Nicoles Needle, The Franklin - Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Image by Peter Dombrovskis uniquely remastered for Wild Island.
Printed by master fine art printer Simon Olding on Canson Platine Fibre Rag, 100% Cotton Rag archival paper.
The Frenchmans Cap region is a striking and dominant mountain complex, bounded to the north and west by the great valley of the Franklin River and sculptured by Pleistocene glaciation. Tarns nestle high on the shoulders of the mountain and dark lakes are set in rich rainforest, which rises from the valley floor to terminate beneath walls and towers of white quartzite. Frenchmans Cap is one of the wettest places in Tasmania, with an annual rainfall of around 400cm per year. Rain falls on 2 out of every three days in summer, and more frequently in other seasons!
But, like much of western Tasmania, Frenchman’s Cap has been devastated by wildfire, most notably in 1966 when a roadworkers fire burnt from the Lyell Highway, and again in 1980 when a campfire escaped from Lake Vera, destroying thousands of hectares of rainforest and ancient and fragile highland native pine forest. Regeneration of alpine plants is extremely slow and, in the case of the King Billy pines, decades after these fires, there are still no young seedlings in localities where all the parent trees were killed.
In February 1935 Geoffrey Chapman and Mac Urquhart led the first ascent of Frenchmans Cap. Nicoles Needle was named in honour of a member of that trip, the first female to climb to the summit of Frenchmans Cap, an otherwise untraced French woman named Nicole!