Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mt Taranaki - take two

I’ve been a little slack writing blog posts recently so I will attempt to make up for that in the next few weeks. We’ve certainly been out and about a lot doing various activities so plenty of blog fodder. This post is going to cover off our second trip of the year to Mt Taranaki. After our previous failed attempt to summit Taranaki by an alternative, rock-climbing route we were feeling reasonably confident that we knew where the route started and that we would be successful.Here's a good photo of the mountain taken from the deer farm we were staying at.

So, attempt number 2 took place in March. The weather conditions looked much better than our previous attempt so we headed off after work on the Friday to stay at the deer farm for the night.

The next morning we sorted out our gear which needed to include our climbing equipment as well as the normal warm clothing, food, etc. We headed up to the mountain and walked to the beginning of the route. Well. What we thought the beginning of the route was. The route description told us to climb up the rocky creek bed (no water in the creek), then exit the creek to the right which would take us a to a meadow. All went well until we exited the creek and found ourselves in an open area that didn’t look much like a meadow as it was covered in low, scrubby leatherwood trees. We spent over an hour fighting through this area to reach a rocky ridge we could see in the distance. When we got over the top of the ridge we discussed where the route might be as we were pretty sure we weren’t on it.

After a lunch break in the sun we decided to continue across the valley to a lava flow we could see that we thought could be fun to climb. The rest of the climb to the summit was relatively uneventful. For once the photos taken actually showed how steep the terrain was. Usually photos make it look pretty tame.

We did get to one point where we needed to pull out the climbing gear to get down off the end of a rocky outcrop.

When we reached the summit there was a lot of cloud around us but, while we were there, the cloud cleared away and the sun was shining.

This is the top of the mountain - looks a little like we could be on the moon or somewhere.

By now it was after 5pm but the view was so good and the sun so warm we spent an hour pottering about on the summit, taking photos and snacking.

Eventually we started to descend – down the normal summit track and got back to the car just before 9pm. It had been a long day and we spent the last hour walking in the dark. And we still hadn’t climbed the route we wanted to! Now we need to find another weekend to go back and do it properly!