Cecil Peak(1978m) – I Want to Climb That Mountain (Part Two)

“A Mish a Day” #9 Cecil Peak(1978m) – Part Two. Cecil Peak Station. Eyre Mountains. 13.3.2014. To spend a night in the wilderness in something other than a tent is usually a night to remember. Whether it be in a rock bivouac or makeshift shelter, the experience gives you a primeval feeling and takes you back to the days of the cavemen. With that said, I don’t think cavemen used weatherproof gortex for their shelters?! Our quickly constructed shelter had provided an excellent place to rest for the night and now, recharged, we were ready to tackle the day’s challenging challenge!

An early-ish start the next day had us hiking in the dull light of dawn, straight upwards behind Table Bay Hut towards a small saddle well over a thousand meters above us. We put our quads and calves to work immediately and warmed up quickly, grinding our way up the rock and tussock of Bare Spur on a perfect cool, windless morning. With each step came better views, and this is always a good way to motivate you up steep ground. At one stage we looked down to the lake to see a tiny dot which was the massive steamship (TSS Earnslaw) we had crossed the lake on the day before. The terrain wasn’t too difficult to cover, apart from the fact that it was all uphill. We inched our way towards the saddle, the whole time not seeing our mission objective. The higher we climbed the less vegetation there was, and just before the saddle the weather-beaten area was reduced to bare rock. From the saddle we finally got our first view of the true summit of Cecil Peak(1978m). (The peak seen from Queenstown – often referred to as Cecil Peak – is a separate summit around 300 meters lower.

After dropping down into a small basin below the saddle we crossed over ground above the Three Lagoons, a place I would love to return to and spend a night. After eyeing up the peak from the saddle I found a gully full of loose rock which led to the summit ridge. This wasn’t the safest ground to cover together as the risk of dropping rocks on your partner was extremely high, so in places I would climb on ahead before giving the all clear. Eventually we got onto the south east ridge (summit ridge) and it was one last scramble to the summit. The exposure on the final ridge to the summit gave you the feeling of excitement you either enjoy and repeat over and over again. Or you do once, scare yourself half to death, then never do again! After a couple of small rock steps were surmounted we saw the weather station on the summit, and a few steps later we couldn’t go any higher…

Just Below Cecil Peak’s Rocky Summit

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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