Chamois and Glissading (Part Two) – Mt Bealey(1836m)

“A Mish a Day” #29 Mt Bealey(1836m) – Part Two. Arthurs Pass National Park. 1.10.2014. To be high up on an exposed snow covered mountain ridge and have your crampons and ice axe working in perfect unison is about as good as it gets for me. The fresh alpine air floods your lungs with purity, and your eyes are treated to the wonder of a world high above any resemblance of civilization. When the air is still and the sky is clear, you tend to forget that this is only temporary weather up this high, and as much as you want to, you can’t stay up here forever. It’s best to just enjoy your luck and store as much as you can of the area’s beauty into your memory bank for later…

High up on Mt Bealey(1836m) I felt like the luckiest person on the planet, with nothing but blue sky above and a ridge in perfect condition in front of me. The east ridge of Mt Bealey(1836m) took me directly to the summit, and I got to the top after a couple of solid hours of plugging through deep snow. As difficult as it is, it is always special to be the first footsteps in the snow, as no one had been up the mountain since the last snowfall. With calves and quads screaming STOP, I pushed aside the last of the mountain’s snow before more uphill travel was no longer possible. Mt Bealey’s excellent position makes for incredible views of the surrounding area, and the weather made the views even better. I soaked in the epic view from the top of the Arthurs Pass National Park giant while having a well earned snack. What goes up must come down, so to make the descent more interesting I glissaded down (slid on my butt) from the summit into the upper basin.

Looking Down at the Waimakariri River from the Summit

Within a few exciting short moments I had covered the distance that had taken me hours to walk up. I had taken my crampons off so I could side down the mountainside easier, but had to put them back on to climb back up to the ridge after getting a bit carried away and sliding too far down the southern side of the mountain. This was a little bit gutting after all the effort of the morning, and the legs were getting tired as the day went on. Oh well, more training I guess! I followed the last of the ridge back down, and finally got out of the snow and onto the exposed rock on the ridge just above the treeline. After removing my crampons for the last time, I followed the well marked track back through the forest to the roadside, and then made my way back to the cottage in Arthurs Pass Village. I would have loved to stay longer and climb another peak from the comfort of the cottage. But life had caught back up with me and as I had work the next day I chucked all my wet gear in the car and drove back to Christchurch. Once again the Arthurs Pass area had provided the ingredients needed for an epic meal of mountain satisfaction. And once again with some effort I had cooked up a stew in my mountain memory bank that I would be devouring until the next mish…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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