be nice to knock another one off on this quick jaunt. We left the carpark by about 5.30pm and after crossing a lovely little creek, started the steady climb firstly on the last section of Smoko Road. It wasn't long before we hit the trail proper and diverged onto the Chasm Falls track which leads on to Ironstone Mountain. Walking through some beautiful rainforest we reached Chasm falls after 20 minutes or so. I hadn't read anything about this walk and was surprised how spectacular the forest walk was. We followed a small river the whole climb and Chasm falls, which we crossed on a narrow log, was awesome - while crossing the log you look straight down the 'chasm' to the falls. A drop of about 15 metres or so.
After taking in the falls we continued walking and after about another hour through the forest, reached the plateau to see the sun low on the horizon. We could now see Ironstone Mountain clearly and it looked further away than we thought it would be. Having said that, now that the main climb was over, I didn't think it would take that long. We followed a roughly cairned route through the scrub until we reached a flat exposed area where the scrub receded and gave way to some small open areas. From here the route wasn't that well defined so we took a line and started on the final climb in a south westerly direction towards the summit plateau.
The walking up here was great with bands of scrub and scree. It took us no time at all to reach the summit plateau and it was about another 20 minutes from here to the trig point. We arrived on the summit at around 8.15pm as the sun was beginning to set (just under 3 hours walk time) and took a few quick photos. The wind chill was really starting to cool us off so we thought it best to return along the plateau asap to find a sheltered campsite we had passed shortly before. We turned around and took about 15 minutes to find a great little campsite just east of the summit. The site was nice and sheltered from the westerly wind and we were all set up with dinner on the go by 9pm, just as we said goodnight to the sun. After a massive meal of Alps and Amici Turmeric Chicken and Cous cous we tucked into bed. It was bloody cold outside and we had an early start so it was off to bed.
We arose when it was still dark at 5.15am the next morning and were packed up, ready to go at around 5.45. With the wind still blowing, we quickly strolled along the plateau then off the mountain, retracing the route we had come up on the night before. The walk back down beside the river was great again and by 8.15am were back at the car. This was a great short walk and with the range of different routes offered from the Smoko Road starting point, I'll be heading back this way again!
STATS (using a Suunto Ambit3)
Time 3hrs 15min
Time 2hrs 15min
Gallery of the walk below