Going Solo (Part One) – Mt McPherson(1931m)

“On a Mish” #14 Going Solo (Part One).Mt McPherson(1931m). Fiordland National Park. 15.3.2015. The art of soloing a mountain can be very rewarding, but also very dangerous depending on your desired target. Extra care must be taken as you have no one around to raise the alarm if something goes wrong, and no back-up plan. For some being in an empty room can be overwhelming, let alone on the side of a steep mountain face. You would think with hazards a plenty why bother?

Both working in the mountains and studying / learning more about glaciation makes my favourite mighty Darran Mountain Range in North-West Fiordland even more fascinating, more alluring. Looking at the uplift of the land from the deep valley floor to the tippy top of the pointy peaks hurts the neck and dazzles the eyes. If you haven’t been there then it needs to be added to your list of places to see. And we are lucky in Aotearoa to have the very convenient and spectacular Milford Road grazing the north eastern edge of the Darran Mountains in the Upper Hollyford Valley.

Moving to Te Anau has brought me closer to this mighty mountain range, and having such a stunning playground at my fingertips means I take every opportunity I can to venture into the land of the giants. But unfortunately due to the nature of the area’s notorious weather many missions are decided on the night before and I don’t get an opportunity to warn / ask others to join me. This never bothers me and I have had a blast the times I have gone solo.

Back in 2015 I could only dream of owning a house in Te Anau, but I didn’t have to dream about going on a mish in the Darran Mountains. I wanted a taste of alpine excellence and Ata Whenua was going to provide it.

The McPherson Cirque

My plan was to start my mission at Homer Hut, the only accommodation available for climbers in the area. After my climb the next day I would meet my girlfriend in Piopiotahi / Milford Sound as she finished her own adventure, guiding clients along the Milford Track. Sometimes life can be tough, this wasn’t one of those times!

At this point I was living / working down in Tuatapere on the Humpridge Track, and during my rare time off I would destress in the mountains. Living, working and playing in the mountains for me is a healthy lifestyle. Along with showing others the treasures of New Zealand’s wilderness, I also had to treat myself to epic new places in order to balance things out.

The personal life, weather and work (or precious moments of downtime) were all lining up for an adventure and I was excited. I wanted to challenge myself with something big but not too big. Scanning the map I saw a peak that I had looked at every time there wasn’t any cloud around the Upper Hollyford side of the Homer Tunnel when I was passing through. I was going to follow in the footsteps of some of my most favourite explorers and climb Mt McPherson(1931m), and with no one around to join me I would be going solo…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter