Rescue: Eastern Arthurs, Tasmania

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Rescue from the Eastern Arthurs, South West Tasmania.

In late March 2018 our party of three attempted a crossing of the Eastern Arthurs in south west Tasmania with a plan to ascend via Moss ridge and proceed along the range.

We spent two days tent-bound on Bechervaise plateau below the summit of the imposing Mount Federation.
On the third day the weather improved after lunch, so we quickly packed and proceeded around the base of Mount Federation on the infamous southern traverse. Conditions were cool and misty but we were moving well when one of our party took a tumble from a rocky face and landed heavily face down with neck pain and a badly lacerated thumb.

The possibility of camping on the small ledge where our injured friend lay was considered but dismissed as too dangerous. We redistributed our injured friend’s equipment and managed to proceed for another hour to a safe and sheltered campsite where we considered our options based on weather forecasts and terrain difficulty as outlined in the track notes.

Unless our friend’s pain had eased considerably by morning it was decided we would use our PLB and wait for rescue. At daylight we activated the PLB, set up a tent on the open Thwaites plateau and cooked breakfast.

We had no idea how long a rescue would take but incredibly within two hours we heard the Westpac rescue helicopter from Hobart heading our way. On a perfect autumn day with Mount Federation close by in bright sunshine our friend was whisked away to the Royal Hobart Hospital for assessment.

We had entered all out trip details into the AMSA data base and when our PLB was activated AMSA was able to quickly confirm the veracity of our distress call. Our friend had a broken neck and thumb but is recovering slowly.

Our gratitude for the service that AMSA and the Tasmanian Government provided cannot be overstated.
Our PLB was reliable and easy to use and of such a small size that carrying it was no burden.

Thank you.