Mount Cook’s Foot (Part Two) – Mt Wakefield(2058m)

“On a Mish” #149 Mount Cook’s Foot (Part Two). Mt Wakefield(2058m). Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. 18.12.2014. Many times people have looked at a distant summit in poor weather and then instead of retreating to safer ground they choose to go on. Sadly on many occasions it doesn’t end well. As we stood looking at the dark sky we knew the weather was about to take a turn and we were in a rather exposed location…

The main summit of Mt Wakefield(2058m) wasn’t very far, I knew it would still be another hour or so at least. I wasn’t planning on getting stuck high up on the mountain when the storm hit and by the look of the sky around us the storm was only moments away.

Turning back was a tough decision to make in such an incredible spot with the summit ‘just over there’, but a decision we would later be very happy we made.

Watching the cloud interact with the park’s biggest peaks was both mesmerising and frightening as we fled nature’s violent side.

Mt Sefton(3151m) and Mueller Glacier Lake

On our descent we had the wind behind us, pushing us along the ridge with awesome views of Lake Pukaki directly in front of us. From the elevated vantage we could also look down at the tiny squares that are my home and the other buildings of Aoraki / Mt Cook Village. However, the view I couldn’t get enough of was of Mt Sefton(3151m) and the jumble of glaciers on its eastern face. Many times I stopped to look back at the mountain that oversees all in the area.

On the other side of the ridge was a different and equally as stunning view of the Tasman Glacier Lake, and beyond were the brilliant peaks that line either side of New Zealand’s largest glacier.

The rain arrived as we headed back through the Mt Cook Lily garden and this reassured us that we had made the right choice and we had no regrets about turning back when the summit was only an hour or so away.

We kept following the trail as the rain intensity increased and the wind decreased and then stopped.

With no forest to protect us from the rain we got a good drenching before seeing the car, and both of us were looking forward to the dryness it offered. As we got closer to the valley floor, so did the rain clouds on the surrounding mountains, swallowing the views we had enjoyed earlier in the day. Everything had gone to plan, apart from getting caught out in the rain. But this was no issue, at least we got rained on while on the lower section of the mountain instead of being trapped up high while mother nature unleashes her fury!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter