Cecil Peak – I Want to Climb That Mountain (Part Three)

“A Mish a Day” #9 Cecil Peak(1978m) – Part Three. Cecil Peak Station. Eyre Mountains. 14.3.2014. A summit is a strange point in a mission. You are only half finished and yet you feel the need to celebrate. A game isn’t over at halftime, and what goes up MUST come down. It seems easy to think “I got up this so I can get down it” but sometimes your brain tries to reject that statement when you are peering over the edge of a gnarly steep section of terrain. Not saying that I didn’t enjoy standing on top of Cecil Peak(1978m), but the show isn’t over until you are looking at your photos back at home!

With that said it sure was good to finally be standing on top of the iconic Queenstown peak. And to increase the awesomeness, the day was just perfect for climbing mountains. From the summit I could see the southern end of Lake Wakatipu, and all the peaks of the Hector Mountains and The Remarkables. In the opposite direction stood the huge peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park, located at the northern end of the lake. From lake to summit it is more than 1.6 vertical kilometers, and the lake sure did look far away from the top of the mountain. Because the weather was so good we savored the summit success for about 20 very quick minutes, had a feed, and then mentally prepared ourselves for 1600 plus meters of downhill.

The loose rock on the mountain provided some delicate down-climbing in places. Like on the way up, there were some points where we climbed one at a time so we didn’t send showers of rocks down on each other. After the last scramble down the access gully we were away from the dangers of loose rocks and it was good to get to the saddle above Three Lagoons Basin. On the way down I got a chance to take in the view down Bare Spur of Lake Wakatipu over 1400 meters below, with the TSS Earnslaw just a small dot cruising the calm waters. Once back down in Table Bay, packing up our camping gear and the small walk back to Walter Peak Station to catch the TSS Earnslaw seemed too far for our very tired bodies. So we spent one more night at our outstanding lakeside camp, and savoured the sweet flavour of success. Early-ish the next morning we were up early so we could get the first boat back across the lake, and once again we had a stunning bluebird day. For a couple of explorers used to Fiordland weather, we couldn’t believe our luck with the weather. Coming back from a mission is always the most important thing, but to return after a successful summit is even better! After dismantling the bivouac we hiked back to Walter Peak Station, and once back on the boat we looked a little bit out of place when compared with the other passengers, with our big packs and battle scars. Just another day in the life of a couple of wilderness addicts!!

Sunsetting on an Excellent Day Out in the Mountains

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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