Scott-Kilvert memorial hut is about 5km south from Cradle Mountain, by Lake Rodway, a glacial cirque in the shadow nestled under the soaring dolerite spires of the Little Horn and Weindorfer's Tower peaks of Cradle Mountain. The hut was built as a memorial to a teacher and student who died in 1965, when their school group got caught in a blizzard in the area.
The hut is on the eastern side of the Cradle Mountain park, which is much less visited than the western (Overland Track) side. Once we left the main track, near Ranger Hut, we didn't see anybody until we were returning the next day. Which meant that we had the whole, big, two-room hut to ourselves!
First, of course, we had to get there. From the Dove Lake car park, we followed the Dove Lake circuit on the eastern side of the lake until about 500m along, just past Glacier Rock, where the track branches; follow the track to the left, which climbs diagonally across the face of Mount Campbell, until it reaches a saddle at the north side of Hanson's Peak.
Here, there are two options - the short way, involving a steep scramble over Hanson's Peak - a bit over a 200m climb - or the longer, "easier" way, circling around the glacial lake at the base of Hanson's Peak. Which, as we discovered, isn't as easy as it looks on the map, although probably decidedly more scenic.
The track descends almost to the shore of Lake Hanson, then follows its western shore to the pretty Twisted Lakes, before crossing its outlet creek and climbing up again. The lower track is quite rough: although planking has been laid down at some stage, most of it had deteriorated quite considerably, and even in summer the track was wet and muddy, and quite overgrown in places. After climbing to the ridge, it meets the other route over the steep, bare Hanson's Peak.
Walk south along the ridge to a junction; the track on the right is the Face Track, head left towards Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut. Next to this junction is the Ranger Hut. This is an emergency only hut, but it is a good spot to stop for a rest or lunch break, under the towering peak of the Little Horn.
Past Ranger Hut, the Lake Rodway track enters some beautiful alpine countryside of Pencil Pines and tarns, with the soaring crags of Cradle Mountain behind. Tarns in the area include Artists Pool and Flynns Tarn: here you are requested to keep to the track, so as not to trample the fragile alpine vegetation. The track descends gently to Lake Rodway and Scott Kilvert Hut.
The hut itself is a sizeable A-frame, with a roomy kitchen below, equipped with a coal heater (the supply of coal and kindling is variable, depending on how recently rangers have been able to visit the hut), and a large dormitory area upstairs. Tank water is available, and a composting toilet is discreetly located 100 metres or so away.
The views around the hut are magnificent, and, judging by the Visitor's Book entries, it is visited by maybe two or three people at a time. We had the hut to ourselves that night, apart from some visiting wallabies and pademelons.
Returning the next day, we returned the way we had come, to the Ranger Hut junction, where we opted to cut across the Face Track, and thence down to Dove Lake Circuit and the carpark. Oh, Lord.
I had no idea the Face Track was so high up on the mountain! We were numb with exhaustion and terror most of the way, but by the time we reached the junction to take the short way down to Dove Lake, we had found our "mountain legs", and were really quite enjoying the view.
The climb down, using chains to make our way down almost-cliffs of bare quartzite, should have been the most terrifying of all, but we actually enjoyed it immensely, as you can see in this short video diary
Excuse the shaky camera work: my professional camera is too heavy to carry on long walks, and it's pretty hard to hold a palmcorder steady when you're gasping and wheezing after a long climb!
While things are in winter hibernation, I'll post about some older walks: I can't believe I neglected to write about this walk ...