Massive Mountains and Clean Eyre (Part One) – Oreti Peak(1619m)

“On a Mish” #21 Massive Mountains and Clean Eyre (Part One). Upper Oreti Peak 1619m. Eyre Mountains. 27.9.2019. The spectacular Eyre Mountains are ogled at from Queenstown on a daily basis and when I’m there I become another set of eyes on the range. Famous mountains Like Walter and Cecil Peaks rise abruptly from the deep water of Lake Wakatipu into huge pyramids of Otago rock. The mountains change their beauty with the seasons, giving you a new view every time you visit the place. The massive range not only covers the entire southern end of Lake Wakatipu, it also spreads its way over the land to the Marvoa lakes. Lake Wakatipu is the major barrier preventing access from Queenstown, however a drive around the range to the Mavora Lakes Road gives you lake-free access to this mighty mountain range…

Having a constant need to get into the mountains means you hang out with like-minded individuals. For this mish I teamed up with my fellow outdoor enthusiast Mark (same name, same spirit for adventure) for some mountain climbing hijinx.

Over the years the two Marks have been on many mountain escapades, and everytime has been epic to remember. When the two Marks are on a mish, awesome things will happen!

After a couple of outings into the Mavora Lakes area I was hooked, and after hanging out at Mark’s house we started talking about the Eyre Mountains. We checked some maps and a mission into the Upper Oreti Valley was born.

For this mission we had the added factor of a ‘Mountain Bike’ with extra gear-carrying capabilities, and a little dog called ‘Bear’. There had been some rain in the area over the last couple of days, so our boots and paws were gonna get wet.

We caught up with each other on the Mavora Lakes road (Mark from Queenstown, me from Te Anau), and then together we drove the last stretch of the Mavora Lakes road to the small Upper Oreti River car park.

The boggy plains of the Upper Oreti Valley were as muddy as ever, and several streams and swampy areas needed to be crossed. This was a wet warm up for what we would face later on. The biggest watery barrier for the day was the Ashton Burn. Due to the rain the river was up and flowing swiftly. Together we surveyed the bubbling water as the rain returned, and it was time to get our boots wet and test the waterproof abilities of our jackets.

We both managed to find a way across, and after crossing the river Mark carried on to Upper Oreti Hut on his bike to drop off 15 days (not really, but we did have a lot!) worth of food/drink! He then returned with news of an awesome tin hut which was dry and warm. This helped motivate me through the last couple of kms in the now driving rain.

I caught sight of the hut and, with the thought of getting out of the weather on my mind, I found an extra gear, and after dodging puddles on the track for a while I stood at the hut’s front door.

After a quick team meeting we decided even though it was only early afternoon the hut was too comfy to leave, and the rain pounding the hut’s roof helped reinforce our decision to stay put.

We spent the afternoon collecting firewood from the nearby beech forest, and drying out our gear plus our little four legged companion. The team had a base, and the team was happy as!

Early-ish the next day we refueled for travel and then the team continued further into the Oreti Valley. The weather was much better for adventures and within no time we arrived at the tiny Lincoln Hut for an early lunch. After a good feed we left most of our gear at the hut and began to climb into the Eyre Mountains

Going up into the Oreti Mountains

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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