Impressive Neighbors (Part One) – Mt Edgar Thomson(2379m)

“On a Mish” #3 Impressive Neighbors (Part One). Mt Edgar Thomson(2379m). Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park. 29.1.2015. The awe inspiring mountain mass of Aoraki/Mt Cook(3724m) dominates the view when driving into Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park on State Highway 80. It is not surprising that most people miss the impressive peaks of the Sealy Range when driving into Aoraki / Mt Cook Village. The size of Aoraki / Mt Cook(3724m) makes it seem close to the village, however many hours of glacier travel must be undertaken just to reach the base of New Zealand’s Muanga Rangatira (Mountain Chief)…

Anywhere else in the world the Sealy Range would be an impressive mountain range, but it gets dwarfed by its 3000 metre plus neighbours. I was very lucky to call Aoraki / Mt Cook Village my home for a summer, and even while living there the place never dulled in impressiveness.

From my base in the village I had near endless options for a mish, and over my time in the village I ticked off a couple of epic missions. Being someone who craves wilderness without the intrusion of other humans, I would look for places to visit away from the masses gathered around the village.

Behind the village is the Sealy Range, and although close it is only the western end of the range that sees people, thanks to the epic location of Mueller Hut. It isn’t until you’re immersed amongst the range that you truly appreciate the craggy peaks that make up the Sealy Range.

After finding Hoophorn Stream on the map I made it my playground away from the other humans in the area.

On one adventure into the Sealy Range I climbed Mt Hodgkinson(1486m), and from the main ridge of the mountain I had an excellent view of Mt Edgar Thomson(2379m). I etched the mountain on the to-do list, and after a day guiding on the Tasman Glacier I grabbed my gear and hiked to a camping spot halfway up the Hoophorn Stream Valley.

Travel on the true right of the stream was easy and straight forward, and I avoided most of the scrub in the valley by staying close to the trickle of glacier melt. A gully acts as a bulldozed highway up the mountain and to get a head start on the mountain I camped at the base of it.

Finding a clear spot in the scrub was a minor mission, but after searching around for a while I found the perfect flat spot just begging to have a tent pitched on it. From my camp I had a stunning view of the jagged peak of Mt Sealy(2627m), and it is evenings like this that keep me coming back into the mountains again and again. From camp I looked down the Hoophorn Stream to Aoraki/Mt Cook Airport, and at dusk I watched the last chopper fly in, leaving a peaceful silence over the entire national park.

It was time for dinner, and to add a bit of class I enjoyed a glass or two of an excellent Riesling with my bush food. Mid-mish perfection in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park.

The burning orange of the sunset gave way to the glimmer of millions of stars lighting the sky, with a thick stripe of The Milky Way the centrepiece of the natural work of art. The constant trickle of the stream combined with the odd flutter of the tent’s fly made for the perfect sleep in a tent, and I was looking forward to waking up early-ish the next day and climbing a mountain…

Aoraki / Mt Cook(3724m) from the Gut in Hoophorn Valley

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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