Awesome Undulation (Part Two). Mt Sebastopol(1468m)

“On a Mish” #303 Awesome Undulation (Part Two). Mt Sebastopol(1468m). Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. 27.9.2015. Less than 300 people live in Aoraki Mt Cook Village. Around ten years ago for about five months I was one of those lucky humans. I could open the door to the little flat I lived in and immediately see some of New Zealand’s best undulation. After leaving my life in the central South Island I headed South to tackle Tuatapere and the Humpridge Track. But on the drive south from Christchurch, Aoraki drew me in for one last adventure before a life on the South Coast…

Undulation, or a good old fashion uphill hike, is an excellent way to warm up on a chilly morning. There are only a couple of flat spots on the Red Tarns Track, and this was a good thing for me as it was brisk, and I needed to warm up. By the time I got to the top of the track the blood was pumping and the temperature was no issue at all.

I had to pause to take in the reflections of Aoraki on the still, semi-frozen water. I loved hiking this track when I lived here, and while taking in the grandeur I had memories of loading guests into a helicopter at the tiny Mt Cook Airport, knowing they were about to have their minds blown by being up close to Aoraki and his glacier covered brothers.

After the tarns came the real grunt. A gut leads to the base of the bluffs near the summit of Sebastopol, and the path up has been beaten by the many who wanted more than just a mission to the Red Tarns.

Mt Annette and the Sealy Range

I got to the summit and still had some time up my sleeve. I had surprised myself by how quickly I had climbed the mountain so I had around thirty minutes or so to see how far along the ridge behind the peak I could get. The ridge rises to join the Sealy Range near Mt Annette, and some keen alpinists turn the trip into a loop by visiting Mueller Hut at the top of the ridge. As much as I wanted to do that mish my time had run out, and it was time to return to my car.

I made the descent interesting by taking a scree-slide shortcut. Slip-sliding down the rocky slope was fun for me but not so enjoyable for my boots! My scree-slope adventure had taken me to a point where I could sidle over to the tarns, and then it was an easy trot back to reality.

Leaving the village was a challenge. The cloudless day was one that all visitors want, and when the weather is like this you can do so many different hikes, climbs or even just some good old fashion sightseeing. Aoraki Mt Cook is the perfect place for a hike and if you take on a challenge with some undulation involved not only will you increase your fitness, but you will get some of the best alpine views on the planet!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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