White Sands in the Sky (Part Three). Mt Titiroa(1715m)

“On a Mish” #199 White Sands in the Sky (Part Three). Mt Titiroa(1715m). Hunter Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 3.4.2016. Sometimes the motivation needed to climb a mountain comes from constantly staring at its presence. Every time (when there aren’t any clouds) you drop down in to the Te Anau Basin your eyes are drawn to a mountain which looks like it has snow on it all year around. The white sands of Mt Titiroa help it stand out from others, and along with my girlfriend, I was now standing on top of the very strange white sand…

To descend we dropped down into the basin dotted with tarns on the south side of Mt Titiroa(1715m). Plugging steps into the granite sand on the way down into the first basin was one of the strangest alpine experiences I have ever had. Sand that appears white on top becomes dark brown after sinking into it, adding to the uniqueness of this incredible mountain.

The trip in reverse back to North Borland Hut was just as good as the adventure up the peak. The clouds swirling around gave us excellent and unique views of the many hills of the Hunter Mountains. Mountain tops in and out of mist make for excellent photography and it added to what was already an epic mish. Our brown steps in the white sand made our hike back a lot easier and we could tune out and soak in the scenery.

It was late afternoon when we got back to the hut, and our legs were aware of the long day out we had had. The weather was just perfect for climbing, descending and sandflies. At least the smokey little hut was a sandfly free zone. The smoke made our eyes water a little bit, but that is always better than a swarm of hungry sandies!

Early-ish the next morning was chilly with another good frost to crunch through as we made our way back down the valley towards the Borland Road. At least on the way out we got a chance to warm up before we had to do any river crossings. We got back to the crossing point of the Middle Branch of the Borland Burn and noticed how much the flow had dropped since we were there a couple of days ago. The flow may have dropped but this didn’t make the water any warmer!

After fording the Borland Burn it was a relaxing stroll through the beech forest before one last climb up to the road, and mish success. It will go down as one of my favourite adventures, thanks to the fact that I can see the great peak from my home in Te Anau. The day I stood on top of the white sands in the sky was an epic one and I recommend the mish to anyone who enjoys a tough and very unique Fiordland mountain mission.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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