|Looking back at the Hollow Mountain and Mt Staylton complex from Mt Zero.|
After James and I aborted our attempt on the Hollow Mountain to Mt Stapylton traverse we were left with a few hours up our sleeves before we headed back to reality in Melbourne. Seeing that we were already up at the very northern tip of the Grampians National Park having just finished our climb up Hollow Mountain, we decided to jump back into the ute and take the two minute drive over to the Flat Rock car park and do the short walk up Mt Zero. With this mountain being at the northern tip of the park the views are quite extensive for such a little hill.
|Leaving the car park the track crosses a short swampy section before starting to climb.|
Leaving the ute the route heads back across a swampy section before starting the fairly gentle climb, initially up some steps before a bit later the more traditional Grampians rock slabs. I guess the most notable feature of this walk was probably the amount of wildflowers on display, giving me plenty of chances to practise my macro shots not to mention test out my dodgy leg squatting down and getting up. Once the route reaches the rock its just a matter of following the arrows painted on the rock to the summit, although somewhat confusingly at one stage we were faced with arrows pointing in three different directions, after a bit of a sqiz we worked out that one of the routes bypassed a narrow ravine. Being a bit of a fat bastard myself I did consider the bypass track but where's the fun in that? No, I was keen to experience all that Mt Zero had to offer so squeezed my hefty bulk through the narrow slot, James looking very relieved that he didn't have to get behind me and push my oversized posterior through.
After negotiating the slot, which is probably the crux of the walk, the rest of the stroll was just a straight forward climb. The views back to the south east and Mount Stapylton get quite extensive as you climb and drew the eye every time we stopped for a breather. Once reaching the summit ridge however its the open flat plains of the Wimmera to the north that get your attention, the plains looking a verdant green after good winter rains. After attaining the crest we only had a short rock hop to the north to reach the summit direction dial, not only did it help us identify all the nearby lakes but it also made for a comfortable spot for me to sit while James scurried around the rocky tops trying to get another great photo.
|Hey, hey, Parks Vic had even put a chair on the summit for me.|
We spent probably half an hour on top today, we were lucky in that the weather had more or less cleared so apart from the icy wind it wasn't too bad up on top. Eventually though all good things come to an end and we started our descent back to the ute, like the climb the descent featured a few stops on the way down to take some more photos of the wildflowers. The other notable feature on the descent was the views over to Mount Stapylton, not that I needed any but the views provided plenty of motivation for me to get back and spend some more time in this rugged little pocket of the Grampians National Park. After arriving back at the ute we settled in for the drive back to Melbourne arriving home in the early evening, we might not of achieved the original objective of our trip which was the Hollow Mountain to Mount Stapylton traverse, but we still managed to do three different and diverse little walks over the day, not a bad result really.
This is an easy walk, the only hazard of note is probably once you achieve the summit crest the north facing cliffs need to be respected, there are no safety fences up here (thank god). We walked 3.5 kilometres and climbed 161 metres on our Mt Zero walk. We used the notes out of the old Tyrone Thomas book 80 Walks In The Grampians, although the book is long since out of print. It's a well marked route though so you only really need SV Maps, 1:50,000 Northern Grampians sheet, you're not going to get seriously lost on this little stroll.
|Our intrepid explorers:)|