Round Two (Part Three). Dore Pass(1390m).

“On a Mish” #120 Round Two (Part Three). Dore Pass(1390m). Fiordland National Park. 21.1.2018. If you haven’t been there, looking at Fiordland on a map it seems as though travel would be easy as long as you stick to the middle parts of the massive valleys. This is definitely not the case as, in the lower lying areas, you have to battle dense jungle-like forests. Once up through the forest and above the treeline, travel is easier but you are now subjected to alpine weather. Several times I have been making a beeline for a place deep in the Fiordland mountains only to have clouds engulf the area, reducing the visibility to less than ten meters. An encounter with thick clouds on a mission to Dore Pass(1390m) stopped the mission in its tracks. After stumbling around in the fog for an hour the decision was made to turn back. Luckily on this occasion the sun was shining, and in full visibility we could see where we had lost the track on the previous trip…

Now not far off the top of the pass we could look at the steep ground we had attempted to climb on the previous trip and without clouds it made me very happy with our previous choice to turn back. Knowing many people have got lost in this area made us extra cautious and before leaving town we reviewed and re-reviewed the route in my Moirs Guide Book many times.

The last push to the top of the pass involved locating a gap between two of the many large bluffs in the upper valley, and from here a natural path on a ledge amongst the bluffs leads through to a gully that leads up to the top of the pass.

After a couple of deep breath breaks we took our last steps to the top and were instantly rewarded with an incredible view.

On ‘Round Two’ we were successful and we were back at a location we had been to way back in 2012.

Looking up the Clinton Valley (Milford Track route), and down to the north end of Lake Te Anau, we were looking over at places we knew well and it was like the map coming to life before our eyes. The view was grand and with a little bit of gas still left in the tank we decided to enhance the view even more.

View from near Peak 1585m

At the top of the pass we traveled north east towards Point 1585m on a ridge of reddish rock. A small scramble took us to a point much higher than the pass and it was here we decided our battle against gravity would come to an end.

The added elevation of the ridge gave us stunning panoramic views back towards Skelmorlie Peak(1814m), Lake Te Anau and then the endless giant peaks of Fiordland above the Milford Track and beyond. We stopped for lunch, and as far as lunchtime views go this would be hard to beat!

As tempting as it was to descend down the western side of the pass to Glade House, time and obligations in the ‘real world’ prevented us from traveling further west into the famous valley.

After taking in the view for the last time we turned back and scrambled to the track heading east towards the rumblings of the Milford Road. And as a reward the return journey offered its own treats with views of the Livingstone Mountains and the deep forest clad trench of the Eglington Valley.

Back at the Murcott Burn we re-entered the forest. Being back in the bush may have taken away the views of the mountains, but this ‘Ngahere me nga manu maha’ (The forest of many birds) is a very special place. Its extensive pest trapping has resulted in a forest busy with native birdlife. Wandering through this was an excellent way to finish a successful adventure up to the historic Dore Pass(1390m)!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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