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Ascent of Mitre on 2019-03-12

Climber: Duncan Lennon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mitre
    Location:New Zealand
    Elevation:5154 ft / 1570 m

Ascent Trip Report

Everything I've ever read about the Tararuas makes disparaging reference to their "unpredictable and tempestuous climate" or something similar. No mountain range has a worse reputation. It seems like all you're meant to do here is hide in huts "brewing up" until the sideways rain abates slightly and you scurry through a gale to the next hut and repeat.

Well, everyone is right! I've had a keen eye on Mitre here for some time, and spotted a comically narrow weather window in which to climb it. I jumped on the ferry, raced out of Wellington and was just able to reach Mitre Flats Hut as the sun set. The skies were ashy but the supposed window was from about midnight till 11am the next day. I slept well, alone in the hut that was dedicated almost exactly the day I was born.

Before dawn, I was working up the pretty decent trail that climbs 1200 meters directly from hut to summit. At bushline, I had good views out to the Wairarapa country and no views ahead, as the wind was whipping dark clouds across the tops. I ventured further, getting a little bit wet in the mist and almost being blown over many times. The link between the Peggy's Peak subsummit and the top was a cool tightrope which in 35mph wind had me crawling. I huddled behind the summit cairn and laughed at the predictability of this mission: the windiest range in the country was, in fact, windy.

Down at 1100 meters I again had a great view out to the countryside, this time accented by a bold rainbow that actually had a visible end right near me. Couldn't get my hands on it, though. I was back at the sunny hut by late morning and I stayed the day, reading and playing in the river. The tops remained enshrouded for most of the day, and light rain returned. I felt almost fortunate to have only been blown around a bit instead of driven off by hypothermia or whatever typically goes on here.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)



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