Into the Clouds – The Queens Drive (Part Two)

“A Mish a Day” #44 The Queens Drive – Part Two. Remarkables Conservation Area. 15.2.2013. From a young age I became fascinated with weather. It’s something you can’t avoid so you might as well enjoy it! Many times I have purposely hiked to a location to witness a good storm roll through. As long as you have planned the mission properly, the experience is one of the raw power of mother nature. Usually we find ourselves looking up at the clouds, but for those of us keen enough, a little bit of effort (sometimes a lot!) can get you up into the clouds…

As cool as it is to be up that high, the clouds can become a navigational nightmare, and little did I know I was about to have that exact experience. After getting up to the saddle above Shadow Basin I prepared myself for the trek across the base of the mighty summit pyramid of the Remarkables. The ledge is quite wide, but the drop on the western edge is rather large. Height is a funny thing as it wont do anything to you… it is the sudden stop at the bottom you need to be worried about! Carefully I began to hike and almost as soon as I did clouds engulfed the mountain, reducing visibility to only a few meters. Knowing there was a massive drop to my right, I stuck very left. Every now and then I would get views as the clouds cleared temporarily, and I could see a yacht race on Lake Wakatipu 1700 meters below me. My GPS was a very reassuring way of checking where I was on the mountain. The tricky part of the mission was when I got to the end of the Queens Drive and had to circle back around Double Cone(2319m) to get back to the ski field.

Thanks to the clouds I traversed way too high and found myself climbing up and down bluffs as I aimed for Wye Creek Saddle. As per normal with most of my adventures, unknowingly I had added some drama to spice things up. I got onto Wye Creek Saddle just as (ironically) the clouds cleared. The remainder of the mish was an easy stroll back down the ski field to my car. The Queens Drive was an incredible adventure, and one day I’d like to return to tackle the challenge on a cloudless day. With that said, I am stoked I had traversed the Queens Drive and survived. Good fun, high elevations and plenty of outstanding views are awaiting you on the Queens Drive. Just make sure you head there on a sunny day!

View From Wye Creek Saddle

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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