Short and Sweet – The Cleddau Clamber (Part Two)

“On a Mish” #313 Cleddau Clamber – Part Two. Upper Cleddau Valley. Fiordland National Park. 15.12.2021. With all the entertainment we have at our fingertips these days many forget about the free entertainment on offer in the mountains. It is hard to explain to some young fellas these days that the point of the mission is to just look at the scenery and relax. The fact that ‘nothing else’ will happen sounds ‘boring’ until you experience an evening and morning of mountain magic. Do it enough and the want to do it more will increase, and before you know it you will become a wilderness addict just like me!

It would be easy for me to use my bad hip as an excuse to stay at home, but when you have a craving for adventure as strong as I do, that craving MUST be satisfied. As I climbed the Milford Road towards the Homer Tunnel my eyes were drawn towards a step gut leading to a small ledge high above the road. The word epic jammed its way into my brain and with all my gear ready I jumped out of my car and finally got started on my mish. A quick wander down the road got me to the base of the gut and from here I began the real adventure.

The Homer Saddle(1375m) & Homer Tunnel

Very quickly I went from clambering over huge boulders in a dry riverbed, to steep rock slabs which I had to climb to get to the small ledge I had seen from the road. It wasn’t long before I was clambering up exposed ground where a fall would not end well and this kept me close to the rock using both feet and hands to climb higher. There can sometimes be a big difference between what ground looks like from the safety of your car and what it is like with your boots fighting gravity to climb it! The rock’s surface offers grip like a floor covered in sandpaper, however the long time spent away from this sort of terrain had me taking baby steps which lacked the confidence I would have had before my accident. It was time to turn my stubbornness levels up and push on towards my objective. The weight of my camping pack seemed to increase somehow as I climbed higher, but thanks to my wilderness addiction and constant need for amazing views kept me going. After about forty five minutes of scrambling I finally got up to the ledge high above the road. My step counter told me I had climbed 26 tough floors, as well as the strain in my legs and on my back. What was supposed to be an easy camping trip due to the toll on my body from the last outing turned into another epic mountain battle. I needed a few moments to gather myself before I got my campsite set up, and as I sat on a rock I began to realise that the spot I had got to was going to be one of the most incredible places I have ever pitched a tent…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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