On Day 4 of the six-day Overland Track hike, I had the opportunity to climb Mount Ossa. Mount Ossa is the highest mountain in Tasmania and part of the Pelion Range, a group of picturesque Dolerite mountains within Cradle Mountain National Park. The side-trip to Ossa begins at Pelion Gap. Unfortunately it was a foggy day with some patches of light rain in the morning along the way to Pelion Gap. However, with no rain forecast for the afternoon our guides assessed that it would be safe to summit Ossa for anyone who was keen. Half the group declined, reasoning that the trip would not be worth the effort with visibility so poor. For me, it was more about the journey than the destination, so of course I decided to go for it!

From Pelion Gap, the side-trip first took us to the ‘saddle’ between Mount Doris and Ossa. Along the way there was a tremendous variety of vegetation to admire.

Near Mount Doris - this gives you some idea of how poor visibility was

The whole group did that part of the walk but the non-Ossa climbers turned around at that point and headed back to Pelion Gap and on to Kia-Ora hut to set up camp for the night. The rest of the walk included a goat-track near the bottom, boulder scrambling towards the summit, and a flat track along the top of the mountain towards the summit. None of the climb was especially challenging and, with the group being quite small, we were able to move quite quickly and were up and back to Pelion Gap in around two hours.

Along the goat track - hello up there?

The vegetation on this part of the walk was stunning!

The boulder scrambling was slightly more challenging than the Cradle summit as less of it was set into the mountain so you had to approach some of them with caution, not knowing for sure just how stable the rocks were sitting.

Scrambling higher - still can’t see much!

That’s a big rock!

This is the top of Ossa

Very impressive ice cap at the top of Ossa

It was very cold at the summit, but we did stay long enough to refuel with some jelly snakes - yum!

Amazingly, on the way down it did clear a bit - it was like Nature’s curtain being pulled back slightly to reveal some beautiful glimpses of the Pelion Range.

Highlights of the descent ...

In my opinion this is another side trip well worth the effort, especially if you enjoy physical challenges - if you do, this will also help to avoid disappointment if visibility is poor! It’s hard to beat the feeling of satisfaction after summiting a mountain! One should however be fairly confident that the weather is not going to take a turn for the worse as I have read that it gets dangerous in unfavourable conditions. If in doubt, stay safe!