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Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2020 4:09 pm
by guyburns
With the help of several old-timers who were members of the Launceston Walking Club in the 1950s, I'm trying to reconstruct a trip from Clark Dam to Maydena at Christmas 1952, using the colour slides by Lindsay Crawford and the B&W negatives by Dave Pinkard as my guide.

I'm up to Day 6 when they did a day trip to Flame Peak (from a camp north of Innes High Rocky), and I want to make sure I know exactly were the attached photo was taken. Once I know that, I can probably work out where all the other photos were taken that day. I have labelled certain points as A, B, C... H, and want to match those points on the photo with the same points on GE and LIST.

CL188 (below) was taken from the approach to Flame Peak. Also attached is a GE image and a LIST image.
• For LIST, the points are suffixed with a "1", so A1, B1, C1...
• For GE: A2, B2, C2...
• For the photo itself: A3, B3, C3...

I'm particularly interested in the exact location of B, C and H because they appear in several photos at various distances. And I'd like confirmation that CL188 was taken from near point F.
I'd be most appreciative if responders make comments like:

"Yes, all the B's are the same point", or
"No, Flame Peak is visible, it's the peak…"

This is CL188:
CL188 (Forum).jpg

Flame Peak (Map).jpg

Flame Peak (GE).jpg

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2020 8:23 pm
by north-north-west
By Flame Peak, do you mean the Abel (highest point on the Spires Range) or the lower one a little closer to The Font, which is what the name is now used for?

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 12:24 am
by guyburns
I'll go by the correct terminology – whatever is now officially known as Flame Peak. Is the name applied to different peaks in the same general area?

One of the reasons I'm having difficulty locating features in the Flame Peak area, is that I cannot locate the large depression seen in the photo below. I cannot match the depression with topo contours. Any suggestions as to where that depression is located on GE or LIST? It looks rather large, it should have been mapped.

CL201. My best estimate is the photo was taken from 1.5km NE of the pointy bits above.
CL201 (Forum).jpg

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 10:19 am
by north-north-west
There have been changes in nomenclature and a great deal of confusion. Even ListMap hasn't been entirely consistent on it.
If you go by the HWC's Peakbagging guide and Bill Wilkinson's Abels guide, The 1122m high point is simply The Spires, and Flame Peak is the 1089m bump immediately SE of it.

SpiresMap.jpeg (153.85 KiB) Viewed 3601 times

But most maps show Flame Peak as the 1122m Abel, and the other unnamed. In your image, I'm fairly sure C3 is what those guides call Flame Peak - the 1089m lump - and H3 is probably the 1122m Abel.

As for your depression - it looks like a big rock with a big shadow to me. Maybe I need to zoom in on it a bit more.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 2:08 pm
by Azza
This photo is looking towards G and F from the high spot on ridge D
In your post:

C is the flame.
A is not the flame.
A through to H are the 3 bumps on the spires, with the highest one being the southern most.
The List Maps aren't real accurate in the summit area of the spires.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 2:14 pm
by Azza
Look from the top of the spires at your depression on the ridge line. Its not really a depression its just a dip in the ridge before the last rocky outcrop.


Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 3:43 pm
by eggs
I think your first photo was taken from G.
In your second photo G is the rocks to the left of your arrow, which means your depression is the shadow on the rock on the next ridgeline.
So the depression is actually a valley between the 2 ridges.

Second photo view - note the 2 ridgelines and your depression circled

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2020 10:20 pm
by guyburns
Thanks for the replies.
Best to forget about the "depression" idea, that's just a confusing aside.

Now onto the real matter: Flame Peak. What I mean by Flame Peak is the 1122m peak labelled "Flame Peak" on the LIST map.

It seems to me that "C" cannot be Flame Peak. When viewed from F1 (and I'm pretty sure that CL188 was taken from there or nearby):
    C1 (1089m) is on the left
    B1 (a narrow spire) is in the middle, and
    E1, a rocky ridge, rises away from the photographer slightly on his right side, angling into the centre and leading to H1.
A1 (Flame Peak), which is further away, may be visible, it may not.

Ques 1
Are all the C's the 1089m spot height? Seems to me to be the case.

Ques 2
The narrow spire in the middle, isn't that the B's?

Ques 3
Is the summit of Flame Peak visible in CL188 or CL201? Tricky, because of the perspective.

Ques 4
Does anyone have a photo showing the summit Flame Peak (my A), the middle spire (my B), and the 1089m spot height (my C)?
Please post any such photo, saying where it was taken from, and in which direction it is looking.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 9:13 am
by north-north-west
This is a pano, looking north from White Pyramid, showing False Dome, all the higher towers and the 1089m peak:

Sp080 copy.jpg

This is from False Dome, concentrating on the towers and the intervening ridge:

Sp113 copy.jpg

I didn't gt out to Innes High Rocky on that trip, so someone else will have to supply those photos. Nothing I have from near the Font shows the higher towers, just the 1089m peak.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 9:24 am
by north-north-west
What we are saying - and I'm going to leave names and concentrate on spot heights - is that C is 1089m. 1122m is A, not visible in the photo but hidden behind H.

Peakbaggers/Abellists - and most people who go there these days fall into those categories - consider Flame Peak to be 1089m. Both that and the 1122m high point are on the lists. So if you stick to your interpretation of the name, you're going to get a lot of confusion.
Which reminds me - didn't we look at some other images of the Spires area and identify various lumps? Well, what we were calling Flame is the 1089m, not the 1122m high point. So that material may need amendment to be consistent.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 11:46 am
by stepbystep
To save all confusion, Flame Peak has the orange 'flamelike' feature in the rock face above the Font. Definitely the 1089m peak, best to ignore the Tasmap.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 5:37 am
by guyburns
Stepbystep and north-north-west have been a great help with their photos taken from north and south. Gives me a much better idea of the terrain. Thanks.

In another thread I had asked about the location of certain images from the early 1950s when I didn't recognize places. The Flame came up briefly, but that was it's only mention.
Now I need a more detailed understanding of the area to be able to reconstruct the 1952 trip and write the commentary. And that has led me to an interesting finding, a finding which will become a part of the AV script.

But first up a few questions:

Ques 1
Dave took a panorama from the top of a gully in the area of Flame Peak, PD151 (below). The peak on the left, is that my "C", now commonly (but incorrectly) called Flame Peak?

Ques 2
The summit of the official Flame Peak (my "A"), that's off photo on the right, isn't it?
PD151 Pan.jpg

Ques 3
From where Betty Seaton is standing in the photo below, what is the probable route the 1952 party would have followed?

• Walk to the right and mosy on south towards Ridge E3.
• At some point before Ridge E3, head east to pick up the central gully.
• Climb that gully, getting a view of The Font on the way.
• Keep climbing the gully till they reached B3, close to where PD151 was taken.

Does that sound about right?
CL188 (Forum).jpg

Ques 4
The party climbed a peak that day, and Dave took a photo (PD148, below). What is the most likely peak they climbed:
• The official Flame Peak (my "A")?
• the unofficial Flame Peak (my "C")
• or some other peak nearby?

To put it another way, given a party of 5 men and 3 women, all in their 20s, keen bushwalkers but not rock climbers (except Dave), without ropes, what would they have climbed -- what would they have been able to climb -- to get a good view after they had reached the base of "B3"?

Chris Binks' annotations to his mid 1950s map, made after his trips to The Spires in Jan 51 and 54, makes no mention of Flame Peak. It's an interesting map. It names Southern Needles (Diamond Peak), North Peak (Observation Peak), Conical Mt, Shining Mt, and he moves the name Mt Curly to another peak and replaces the map's Mt Curly with North Star. But no mention of "The Flame".

West Coast (Binks).jpg

Skyline #7, Sept 1956
Keith Lancaster, in a hand-drawn map on page 39 (see crop below), names:
High Spire, 3660' (1115.6m). The location and height (within 5m of the present figure) says that High Spire is today's official Flame Peak (my "A").
Double Spire, 3650'. Unnamed today, my "H"?
Outer Spire, 3550' (1082.0m). The location and height says that this is my "C", today's commonly called (but unofficial) Flame Peak.
The Flame, a small pinnacle between the others.

The Flame (1956).jpg

The accompanying article written by Dave Pinkard, says:

The High Spire is one of the Spiral Cluster, the imposing group of four sharp peaks assembled at the northern end of the main range of The Spires. Only a few yards away to the N.E. lies the double-headed Spire, but it is necessary to descend to a narrow razor-backed col before tackling this further climb. Eastward is the Outer Spire, which overhangs the West Gell valley and this can be gained by descending a steep gully on the eastern side of Double Spire for about 200 ft and then traversing around at the first opportunity. Between the Outer Spire and Double Spire rises the smaller member of the Cluster –- The Flame –- but what it lacks in size is compensated by its sheer ruggedness… A sketch of The Flame appears on the left of the front cover of Skyline #5.

And here's the cover, showing The Flame (my "B") on the left:

Skyline #5.jpg

Tasmanian Tramp #16, Dec 1963
On page 70 is a description of a trip to The Spires. Below is an excerpt:

With The Spires as our destination, next morning we departed camp at 6:30am and soon were atop a small rise overlooking the Gell River. We crossed a small plain before ascending a narrow climbing ridge [my "E"?] under a grotesquely-shaped peak known as "The Flame". Soon the party was spread out on the ridge all looking for an easy way to the top of the main Spire. Unable to find one, we descended a precipitous gully, between the rock walls of the peak. Reaching the valley once more… before commencing a torrid ascent of another peak of The Spires, known as The Camel.

The description is rather lurid -- and incorrect. The use of the name "The Flame" was being applied, most likely, to the jumble of peaks north of today's official Flame Peak. It appears the HWC party passed through the area of Flame Peak without climbing any peaks, instead moving straight on to The Camel. This vague description has led to a naming error -- if you are of the mind that original names should be retained where possible.

Nomenclature Board
At meeting #157 (year?) of the Nomenclature Board, Flame Peak was officially named:
Was The Flame. One of The Spires, Tasmanian Tramp Number 16, page 70.

Looks to me like everybody's wrong about Flame Peak – except Dave Pinkard and the original namer, probably Keith Lancaster. I'm open to correction on that last assertion.
The Nomenclature Board named a peak from a vague description by a HWC party, and applied it to the wrong peak. I'm not criticising; that's just what appears to have happened.

I quite like the idea of the mis-naming. It makes for a more interesting story when I finally write the script for this Xmas 1952 trip. It allows me to expand the story to include Skyline and Tramp, and introduce Dave's B&W photo of "The Flame" which became a painting for a Skyline cover.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 10:13 am
by north-north-west
Question 1: Yes.
Question 2: Yes.
Question 3: Dunno. But if you're new to an area you tend to take the most obviously straightforward line, and there's a good connecting ridge all the way from Innes High Rocky to those towers. The route down to The Font . . . we found a bit of a pad going down the obvious line from a small, high saddle. The line is obvious on the maps, but that photo makes it look very different. It was steep, but surely not as steep as it appears there?
Question 4: Both C and A are easy enough climbing, just straighforward scrambles and steep step-ups. C is most commonly climbed directly from The Font although it can also be done from the high connection with the main towers, and would have been the quickest to summit. A is further and harder; easiest from the west or south, but there are other routes as well.
Depends on the party's available time, attitudes and general goals. Some people have always tended to be a bit obsessive about hitting high points, peakbaggers list or not. Some just want a good view, some are more into general exploration. Best views are from A or one of its companion towers; the western terrain is blocked from C by the higher ridge. I'd have gone for whatever looked like the highest point which, without an accurate map, may not have been obvious to those approaching from the north. They may have had a frustrating time climbing one tower and finding a higher beyond (we all know that feeling, don't we?).
But if that shot of the walkers is them on their summit, it looks a lot like your tower H.

With regard to the names: they change. Look at what's happened with Mother Cummings, for instance. There's an old map of the Wilmot/Frankland Ranges that has some confusing names (and omissions).
We now have three lumps that have, at some stage, been called Flame Peak/The Flame. Maybe it's time to sort those names out for good and relabel everything there? The Spires summit certainly deserves a name of its own.

eta: And if you're going the "use the original name" route . . . well, there are three recorded Aboriginal names for Frenchmans. We need to use at least one of them. Move the name Parmeener back to what it really belongs to - Western Bluff. Heaps of other places for which we have recorded Aboriginal names, so there's one hell of a lot of corrective renaming that needs to be done.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 4:14 pm
by Azza
If you zoom out on theList you will see the new 1:50000 maps have Flame Peak marked 'more' correctly.
The old 1:25k maps are not maintained so a lot of errors aren't ever corrected.
Admittedly there isn't a lot of detail.

PD148 - I have summit photos of both High Spire (A) and Flame Peak (C) where I can almost convince myself it could be either.
I'll dig those photos out.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 8:05 pm
by Azza
I had a photo of myself standing on high spires but I'm far from convinced.

This is on top of Flame Peak (C) still far from convinced.
I don't know if the perspective in PD148 makes it look higher than it is.


Question 3.
The current route is up the gully from the Font to the saddle at B3.
Getting up H3 (Twin spires) from ridge E3 didn't look straightforward from the top, but photo PD151 certainly looks a lot like its taken somewhere along E3 going towards the top of H3.
I have photos from High Spires and it looking at the back of the thing sticking up marked B3.
I don't remember there being a clear view of B3/C3 from the top of H3.

Re: Xmas 1952: Clark Dam to Maydena

PostPosted: Thu 28 May, 2020 9:44 pm
by north-north-west
My summit shots don't really show the rocks just below. But there's more vegetation up there than in PD148:
The attachment d-28702 copy.jpg is no longer available

eta: This one shows it better:
d-28702 copy.jpg