Monday, July 9, 2012

Mt Zeil - NT's highest peak (The State 8)

Last year we'd tried to climb Mt Zeil, but with the summit cairn in sight, had to give up. We had hiked in from Redbank Gorge on a three day hike. This time we had permission from the NT Parks and the local pastoral station.
State 8 Northern Territory's highest peak
Location West MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs
Access Glen Helen Station and West MacDonnell National Park
  1. Gary Weir,

    Deputy Chief Ranger, West MacDonnell National Park

    (08) 8951 8273

    0405 603 152

    Fax (08) 8951 8290
  2. Ian Morton,

    Glen Helen Station - pastoral property (not to be confused with Glen Helen Resort)

    (08) 08 8956 8548

    or (08) 8952 3063
  1. 1:50 000 topographic Special map - contact Rangers at West MacDonnell National Park to obtain.
  2. 1:250 000 SF53-13 Hermannsburg (this map is not sufficient alone, use in combination with 1:50 000 map available from rangers)
Time 4 hours up
Route Follow long western spur
Start elevation 650m
Peak elevation 1531m

We drove the three hours in from Alice Springs, along the Tanami Track, Gary Junction Road (Papunya Road), then on station tracks through Glen Helen Station to the base of the western spur of Mt Zeil.

With the pre-dawn moon, we hiked across the plains to the base of the spur. As day broke, we climbed up to the plateau some 380 above the plains (at 1070m). There are various routes to choose from to access the grassy plateau. From here we tried following the official route provided by Parks NT, which is to skirt around the ridge peaks. We found this to be tricky: it was harder to navigate, psychologically harder, harder to walk on a constant side incline, and having to dodge obstacles such as patches of rocks or denser vegetation. Soon, we instead followed the ridge, it was much easier. It was easier to navigate, and the ridgeline was clearer of rocks and vegetation.

Reaching the summit in four hours, and whilst filling in the logbook, updated my Facebook status - yes, there was Telstra NextG coverage.

This summitting was my second attempt, I had tried last year to come in from Redbank Gorge as a three day trip, but did not quite reach the summit.

This was part of Ricky, Paul and my State 8 challenge - to hike the highest summit in each of Australia's eight states and territories. For all of us, this was Number Six, although we differ in which ones remain.

Thanks to my traveling companions, Ricky and Paul, and some of their photos are included below.

View photos on Google+.

View in full screen format
PERMISSION IS REQUIRED, and highly recommended, to access and climb this peak. Detailed maps and advice will also be provided when permission is granted.
Download GPX file of Mt Zeil climb - for use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit
Download KML file of Mt Zeil climb - view in Google Earth


Mt Zeil
Up Down
Distance 10.3km 10.1km
Start Time 6.08am 11.52am
End Time 11.04am 3.14pm
Moving Duration 3h17m 2h52m
Total Time 4h47m 3h22m
Moving Average 3.1km/h 3.5km/h
Overall Average 2.1m/h 3.0km/h


Jim Happ said...

This walk is on my list as well. My plan is to come in from the south east, using information supplied by Meg McKone of the Canberra Bushwalking Club; you go to Mt Razorback first; there are several waterholes scattered around that peak; then launch out to the SW edge of Zeil, where there may be a waterhole in a gully .Louis.Philipe Loncke used this route, based on Meg's information, on his fast trek from Mt Zeil to The Alice. John Chapman has been sharing his info with me as well, and plans to do it the same way as Meg.
I can send you the info.

Sean Parker said...

Thank you for sharing the statistics with us to give the exact idea.
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Jason Martin said...

Loved this peak, love to head towards it.
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Unknown said...

Hi Jim
I’d love to get your track notes with references from Meg and Chapman - are you able to share them with me please? Thanks, Karen

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