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

“On a Mish” #21 Massive Mountains and Clean Eyre (Part Two). Upper Oreti Peak 1619m. Eyre Mountains. 28.9.2019. Nothing beats going on a mission with best mates, whether they walk on two or four legs. You have got someone to watch your back and keep you safe from the ‘dangerous New Zealand animals’, and also someone to have a yarn with at the hut. I’m sure most of our hut time banter is rubbish, but it is an excellent way to see out a night in a hut. After a night at the Upper Oreti Hut the team was after more massive mountains and plenty of fresh Eyre…

We arrived at an awesome little orange hut (Lincoln Hut) which is situated amongst the trees of a beech forest. We checked into the mountainside accommodation and then immediately began our assault on the mountain.

The climb started with us travelling through the beech forest behind the hut. Mostly open ground made the travel through the forest both easy and pleasant, and within no time we had climbed to the treeline. Above the forest was a short section of scrub and tussock, before getting onto the frozen scree and snow just below the open tops.

We had been lucky with the weather, and even though the skies were grey there wasn’t any precipitation. There might not have been any rain but once we got onto the snow and rock of the exposed tops we felt the full force of the Nor’West wind which I thought was going to blow Bear away like a balloon animal in the breeze. To my surprise his little claws worked like crampons, and all three of us fought against the wind to get to the first summit above the hut, Peak 1598m. We had to put the dog on the ‘short rope’ for the last scramble to the craggy summit of Peak 1619m.

From the summit we had a great view of the mountains of the Eyre Range, and every now and then we would catch a glimpse of the Remarkables and the Hector Mountains off to our east. On top of the Eyres the views were clear and we tasted the freshest air. Life was good in the mountains.

We returned to the valley floor via an open spur on the west face. On the ridge high above the bush we could see a lot of nasty Matagouri. With no way through visible we prepared ourselves for a visit to scratch city. To our luck we found some animal tracks that led us through the maze of spikes (no issue for Bear!), and it wasn’t long before we found the track on the valley floor. This was followed back to a good feed at Lincoln Hut.

That night we had a celebratory feast, and even managed to see the odd star amongst the dark clouds. Success tasted very sweet that night at the little orange hut.

Near the top of Oreti Peak(1619m)

The next day we were up early-ish sorting gear and getting prepared to head home. After the final checks were done we began to make our way back to the carpark in drizzly conditions.

On the hike out I managed to spot a couple of deer in the upper reaches of the Oreti Valley. I watched as they pranced their way around their incredible home towards me. I’m not a hunter but I took many shots (with my camera) at the majestic creatures!

Our hike out was made much easier with the excellent benefit of having the extra carrying capabilities of Mark’s ‘Mountain Bike’. We had definitely over-stocked our food supplies and it was lucky we didn’t have to carry it out on our backs. The added bonus of the extra food was having heaps left to snack on on the drive home.

The Eyre Mountains are a real treat and definitely deserve a visit. But be prepared for a drive on the dusty gravel of the Mavora Lakes Road. Ironically, even though Mark looks at the mountain range from his home in Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu acts as a watery barrier. But the effort to drive around the mountains to Mavora Lakes Road is well worth it and the views are just as good as the ones seen from New Zealand’s busiest tourist town!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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