Second Time Above Paradise (Part Two) – Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m)

“A Mish a Day” #19 Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m) – Part Two. Paradise. Glenorchy Area. 14.12.2011. It is incredible how important the Lord of the Rings movies were for tourism in Aotearoa. When I traveled to Canada to play hockey in 1997 I went to a high school where none of the kids knew where New Zealand actually was. Nowadays you can just say “the place where they made Lord of the Rings” and people will know about the stunning mountainous land in the South Pacific. Isengard (Iron Fortress) was an iconic location in several of the movies, and people have traveled from far away just to see this epic spot. Isengard was located in the Lower Dart River (minus the river in the movie), and once you see the place for yourself you will instantly recognize it when looking at the movies or visa versa…

I now found myself with my fellow guiding friend Johannah climbing up to a summit that would give us an elevated view of the famous film location, Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m). At first Turret Head(2350m) blocked our view of Pikirakatahi / Mt Earnslaw(2830m), but as we climbed higher the jumbled icy mess of the south face glacier slowly revealed itself. The rough farm track we were following petered out about ⅔ of the way up, and above the track we climbed higher amongst patches of snow tussock. Arriving on the south ridge was incredible, as from here we had unrestricted views of the top of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. This was the reverse angle of the famous view seen from the road to Glenorchy. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the summit trig and a little seat with a perfect view of the lower Dart Valley (Isengard).

Clouds forming on the Barrier Range to the west and an increase in the wind told us that we couldn’t linger too long, so after a couple of pictures we began our descent. We both skipped down the south ridge with a glorious view of the turquoise water of Lake Wakatipu, before turning left and dropping back down towards Paradise Station. The rest of the mission went by without any issues, and we both arrived back at the car very satisfied with our adventure. The drive back to Queenstown was full of excitement as we couldn’t wait to tell our fellow guides about our mish and also show them some of the amazing photos we got up on Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m). Nowadays you need to book a guide in order to climb Ari / Mt Alfred(1375m), but if you can afford it, it will be an epic view-soaked extravaganza you will never forget!

Descending the South Ridge

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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