Going Solo (Part Two). Mt McPherson(1931m)

“On a Mish” #14 Going Solo (Part Two).Mt McPherson(1931m). Fiordland National Park. 16.3.2015. I’m sure many have got to the top / pinnacle / climax of a challenge, whether it be a track, mountain or even something as simple as a long staircase, and then enjoyed the elation of elevation with others. Exchanging high fives and hugs is an awesome part of going ‘On a Mish’ and it can make the aches and pains of the journey disappear in an instant. When going solo the experience can be much different, and I have learnt over time that the celebration of success needs to be saved until you get back to the car and are truly safe and sound…

I had my gear packed for mish bliss and as I entered Fiordland National Park and made my way up the Eglington Valley I knew I was doing things right, well at least that day I was!

There is a lot to take in when you start to slow down before entering the famous Homer Tunnel. Like the steep east faces of Mt Moir(1965m) above left, and Mt McPherson(1931m) on the right, both connected by the famous Homer Saddle(1375m). Steep, rocky and an unforgiving environment that must have been very intimidating when first seen by William Homer in 1889. For an area only a stone’s throw away from a major highway only the dedicated few take the extra steps needed to get up to the saddle named after one of Fiordland’s most hardened explorers.

I was very lucky to start my climb of McPherson with a night at the most luxurious and charming accommodation in all of the Darran Mountains, Homer Hut(NZAC). After completing the drive from the deep south (Tuatapere), I settled in for the night.

As always it was an excellent night at the hut that has housed so many before they venture out to go on a mish. Being such a small world meant I knew a couple of the other people staying in the hut that night, and as it turned out they would be doing some climbing on the opposite side of Homer Saddle. After discussing each other’s plans and climbing routes we retreated to our sleeping bags to begin dreaming about the very location we were in!

An early-ish start was needed from Homer Hut so, well before the mountains had been lit up, I fired up a brew to help kickstart my mission.

After a quick brekky I left the building and in the dark I wandered up the Milford Road to the tunnel mouth, and then headed up the Homer Saddle Track towards the rock rubble below Homer Saddle(1375m) and the impressive waterfalls of the McPherson Cirque.

The area around the tunnel’s entrance was once bustling with the activity of road workers who were digging their way through the solid Fiordland rock to get to the Milford side of the mountains. Nowadays the base for the road crews is further down the valley, in an impressive new modern building.

I began climbing up the track towards the saddle with the sun still blocked from view by the steep sides of the valley. The cold rock and lack of light made for a definite chill in the air, and as I looked up at the towering challenge that lay ahead of me I knew I was in for an epic day as I tackled Mt McPherson solo…

On the Rocky Summit of Mt McPherson(1931m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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