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

“On a Mish” #199 White Sands in the Sky (Part Two). Mt Titiroa(1715m). Hunter Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 2.4.2016. Not all mountains are equal. Some have striking ridges and faces, others snow capped with many glaciers. And then there are some that are extra special. Not only are they visually appearing but their uniqueness makes them a must do for many mountain lovers…

Crunching across frosty ground first thing in the morning is something I usually really enjoy. However, it is not as enjoyable when walking towards an icy river that needs to be crossed. Fording moving ice / an alpine river is a good way to wash away any remaining sleepiness and to let you know you a really ALIVE!

After crossing the refreshing waters of the North Branch of the Borland Burn the route up Titiroa(1717m) climbed through open beech forest. What looked like solid bush bashing at first wasn’t very difficult at all. Marker tape helped us navigate the forest which got easier to travel through the higher we got.

The treeline is at the lip of a small basin on the southern end of Mt Titiroa(1715m). This would be an excellent place to camp of future missions to the area. Above the basin we came across the first of many large, sculptured granite boulders. It was like a giant’s graveyard full of huge tombstones, some even looked like the Easter Island statues.

The uphill assault stopped once we gained the South Ridge. We looked along the ridge from Peak 1581m at our path ahead. Just as we saw our goal for the first time clouds began to consume the summit of Mt Titiroa(1715m). At least the way was obvious.

We kept as close to the crest of the ridge as possible, clambering up and over a few of the minor Titiroa Peaks along the way. The rough sandpaper-like surface of the rock provided an excellent grip on the steep spots, and we slowly crept our way along the ridge enjoying the views when they appeared out of the mist.

It had been an awesome morning with many ups and downs. We arrived at the base of the last up and we were both excited about being close to a summit that was a little bit more special than others. One last scramble up the white sands in the sky and there was no more up left to go. The view was outstanding, for about twenty seconds!

Before we could even think about taking a photo, Lake Manapouri quickly disappeared into the lumpy sea of clouds. In a way it added to the uniqueness of the location, and we were probably the only ones standing on the top that day. Of course, a summit is a summit no matter what the weather is doing, and we celebrated our success before preparing ourselves for the mish back to the tiny tin box in the North Borland Valley…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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