The Creations of the Mountain Gods (Part Three) – Phil’s Bivvy (Lake Adelaide Basin)

“On a Mish” #400 The Creations of the Mountain Gods (Part Three). Phil’s Bivvy (Lake Adelaide Basin). 21.4.2016. There are certain places that deserve a 120-piece orchestral accompaniment. The grandeur is right on the limit of what’s possible and the sights send shockwaves of serenity which sooths the soul in a special and unique way. It might be a place that you have looked at many times but only on the pages of books and via the internet. So, when you actually get a chance to venture into these locations and see the pictures in real life the experience can be one that will remain front of mind for the rest of your time…

I looked down at my pack which was now on a ledge which was about 15 metres below us. The terrain was very steep however desperation eliminated the risk in my mind as I slowly and very carefully downclimbed to the small ledge. After getting down to the pack I assessed the damage, and it was as bad as it could have been. My camera which was attached to my hip belt was busted and I had lost a couple of non-essential items like my hut-shoes so it could have been much worse.

I yelled out a report of the damage / lack of to my girlfriend and then after saddling my pack I had the challenge of getting back up to the route to Phils Bivvy. I followed a crack which wasn’t too bad to climb and offered good grip however, a fall here would end in a loud thud, and it would be game over. I eventually reunited with my partner and we both breathed a sigh of relief, briefly.

It seems strange that something like an approaching storm can creep up on you. If out in the open, you would see the clouds coming from miles away. But in the mountains the incoming carnage can be hiding around the corner just waiting to strike when you least expect it. To our surprise and dismay while I had been dealing with my pack drama the weather had been slowly rolling into the Lake Adelaide Basin. Not long after we got going again our view was reduced to only a matter of a few metres, and when following a trail marked with rock piles on top of rock piles this is a very inconvenient situation.

Nowadays we have tools like GPS to help us when the weather works against us, we did not have this option at the very end of our trek to Phils Bivvy. We were so close but now it seemed like we would trip on the last hurdle thanks to thick clouds and the rapidly approaching darkness of evening. I came across a semi-flat spot-on top of a huge rock, and it seemed like we might be able to sneak the tent onto it.

Before we established camp for the night, I just had to have a quick poke around as it felt like we were very close. I scrambled around in the cloudy darkness and to my surprise I spotted an unnatural straight-line. It took me a few seconds to realise what I was look at but eventually I worked out that I was looking at a strung-up piece of rope. I was looking at Phils Bivvy!

After finding the bivvy I had to retrace my steps back to where we were going to camp. After reuniting my girlfriend and I hiked back up to the very spacious bivouac and our action-packed day two was over. We had one of the best mountain meals I had ever had while taking in not only the environment but also the feeling of many missions that lingered in the air of the biggest bivvy in the Darran Mountains.

We feasted on some semi-crushed food that went for a tumble a couple of hours earlier, and not long before retreating to the warmth of our sleeping bags the misty drizzle turned to rain. We were safe and dry in the bivouac with hundreds of tons of propped rock on top of us however, the natural roof masked the sound of the rain which started to pour during the night. Early-ish the next day I awoke to a strange sight. Puzzled I could see a refection on the ground? After wiping the sleep out of my eyes, I soon realised that while we slept the water had crept in a flooded one side of the bivouac and was only inches away from all of gear. Just a little bit more Darran Mountain drama to start the day!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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