Into the Mist (Part Two) – Eldrig Peak(1595m)

“On a Mish” #36 Into the Mist (Part Two). Eldrig Peak(1595m). Hunter Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 22.11.2013. For a long time I have passionately believed that any day in Aotearoa (South Island) above 1000m is a good one. The environment and atmosphere make for an adventure not easily forgotten. With that said there are risks that come with the altitude, and sometimes they can sneak up on you when you least expect it…

After parking my van at the top of the rough powerline road I followed a well marked track up through a twisted and stunted beech forest which gave me an idea of what the conditions can be like up here sometimes. Above the forest I was into the alpine scrub where foliage no longer hindered my view of the surrounding mountains. This is the type of country I dream of and I was definitely awake!

Mount Burns(1645m)

Before getting onto the upper reaches of the mountain I had to pass through a couple of boggy plateaus which are very good at hiding mud holes. Splash! Now with a single wet boot, sock and lower leg I grumbled my way higher into the alpine world. Luckily the mish quickly took my mind off my misstep. I was much happier once I found more solid ground and my boots were safe from their muddy foe.

The day so far was outstanding, with only the odd white whiff of cloud floating by in the light breeze. Little did I know that those innocent looking fluffy masses of mist were going to show me how quickly they can change a day out in the mountains.

At one point on my journey up I came across an area of white granite sandy rock. Big areas of this type of rock can be seen on the more famous neighbouring Mt Titiroa(1717m), and is often mistaken for snow. This was my first time seeing the stuff up close and it was yet another excellence enhancer on a mish that was ticking all of the awesomeness boxes!

Above the granite sands the ridge narrowed and the difficulty / consequence factor turned up a notch. I decided to go to the main summit of Eldrig Peak(1595m) via the north summit (1498m), and it is safe to say that things got more ‘interesting’ as I carefully negotiated the high ground.

The higher I got the better the views got, or at least that’s what I thought. At one point while I crept up and over another craggy lump a small cloud rolled through and swallowed the visibility for a couple of moments. I had to stop for a second before it continued on its way and I could see where I was going again. I should have taken this as a sign to turn back…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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