Red Sky in the Morning (Part One) – Mt Barber(1364m)

“A Mish a Day” #32 Mt Barber(1364m) – Part One. Fiordland National Park. 10.2.2018. It is good to have a job with perks, and it is even better if that perk is Fiordland National Park. With boats traveling daily across Lake Manapouri enroute to Patea / Doubtful Sound it is possible to go along for the ride with no affect on the bank account. I have used this unique opportunity many times to go on adventures in the mountains west of the village of Manapouri. Tough tiger country awaits wilderness hunters, and apart from the Dusky Track and a couple of trails around Deep Cove (Patea / Doubtful Sound), there are endless off-track opportunities into the rugged environment…

I decided I’d have a go at climbing Mt Barber(1364m), and also to make the mission even more epic, camp on the tops looking down into my workplace of Patea / Doubtful Sound. Being the only one on the boat across Lake Manapouri with camping gear meant a few yarns with some of the curious tourists. After crossing the lake I hitch-hiked on a Real Journeys coach to the top of Wilmot Pass(671m). After the bus disappeared the area fell silent, and it was time to put my hiking boots to use. The route was reasonably straightforward uphill travel, with steep sections to keep you on your toes (literally). Thick clouds prevented any view, so I really hoped to get above it at some stage. I slowly made progress upward and, as I was climbing by gripping handfuls of tussock above the treeline, the cloud around me dissipated, giving me the reward of an incredible view and making the morning’s effort worthwhile.

Doubtful Sound from Peak 1248m

I decided to camp south west of Mt Barber(1364m) on the summit of Peak 1248m, as it is visible from Deep Cove in Patea / Doubtful Sound. I got my tent set up quickly, then carried on with a much lighter pack. I continued north east of my camp to Peak 1315m, and from here followed the undulating ridge to the summit of Mt Barber(1364m). Several ups and downs later I was on the last push to the top. Wow! The endless peaks of remote Fiordland looked spectacular. To the south west I had an outstanding view of the beautiful Fiordland giant Mt Wilmot(1544m). Just beyond were the two headstone-shaped chunks of solid rock, the impressive and seldom seen Black Giants(1638m). Moments like this are recorded and logged in a special part of my memory bank, and it is these memories that keep me wanting more mountain magic…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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