Tough Trails of the Past (Part Two) – Mt Larkins(2300m)

“On a Mish” #6 Tough Trails of the Past (Part Two). Mt Larkins(2300m). Whakaari Conservation Area. Richardson Mountains. 21.3.2014. Being high up in the mountains is good for you. Both your mental and physical being are at peace and you enter a meditative state thanks to the environment and the job at hand. It is like all of the world’s issues have been pushed to one side and all that is left is you and the mountain. We have been given the gift of movement, so why not put that blessing to the test on a mountain or hiking trail?

The night at the hut was a great way to build my anticipation and as I read the guide book I got a real appreciation for the workers who made my hike possible. I have got nothing but love for those who carved in the tough trails of the past.

As described in the Mount Aspiring Climbing Guidebook, I followed the bulldozed tracks to a point where the track disappeared into the mountain. Knowing the route was important here as the way is through the rubble of Larkins Slip. Like a lot of time when I’m out and about, the way through looked near impossible but on closer inspection a route through was found. I’m sure this thing would have happened all the time back when they were creating the tough trails of the past.

Sunrise from Heather Jock Hut

I passed the crumbled remains of what would have been an epic location for a hut (Larkins Slip Hut), unfortunately the building is now just a pile of degenerating wood. I can imagine that many nights were spent in the hut after working to the point of exhaustion back in the mining days. It is good to know that their efforts are still being enjoyed around a century later.

After climbing the slip I finally got my first view of the spiky pyramid of Mt Larkins(2300m). A dominating tower that stands much taller over its neighbouring peak, Mt Alaska(1965m).

Below the west face is the small UFO-like dome of Kelly’s Hut, used during the winter by skiing and climbing parties. I didn’t realise the hut was there so it was a strange experience seeing it and then hiking up to it.

From Kelly’s Hut I strayed from the guidebook for the first time and I picked a rather challenging path up the middle of the face. My route to the summit was via a rocky gully, and it didn’t take long for me to realise why most climb the peak (during the summer) via the west ridge.

At the mid way point things definitely got ‘interesting’.

What started as solid rock quickly became loose chunks of dusty clay. About 50% of the things I grabbed went tumbling down the gully. There were some tense moments when I could feel the ground under my feet starting to slide back down the mountain as I reached for something that would fall apart.

Every now and then when on a mish I wish I could hit the reset button. With bits of the mountain tumbling around me, this was definitely one of those moments…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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