Modifying the Mish – Gertrude Valley (Part Three)

“On a Mish” #321 Modifying the Mish – Part Three. Gertrude Valley. Fiordland National Park. 22.3.2022. The reward of being at your camping location is always a real joy. All the work put in to get there (sometimes not much work!), and now it is time to sit back and enjoy the view. For me, total emergence in the mountains is what I seek. And from a good campsite this can be easily achieved. A couple of times lately I have limped, scratched and scrambled my way up to a campsite and then had chilling thoughts of how I was going to get myself and my gear out of here. Having a bad hip and carrying a big pack isn’t the best combo, but these days I make it work by modifying the mish…

From my camp at the Base of Barrier Peak(2039m) I could look down the Gertrude Valley to Mount Belle(1965m) and Mount Moir(1965m), as they towered above the Milford Road and Homer Tunnel. In just over an hour I had got to a truly spectacular place and as I began to set up my camp I was joined by one of the locals. I had just got my tent up when I heard a strange noise. It turned out to be a cheeky Kea sneaking its way under the entrance to my tent and grabbing one of my water bottles! Now nervous about Kea damage, I watched my tent carefully for the rest of the evening.

Last of the Days Light in the Gertrude Valley

An incredibly still night meant I had a great sleep and early-ish the next day I was ready for a morning mish. I decided that instead of heading up to Gertrude Saddle, I would climb the west face of Barrier Peak(2039m) and just see how far I could get. The grippy granite rock gave excellent traction on the ever steepening ground, and before I knew it I was over 1400m and looking down on Gertrude Saddle(1410m). I kept climbing until I reached a row of bluffs that would require a rope to retreat down. This was easily far enough for me, and I was bloody stoked about how far I had actually gone. The elevation gave me outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and this gave me the impression that I had the best view out of anyone on the planet that morning. After watching yet another jaw-dropping sunrise of many shades of orange, purple and red I began the down climb…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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