Saturday, May 3, 2008

Arthur's Pass

After a wonderful trip to Muller Hut in the shadow of Mt Cook:

Where it snowed a bit overnight:

I took my rental car and headed North (well south, east, north and west) to Arthur's Pass. Mariell, who I met at Muller, decided to come along as well. We spent the night in the ski town of Methven planning to leave at 8am. unfortunately they had a wonderful free breakfast and the host was very chatty about "Flight of the Concords" so we left at 9am. After a very scenic drive to the pass, we talked to the ranger and decided on the Avalanche Peak-Crow River track which would give us some scenic views (for Nate who had tagged Avalanche Peak when it was cloudy) as well as I nice night in a $5 hut! Muller had been $35 and all the ones on Routeburn and Kepler were $40! Plus I could use the stove I'd been lugging around all trip. But when we got back to the parking lot, we discovered I had a flat tire!

After changing it, we headed to drop Mariell's car at the end of the track, and found the road flooded, so we had to stop at each puddle and wade in to see how deep it was. So that delayed our actual start until almost 2 that afternoon. It's supposed to be 3-4 hours up to Avalanche Peak, then another 2.5 hours traversing the ridge and down a scree field to the river and the Hut. All the estimates seem to be a little on the generous side, so we thought we had a chance. After two hours, the summit was in sight.
And by 2.5 hours we'd bagged the Peak:
Sorry you missed these views Nate!
The instructions said, head down the south side of the slope and traverse the scree two valleys over and then descend to the river. Two Czech guys were supposed to be also staying at the hut that night, and so we found what we thought were their foot steps and followed them. Unfortunately they didn't descend far enough and we got to a sketchy descent that didn't look particularly safe. Combine that with Mariell's less than ideal gunn boots and the late hour, we decided to give up on the traverse and head back to town. All was not lost though as we got a spectacular view of sunset.

P.S. Random photo of a church in Lake Tekapo, which would be an ideal destination wedding location. Who wants to get married and invite me back to the Southern Alps? :)


b mathew said...

Amazing pics! Goddamn!!!!

puppy chang said...

Omg... breathtaking. I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not... Ok, who am I kidding? Sitting in this cubicle all day sucks!! Sigh.