Second Time Above Paradise (Part One) – Mt Alfred(1375m)

“A Mish a Day” #19 Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m) – Part One. Paradise. Glenorchy Area. 14.12.2011. The setting at the top of Lake Wakatipu is priceless. The view from the road to Glenorchy is an iconic image that has been sent around the world and back with the successful aim of drawing tourists to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The area is also famous for a couple of films made by the talented Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson… The with the impressive mountains of the Humboldt Range and Richardson Range acting as the frame, the Dart and Rees Valleys are separated by the bulky mass of Pikirakatahi / Mt Earnslaw(2830m) and the little lump known as Ari or Mt Alfred(1375m). The loaf-shaped peak looks small from the famous view on the road to Glenorchy, but on closer inspection the peak reveals itself as a stand alone mountain in one of the most epic locations on the planet…

Nowadays public access is restricted, and this is fair enough as the mountain is located on private land. You can get to the top guided, and after working on the Routeburn Track with the guide Dean, I know you will be in for a real treat. Before 2017 the public could climb the peak usually from Te Awa Wakatipu / Dart River side, but to switch things up a bit, I attacked the mountain from the Paradise side. Many times I have started a mission from what can only be described as a wilderness paradise, but for this mish I actually had to start from a place in Aotearoa called Paradise! Paradise is most probably more famous for movies these days, as both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films were shot at the very attractive high country station.

The 2011 / 2012 Routeburn Track summer season was well underway and during a free day I headed to Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m) with fellow guide Jo. Little did we know that due to 2011 / 2012 being a quiet season on the track we would be doing many trips together, most of them just the two of us as the guides. At this point in time poor Johannah had been fully subjected to a lot of time with me, so she agreed to join me on the journey. We left the guide flat in Queenstown just before dawn, and as we drove alongside the lake we got to see the start of the day in the legendary area. What is just a small lump to begin with, rose up into a large mountain the closer we got. Having driven past the peak every time I finished a Routeburn trip I was stoked to finally be in a position to climb the mountain and see the view from the top. After locking up the car we crossed over Diamond Creek and began to follow a rough farm track that zig-zagged its way up the mountain. The weather was perfect for climbing, and together we began our journey to the top….

Jo on the Summit Ridge

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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