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

“A Mish a Day” #9 Cecil Peak(1978m) – Part One. Cecil Peak Station. Eyre Mountains. 12.3.2014. Cecil Peak(1978m) is the mountain I hear a lot of people say “I really wanna climb that mountain one day”. Most look at the peak from Queenstown not realising that they are looking at only a minor summit (Peak 1670m), and the actual summit isn’t visible from the town and is over 300 meters higher. I attacked the mountain with my girlfriend at the time (also a lover of uphill travel!), and even before crossing Lake Wakatipu we were making sure the climb was all good with the owners of the properties we had to cross to access the peak…

After getting the all clear from the land owners we were off on our adventure. The plan was to spend a night at Table Bay, then climb the peak the next day. Crossing over the lake on the historic TSS Earnslaw is an amazing way to begin a mission, and it was safe to say we looked a little out of place with our big packs and climbing gear. After the drop off at the popular high country farm and restaurant Walter Peak Station, we followed the lake’s edge to the rather rundown Table Bay Hut – not as popular. The only man made accommodation in the area was Table Bay Hut, but it was fully booked for the night(s) by a large gang of the local rats. Not wanting to share our food with the locals, we opted to camp on the lakeside. I constructed a makeshift bivvy out of driftwood and other materials I could find around Table Bay. The shelter turned out to be far better than the hut, a good thing as it was going to be our home for the next two nights. After sorting out shelter, we then turned our attention to food, and after dinner spent the evening watching the lights of busy Queenstown and the cars driving on the Glenorchy Road. All guidebooks we had come across pointed to Bare Spur as the best way up the mountain. Bare Spur rises up out of Lake Wakatipu over 1400 meters to a saddle near the true summit of Cecil Peak(1978m).

Knowing this would be a rather epic uphill battle, we needed a good sleep before the mish, and our carefully constructed camping spot provided the best place to get some much needed shut eye. The other side of Lake Wakatipu is a strange place in the sense that, on one side you have New Zealand’s busiest tourist town, then on the other you have a place that rarely sees visitors. The night was clear and calm, and above us were countless stars glistening just like the flat surface of Lake Wakaktipu. The cold forced us to retreat to our little bivvy, and the makeshift shelter provided an excellent and unusual accommodation location. In the peace and quiet of Table Bay we drifted off to sleep to the sound of the lake lapping the shore, both with thoughts of the next day’s adventure…

View from Table Bay

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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