Day 3 Adelaide Tarn Hut to Lonely Lake Hut via the high route – 9.5hrs. Sun, sun, sun.
We got up before sunrise to a beautiful clear night sky and quickly warmed up on the way to the ridge above the hut, with Mt Douglas beside us. This gave us a good view of the route we would take sidling below the Teeth and the spur below Anatoki Peak. From here the slabs of rock and sheer streams made the route look too steep to exist, but it’s there somewhere! This section was well cairned or otherwise marked. You knew you were on the right track if you saw a rusted tin can lid with some red on it, or an orange vinyl square. Cairns were the next best thing, but we were led astray by them once.
From the saddle between the Teeth and Mt Douglas the route drops a few meters then sidles west under Mt Douglas. Watch out near here as the low route turns off down into the valley below. We went west and ended up reaching a short scree gully. This was about the extent of the western side of the range we saw, as the route returns to the east of the ridgeline and sidles through some funky beech forest and boulders.
This is where our first navigational mishap happened, all I can say is watch for fairly sharp changes in direction for the next few hours. A helpful soul had flagged most of these with marking tape, and the advice to mentally check if you have seen a cain recently and turn back if you haven’t rang true.
Regaining the route we reached an open rocky slab with snowgrass and a clear view of a long, fresh slip ahead. Enter our second mishap. This one was more forgivable, we got to the slip and there were 2 big ol’ cairns on the other side. We crossed over a slightly sketchy shelf with a worn track and followed the rocky bluff downwards. The written directions perfectly matched this incorrect route, but after dropping packs and scouting in all directions we found the right route – 30m straight up a steep slab above us. In our end of tramp wrap up of the peak, pit, and funky moments, this exposed scramble was Miles’ pit, and the hairiest part of the tramp. Just to encourage you to find the right crossing point!
From this open spur we could see the remains of the wire on the next ridge below the Teeth. The route sidles under it, but continues past into some very steep bush, eventually becoming a hands and feet climb heading straight up.
Emerging onto the ridge we climbed up a gut and onto a set of large slabs below the Dragons Teeth high point. This big section was easy going, and you can scale the high point from here, and potentially camp if you found a flat enough spot! It made a good snack break spot too.