The King & Queen of Erewhon (Part Two) – Mt Potts(2184m)

“On a Mish” #10 The King & Queen of Erewhon (Part Two). Mt Potts(2184m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 21.5.2017. The unmistakable twin peaks of Mt Potts always seem to find their way into pictures of the Lake Clearwater Area. As if overseeing all that is going on in the area, they sit in silence watching and waiting. Although they are just masses of land in some circumstances they take on the form of great beings. In the lake Clearwater area it is clear who is the king and queen of the area…

Charging up a steep hill on a cool winter morning will always put a smile on my face. The chill in the air and the need to move to stay warm will inevitably lead to something epic! I would always rather hike in the cold, as it is easier to add layers than the problems faced when hiking on a hot day. The semi-frozen creek showed us it was far from a hot day in Hakatere, and we had better keep moving up the hill.

Mt Potts(2184m) was the challenge in front of myself and my then girlfriend, and we were ready for battle.

We followed the small creek onto steep ground, then had to climb up out of the creek bed when it reached a vertical waterfall section. The scree and rubble on the lower parts of the mountain were completely frozen, and to continue up we had to be extremely careful. Kicking in very small toe holds was all we could achieve on the icy ground, and we were very happy when we got onto the south ridge and away from the frozen scree.

After a short scramble we were up on the shoulder on the mountain and the views were outstanding and increasing in epicness with each upward step. So far it had been just uphill walking but that would change higher on the mountain.

At the very top of the south ridge we got to the crux of the mission, and that was a crumbly steep bluff of fractured loose rock. Having had a minor whoopsie with a fridge sized rock on Cold Peak(1613m) near the Mavora Lakes, we were very cautious. I went up first and found the climbing to be very enjoyable due to the loose rocks being secured to the mountain, with ice acting as glue.

We both got through the bluff and now only had the upper basin on the mountain to traverse. The upper basin is a barren and cold place where the only thing that survives is something that doesn’t hang around here! After a good climb we had achieved the first half of our goal, we were on top and after a couple of breaths we had to contemplate getting back down.

A brutally cold wind was blowing and this killed my camera within minutes of taking it out of my pocket! The wind was bitter and cut through all layers of clothing with ease. After soaking in the alpine scene we were faced with the classic mountain climbing scenario of ‘what goes up must come down’…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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