Let’s Go This Way (Part Two) – Emily Pass(1607m)

“On a Mish” #96 Let’s Go This Way – Part Two. Emily Pass(1607m). Lake MacKenzie Basin / Routeburn Valley. Fiordland National Park / Mt Aspiring National Park. 17.4.2012. Some places on the map don’t look like much of a mish until you are clambering your way towards them. Also some locations don’t seem like much of an outing until you remember that the first humans to venture into this particular place did it way back in the days before lightweight hiking / climbing gear…

A long time ago a young woman decided to tempt fate and with her guide she climbed over a pass that would go on to bear her name. I knew once starting work as a guide on the Routeburn Track that I would eventually have a crack at the pass, and with blue skies above I found myself only a few metres away from my turn at standing on Emily’s mountainous pass

The Routeburn Valley from Emily Pass

At the top of the valley I decided to head for the false pass on the east side (climbers’ right), near the north ridge of Emily Peak(1815m) for fun, and then traverse over the hill in the middle, Peak 1645m to Emily Pass(1607m). As I got up onto the top of the false pass the silence in the hills was broken by rocks falling, and very quickly I realised I wasn’t alone. I was having my progress overseen by a lone Chamois (European Mountain Goat) with an incredible place to call home. With a huge amount of jealousy, I watched him / her, with ease, scramble up and over nearly vertical ground, then very quickly drop down into the basin below the pass.

I got to the top of the small peak between the two passes and my mind thanked me for showing it what it loves. I was so mesmerised by the incredible view that I simply sat on a rock in stunned shock. While enjoying a well earned snack on the pass, I checked my watch then panic kicked once I saw the time. The mission had taken a lot longer than expected (due to how beautiful the views were), and I needed to get back to Lake MacKenzie Lodge to start work ASAP.

Now, from first hand experience I wouldn’t recommend rushing down from rocky Fiordland alpine areas, as thanks to a couple of tumbles during the journey back I needed a plaster or three when I got back to the lodge!

The mish will go down as one of my favourites and for those prepared, a hike over Emily Pass(1607m) is a true adventure that will not be forgotten. If you have had the opportunity to walk the Routeburn Track and want more, then I highly recommend a hike up and over Emily Pass(1607m) needs to be added to your ‘Missions To Do’ list!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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