Mavora Mountain Magic (Part Two) – Mt Campbell(1685m)

“On a Mish” #146 Mavora Mountain Magic (Part Two) – Mt Campbell(1685m). Mavora Lakes Conservation Area. 13.15.2017. Bald mountains and barren high country surround the top of North Mavora Lake. Somehow the lack of trees doesn’t affect the beauty of the place, and when mixed with swirling clouds taking good pictures becomes easy…

Being part of the Te Araroa Trail, the area sees hikers either heading north for Lake Wakatipu, or south for the Takitimu Mountains on old farm / 4WD tracks. The deep ruts on the track aren’t too pleasing for the eyes, so it is good to get away from the track when possible. Luckily for me I was high above and well away from the mud filled reminders of vehicles and mankind.

I was only an hour or so away from the Mavora Lakes campsite, and yet it felt like I was many days away from anyone at my campsite on the west face of Mt Campbell(1685m). An early-ish start was needed the next day, and after a quick breakfast and coffee I was on my way towards the challenge of a mountain top.

I hiked towards a saddle located between the south end of Cold Peak(1613m) and the northern end of Mt Campbell(1685m). It was a solid grunt to get up to the saddle, a great way to start your day. I was happy after scrambling up the last section of frozen scree to get onto the broad north ridge of the mountain. From my elevated perspective I could see rain falling in the Winton Burn to the north east, and as the sky around me grew darker I was hoping the rain wasn’t going to visit Mt Campbell(1685m).

The travel on the ridge was excellent, and I covered the ground quickly. I was only slowed by two small bluff sections of loose rock which were easy to surmount. The last push to the summit was via a horrible gully of unstable, crumbly, dust-covered rock. As I knocked loose rock away from the ridge it awoke the valley below as each small piece broke apart when I dislodged it and sent it on a violent 900 metre journey into the Upper Oreti River.

To the south, I could see the distinctive white cap of Titiroa(1715m), and to my north east was the pointy peaks of the Remarkables. I was also surprised to see a section of Lake Wakatipu, as I could see down the entire Von Valley to the lake from the summit. I was lucky to only have a few spots of rain while taking in the epic view from the top, but I knew that the rain was coming and I couldn’t stay up high for very long.

I returned to camp the same way, and even jogged down some of the ridge, enjoying the benefits of gravity on the downhill part of the mission. I was back at camp in no time, and as I packed up the sun finally broke through the clouds, providing a good blast of warmth.

The final job after packing up was to head back down to the track, and then back to the Mavora Campgrounds. The whole way back along the final section of the track I had to do my best to avoid being splashed by the quad bikes and 4WD vehicles. Yip, back in civilization!

North Ridge of Mt Campbell(1685m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter