Man / Woman Vs Mountains (Part One) – Barrier Knob(1879m)

“On a Mish” #30 Man / Woman Vs Mountains (Part One). Barrier Peak. Fiordland National Park. 25.5.2019. Most of remote climbing is walking, hiking, scrambling, and then maybe some of the stuff you see on tv. Explaining mountaineering to someone who has no experience in outdoor activity or no want for the wilderness is meaningless. Describing hard pack hauling to a campsite and climbing on untested outdoor crags is most uninviting to some. But then there are the few who spend their time out of the hills wishing they were in them…

I really got into climbing late. Most of my teenage years were spent screaming around in slammed cars avoiding cops and looking for interesting situations within the Christchurch area. Back then I was in a cycle of living to blow all my cash on the weekends. I learnt a lot back in those days, but I also unlearned a lot with a bourbon & coke in my hand. I’m glad those days are behind me and I’m here to live and learn, and also tell the tale of life as a bogan.

My street drag racing nights have been replaced by days of exploring remote valleys, and I can say from experience that the latter is much more sustainable and less imposing on others. I used to go looking for big groups of cars cruising Christchurch concrete, to wild wilderness wanders with nothing but my pack and a thirst for adventure. The taste of returning with another outing in the hills under my belt is much better than the many B&C’s I apparently had back in the day!

I’m glad fate placed me in Fiordland and with it has come a strong relationship. Each mish builds anticipation for the next, and the next has never disappointed. On the rare occasion I have gone out with others and had a good laugh while lapping up each step, leap and jump of going from A to B. When I drove into the Cascade Creek Campsite I was on my own but surrounded by people from all over the place, all enjoying the pristine scenery and sandflies.

My plan was to get up nice and early-ish the next morning and drive up the Hollyford Valley to the Gertrude Saddle car park, and from there have a go at climbing Barrier Peak. The mountain towers above the Gertrude Valley and is usually briefly seen by bus passengers as they make their way towards the Homer Tunnel and then on to Piopiotahi Milford Sound. I wanted to see the peak up close and I knew this meant an early-ish start…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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