Following Sir Ed (Part Two) – Mt Taylor(2333m)

“On a Mish” #5 Following Sir Ed (Part Two). Mt Taylor(2333m). Hakatere Conservation Area. 11.9.2015. It is reassuring to know that some of the world’s best climbers have fine-tuned their skills in Aotearoa. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to stand on top of the world’s tallest mountain (with legendary mountaineer Sherpa Tenzing Norgay), crafted his skills in the mountains of New Zealand. And now one of the peaks on the list of his achievements stood directly in front of me. It is very cool knowing you are following in the footsteps of Sir Ed…

The route to the top of Mt Taylor(2333m) follows the west ridge, but to get onto the ridge I needed to find the rubble-filled access gully. The climbing guidebook said that the gully of loose scree looks a lot worse than it is, and as I approached the gut full of loose rock, I really hoped the guidebook was correct. As written, the gut wasn’t as bad as it looked, and with a few delicate moves over very loose ground I gained the ridge.

Once above the gully and on the ridge the rest of the route to the top was very obvious, and a sight to excite anyone who loves climbing mountains. An obvious way ahead means you can just put your head down and grind your way upwards towards the top.

The west ridge is an excellent scramble, with only a couple of minor peaks to negotiate enroute to the summit. There was only one point where there was a small amount of exposure, and as I crept across a tiny ledge, I watched small rocks falling into the high basin below the ridge. A slip here wouldn’t be advised and I needed to focus on my feet until I got to the other side of the sketchy section.

The outstanding views matched the awesome climb up the mountain, and from my vantage point I could see incredible views in every direction. Being the biggest means you are above everything around and it really adds to the experience. To the south of me stood the jagged giant spike of Mt D’Archiac(2875m), a mountain I have gazed at for many years. Further beyond D’Archiac were the biggest peaks in the South Pacific, all on show thanks to the clear skies. Standing tallest above the other peaks of the South Island was the unmistakable tri-peak ridgeline of Aoraki/Mt Cook(3724m).

This is why I put so much effort into standing on top of uplifted land. Views, effort, and reliving a mish that one of the greatest New Zealanders did makes the adventure so much more special. All that I had to do now was get off the mountain, just like Sir Ed did many years ago…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter