White Sands of Titiroa (Part Two) – Mt Titiroa(1715m)

“A Mish a Day” #199 Mt Titiroa(1715m) – Part Two. Hunter Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 4.4.2016. Waking up mid mish is always an enjoyable experience. Knowing there is a job to be done keeps the mind occupied before heading out into the wild world you have got yourself into. There is a job to do and we are going to have an awesome time doing it! Crunching across frosty ground is something I usually really enjoy, but it’s not as enjoyable when walking towards an icy river that needs to be crossed first thing in the morning. Crossing moving ice (an alpine river) is a good way to wash away any remaining sleepiness…

Immediately after crossing the North Branch of the Borland Burn the route up Titiroa(1717m) climbed through open beech forest, which got easier to travel through the higher we got. The treeline ends at a lip of a small basin on the southern end of Mt Titiroa(1715m), and camping beside the tarn in the elevated basin is on the list. Above the basin we came across the first of many large, sculptured granite boulders, some looking like the Easter Island statues. Above we looked along the south ridge from Peak 1581m, and as I did clouds began to cover the summit of Mt Titiroa(1715m). We kept as close to the crest of the ridge as possible, summitting a few of the minor Titiroa Peaks along the way. The rough sandpaper-like surface of the rock provided excellent grip on the steep areas and we slowly crept our way along the ridge towards our goal. With one last scramble we dragged ourselves onto the top of the large summit rocks, and there was no more up to go. The view was outstanding. However before I could take a photo, Lake Manapouri quickly disappeared into a sea of clouds. A summit is a summit, and even though clouds had obscured some of the views, the alpine atmosphere and summit satisfaction easily made it worth the effort. To descend we dropped down into the tarn covered basins 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 trip up. The clouds swirling around gave us excellent and unique views of the many peaks of the Hunter Mountains, because of course it cleared about an hour after leaving the summit! It was late afternoon when we got back to the hut, and with the clear skies came the sandflies, so the smoky little hut was a welcome Te Namu-free haven.

Tarn Basin below the summit of Mt Titiroa(1715m)

Early-ish the next morning was chilly with a good frost to crunch through as we made our way back down the valley to the Borland Road. The water in the Middle Branch of the Borland Burn had dropped a lot, and with less than half the flow since we were here last, it was easy to cross. After this it was a relaxing stroll through the beech forest before one last climb up to the road, and mish success.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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