Frozen Boots (Part Two) – Cameron Range (Peak 1936m)

“A Mish a Day” #66 Cameron Range(1936m) Part Two. Hakatere Conservation Area. 2.5.2014. For some reason I absolutely love a totally frozen environment. Winter provides the goods, you just need to be ready to put up with the chill. Many people don’t like winter and crave the heat of summer. Personally, I have always enjoyed seeing my breath in the air and snow covering the mountains. I welcome the cold with a puffer jacket and arms wide, however every now and then winter reminds me who is in charge…

Before I could begin my climb of Peak 1936m I had to hold my totally frozen boots over my campfire. I had to do this for over half an hour before I could force my feet into the clumps of ice posing as boots. And after I had finally thored my footwear I could begin moving and begin my adventure. My campsite was at 1004m, so I had a lot of altitude to gain to reach the summit. After a couple of hours plodding along in my crampons, I slowly zigzagged my way up the east face of the mountain. The views increased with each step and this was good motivation to keep me climbing upwards towards the summit. The last scramble to the top was interesting as the terrain steepened dramatically compared to the reasonably easy face I had been climbing for the last couple of hours. I encountered a small section of loose rock with a layer of fresh loose snow on top and this provided some last minute thrills before reaching the small rounded mound that is the top of Peak 1936m. The summit was an awesome experience as I had a unique view of Mt Arrowsmith and the Arrowsmith Range, and also further south was the peaks of the Wild Mans Brothers Range. It is strange doing something where the ‘goal’ is only halfway through the journey. Take in the view but don’t linger too long, as this isn’t a place for humans and I was lucky enough to time everything perfectly to be allowed to stand on the top. I was down to the valley floor quickly as the face was perfect for glissading, and a 4 hour climb up went by with a few adventurous slides. Once back at camp I relaxed beside the fire, had a feed and watched the sun setting behind the Arrowsmiths. And as the sun vanished the cool night air began to fill the valley with the chill of winter.

Early-ish the next day it was obvious my weather window was over, with dark grey skies and Hogs Back (lenticular) clouds rolling over Mt Arrowsmith from the west. Job done and time to get outta here! I hurried back down the valley, and as I hiked I came across a University group from America. They were coming up the valley to camp and study, and they weren’t pumped about the three days of heavy rain in the forecast. I wished them ‘good luck’ and continued on hiking in the drizzle down valley to my car at the Cameron Valley car park. I don’t think my feet will ever forget this mission, and my poor old toes have never been the same since! Was it worth it… ABSOLUTELY!!

Another pleasant evening in the Cameron Valley

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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