Snow Business (Part Two) – Mt Somers Track (Track to Pinnacles Hut)

“On a Mish” #20 Snow Business (Part Two). Mt Somers Track (Track to Pinnacles Hut). Hakatere Conservation Park. 25.6.2013. Sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan when going on adventures in the mountains, and that’s ok if everybody stays in one piece and enjoyment is still the number one goal. After being turned away from an adventure up to Double Hut near Lake Heron, Chris and I had decided to head to the start of the track up to Pinnacles Hut (Mount Somers Track). The weather was awesome, and we still had some snow business to take care of…

We had to leave our snowboards in the car as there is nowhere around the Mt Somers Track to shred. We had gear and food for an overnight outing, and knowing that Pinnacles Hut has an excellent fireplace was enough motivation to brave the deep snow.

To start with, the climb over Dukes Knob(739m) wasn’t as difficult as expected, even though it was in snow which built in depth the further up the track we got. Our forward progress was about to change after dropping down into a very snow-loaded Bowyers Stream.

Mt Somers from Dukes Knob

The beech tree branches in the forest were hanging low with the weight of the snow delicately balanced on top. The way snow can build up on tree branches always fascinates me. I’ll never forget watching Chris hiking ahead of me as he ducked under a low hanging tree covered in snow. He lifted his head before clearing the naturally formed snow tunnel, which sent a huge plume of snow crashing down on top of him. Surprise, excitement, discomfort, his facial expressions said so much!

The travel alongside Bowyers Stream was extremely slow and difficult, and with the late start, time was getting away on us. As much as we wanted to get to the hut, we both came to the conclusion that pushing on was a risk not worth taking. After a brief board meeting about the situation we had got ourselves into, we reluctantly decided to conclude our business on the Mt Somers Track and turn back.

It was somewhere around our turning back point where my locator beacon (which I had just been given) got ripped off my pack as we negotiated another low hanging section of the forest. I was totally unaware that I had dropped it as all I was focusing on was getting back to the car and out of the snow.

Although we hadn’t travelled very far, the day had been hard and we were both starting to get tired. To get home we just had to surmount Dukes Knob. Normally it would be an easy wander, but thanks to the snow we had a journey ahead of us before we could finish our snow business…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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