Mountain Goats & Glissading (Part Three) – Mt Bealey(1836m)

“On a Mish” #29 Mountain Goats & Glissading (Part Three). Mt Bealey(1836m). Arthurs Pass National Park. 1.10.2014. When the air is still and the sky is clear, you tend to forget that this is weather that is only temporary this high up in the mountains. It is so peaceful and the odd bird passing by, and the clang of your axe combined with the crunch of your crampons is the only thing disturbing the hush in the air. You almost feel guilty like you’re upsetting some greater force, but your needs are enough to risk awaking the sleeping giant that is the mountain you are climbing…

The east ridge of Mt Bealey(1836m) eventually took me directly to the summit after a couple of semi-demoralising ups and downs. As difficult as it is, it is always special to be the first footsteps in the snow, as no one had been up the mountain since the last snowfall. Plugging steps, undulation, and a good mountain ridge go hand in hand. So, you always have to put up with a few snowy downs until there is no more up left.

I finally got to the summit after a couple of solid hours of stomping through snow. Murphy’s law is always ready to strike in the hill as at times I would look at the snow and think that is would be solid only to sink into it like quicksand. And then other times I would be prepared to sink only to stomp down on solid terror Ferma. Some aspects of mountaineering don’t sound very fun do they!

With calves and quads screaming STOP, I pushed aside the last of the mountain’s snow before more uphill travel was no longer possible. The halfway point had been reached.

Mt Bealey’s excellent location makes for incredible views of the surrounding Arthrurs Pass National Park area. I soaked in the sights from the while having a well-earned snack. There are always the moments after summitting a mountain when you start comtemplating the inevitable descent. What goes up must come down.

To make the descent more interesting and more like the speed of a mountain goat I glissaded down (Butt slid) from the summit into the upper basin of Mt Bealey. Within a few exciting moments I had covered the distance that had taken me hours to walk up. Just like a couple of times before I got a little bit overexcited and slid lower than where I wanted to continue walking from. I had taken my crampons off so I could side down the mountainside easier but had to put them back on to climb back up to the ridge. A little bit more work was just what I needed after my big morning. Oh well, more mountain training I guess!

I followed the last of the ridge back down and got out of the snow and onto the exposed rock just above the treeline. After removing my crampons for the last time, I was quickly back on the well-marked track back through the forest to the roadside and job done.

Once again, the Arthurs Pass area had provided the ingredients needed for an epic meal of mountain satisfaction, I just had to put in the working cooking it before I could enjoy the banquet. But like all missions before, my hungry was only temporarily satisfied and I started to wonder where I would be devouring my next feast…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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