Mountain Topping & Wood Chopping – Mt Guy(1319m)

“On a Mish” #225 Mountain Topping and Wood Chopping. Mt Guy(1319m). Hakatere Conservation Area. 23.6.2014. When the glaciers retreated towards the main divide in New Zealand’s mountainous South Island around 10,000 years ago the shrinking iceflows left behind a natural area for outdoor adventurers . The mounds of glacial debris make for excellent hiking, biking and epic view sightings. The place is buzzing with activity and on one sunny day in 2014 the place was also buzzing with the sound of chainsaws…

One of the best / only bases for exploring the excellent examples of natural beauty is Te Puna o Taka / Lake Clearwater Village. Along with nearby Lake Camp, this scenic little mountain village offers so many activities, and every experience has its own perks and charms.

A mission I have done time and time again is a climb of Mt Guy(1319m). The small rounded peak sits conveniently close to the village, and a trip up and down the mountain can make for a great day out with views to match – well worth the strain on your legs!

On this trip I was there during the beginnings of a project to remove all of the pine trees in the area. The barren landscape has very few trees until you get outside of the farming areas near the main divide, so a large group of pine trees definitely looked out of place. Unfortunately they are a pest, but still much easier to remove than the rabbits which plague the area.

As I made my way around the eastern shore of Lake Clearwater the ice frozen on the surface of the lake was cracking and groaning with the movement of the water as it was touched for the first time by the late morning sun. It was well past early-ish (nearly lunchtime) by the time I got going and there was still a good frost on the ground in shaded areas. As I made my way towards the track up the south west face, I went into the shadow of the mountain, which sent chills through my body. With my breath visible in the still midday air I began to climb up the spur to the summit.

The usually peaceful Lake Clearwater Basin was alive with the sound of multiple chainsaws laying waste to the unwanted pesky podocarps. If there was ever anything that would be ok disturbing the peace it is something that would enhance the beauty of the location.

The track is steep in places, but due to the gentle nature of the mountainside there are no points of exposure, making it a great mountain for all ages and experience.

After reaching the top of the spur it is a delightful wander around the summit plateau to the top. On another climb I got to this point and was met by blizzard conditions. I was lucky to be on the summit on a stunning bluebird day in the Hakatere Conservation Park.

The near cloudless day meant views in every direction, and the snow and ice on all the big peaks was glistening in the bright sunlight. The most dominant mountain visible from Mt Guy(1319m) stands tall on the western skyline, and is the jagged point of Mt D’Archiac(2875m). The mountain is one of the largest peaks near the main divide north of Aoraki/Mt Cook, with Tapuae-o-Uenuku(2885m) in the Inland Kaikoura Mountains the only mountain bigger, and only by ten metres.

The stroll back down Mt Guy(1319m) is always enjoyable, with awesome views of Lake Clearwater and Lake Camp. The area’s soundtrack was still the screaming sound of wood being chopped up by chainsaws, which echoed throughout the massive area.

After finishing the mission and returning to the village, I could already see the benefits of removing the pine trees. The views from the village increased as each tree disappeared, and nowadays the village has even better views thanks to the hours of work. A lot of effort has gone into cutting out unwanted mountain view blockers, and I have nothing by praise. The area improvements were a huge success!

Lakes Camp & Clearwater from Mt Guy(1319m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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