Two Thumbs Up (Part One) – Peak 2163m(Two Thumb Range)

“On a Mish” #51 Two Thumbs Up (Part One). Peak 2163m(Two Thumb Range). Richmond Conservation Park. 21.10.2013. Aotearoa New Zealand is a small country and yet it seems so big when tackling the place on foot. In Te Waipounamu South Island we have many massive mountain ranges and at times it seems like we are spoiled for choice. Some areas I have explored extensively while others I have just brushed the surface. The good thing is, usually wherever I have gone on a mish in Aotearoa New Zealand has got the big two thumbs up…

Back in 2013 I was very busy expanding my horizons by visiting new places instead of my normal trips into Hakatere. For a long time I would normally visit Lake Clearwater Village each winter and explore the mountains in and around the idyllic lakeside location. Many of the peaks would look west at the large lumps of the Two Thumb Range. For a long time I just looked and never actually set foot on the range itself. Luckily that would change, and the outing didn’t disappoint.

2013 was a year of change for me. I had finished up a lengthy stint with Ultimate Hikes working on the Routeburn and Milford Tracks and now fate took me to Tuatapere and work on the Humpridge Track. I had to relocate from summers in Queenstown to a summer on the South Coast. Due to my winters usually being in Christchurch I was going to do a lot of driving, so to make things more interesting I broke up my drives with day missions and camps in places I had driven past many times but never actually explored.

After a busy ski season I decided to head south slightly earlier than usual and spend my first night at Lake Tekapo. For years I would drive through or stop for fuel then move on from the beautiful little town that is a tourist’s dream. My plan was to spend a night at the Lake Alexandrina Camping Ground and then do a morning mish before I continued my quest towards the bottom of the country.

After a night scanning maps at the very relaxed camping ground I decided to visit the Roundhill Ski Field area due to me spotting a good looking peak perched above. It was during the evening that I was to catch up with an old friend who was visiting. She was going to hitchhike from Christchurch and join me at some stage during the day and then we would head south together. I was set for an adventure and after a good sleep in my van next to Lake Alexandrina I set off.

It was early-ish when I began to drive around the southern (village) end of Lake Tekapo and just as light was beginning to reveal the stunning landscape around it I hit the dust of the Lilybank Road. It is twenty plus kilometres to the start of the Roundhill Road so I took it easy and enjoyed the surroundings.

While looking at the map I had calculated my climbing time based on starting somewhere near the ski field, but due to the field being closed for the summer I was stopped near the start of the road by a locked gate. This added a couple more kms to the mish and meant I had to move quickly in order to get up and down in time to meet my friend. I better get started!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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