It’s Not Going to Snow, It’s December (Part Two) – Upper Wye Creek Camp

“A Mish a Day” #204 It’s Not Going to Snow, It’s December – Part Two. Upper Wye Creek. Remarkables Conservation Area. 16.12.2016. The snow was thick on the southern side of the saddle, and the fresh white powder hid all the holes amongst the rocks below the saddle, making travel slow. We came across a large rock which offered some shelter from the wind, and this is where camp was going to be set up, and set up in a hurry. There is nothing like the challenge of pitching a tent in high winds, and after a battle with the elements the tent was up, and there was finally shelter from the storm…

The next couple of hours were spent in the tent warming back up and eating. The whole time the tent’s fabric flapped about in the strong wind and snow. Later in the afternoon the wind finally died down, and the skies cleared to a very pleasant, chilly evening in a very dramatic landscape (crazy to think it was summer!). It was at this point, when reflecting on the epic day, that I realised how similar this was to a mission in the middle of winter and that meant a very photographic scene. It was also at this point we were very happy to have extra warm clothing with us. As the evening rolled on the skies cleared and we were treated to the twinkle of frost on the ground and the twinkle of stars above. The location couldn’t have been any different to the hussle and bussle of Queenstown, which was only a few kilometres away. Time to retreat to the warmth of our sleeping bags and get some rest after an unexpected epic day out.

A calm evening after our eventful day

An early-ish start the next day was greeted with a glorious sunrise on a snow-covered Single Cone(2319m), which brought a smile to my face a mile wide. After some breakfast the plan was to climb Peak 2050m, located east of Wye Creek Saddle. We shook the frost off the tent before jamming it into our bags with the rest of our semi-frozen gear and then set off on our upward adventure. The climb on the soft, partly frozen snow was incredible, and the crunch was very grippy and helped get us to the summit with relative ease. From the top we looked down on Lake Alta, and Curvy Basin, and could see all of the peaks of the Tapuae o Uenuku/Hector Range. A true epic view to match our wild experience up above the Remarkables Ski field. As we descended we noticed how much snow on the mountains had disappeared during the morning. The ski field looked completely different from the day before, now mostly exposed rocks and it would be a death sentence for your skis to attempt to go for a shred. The experience, while highly enjoyable, was a real reminder of the unpredictable mountain weather in Aotearoa, and reinforced why it is always important to be prepared for anything when going on a mish in the New Zealand mountains!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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