28 April 2013

New Zealand Feb 2012 - The Five Passes Day 4

The Five Passes. Day 4 - Parks Pass, Parks Pass Glacier, Lake Nerine
Day 4. Simple. Go down the creek a bit, turn left, go up a bit, go up a bit more, come back down a bit, go up a bit more. Climbing 1250m, dropping 600m and covering 13 km. A big day.
Is this it?After following Hidden Falls Ck downhill for a couple of kms, we had to find the "left turn up the hill". T'was somewhere near this little stream, but alas we didn't find the track until the top, some 550m climb and 70 minutes later. We followed what was probably a hunter's pad up a handy ridge, which was in a way fine because you could put your hand out, and if it didn't crumble away, it was a good hand hold for dragging yourself up, and then a good foot hold four feet later... also, walking under the tree cover helped us not overcook ourselves.
So we must be at the top, then...?
So 70 minutes grunt later, we emerged out of the rotting forest to the alpine meadows. And this is the sort of thing you're likely to run into on NZ's South Island. So common this one's named Peak 1920!
Below: Having made Park's Pass, we continued up to Park's Pass Glacier, a mere 400m further up. Pretty easy going up in good weather. Wouldn't try it in bad! Amazing the loss of permanent snow here. The glacier has retreated a long way from what was marked on the LINZ map of the time... Those opposed to the idea of global warming must at least acknowledge local warming! (And this is happening all around the globe, btw...)
Park Pass Glacier
So rather than exit via Sugarloaf, we were told of a very pretty spot called Lake Nerine which involves a fair bit of alpine traversal, and headed for that. These two pics were taken on the way. Below: Parks Pass with Peak 1920 in cloud and Parks Pass Glacier above it. The exit stream of the glacier (and the source of the Rock Burn) is the cleft on the right.
Below: Upper Rock Burn, taken from 800m above. We didn't go back that way, though most Five Passers would travel through it. Theatre Flat, with Mt Nox to the left, and probably Peak 1863 on the right, with Sugarloaf Pass (usually one of the Five Passes as described) somewhere behind it.
Upper Rock Burn
The alpine traverse up to Lake Nerine is only 4km, but climbs 400m across snow grass and scree, and at the end of a day with so much climbing already, felt quite treacherous. We were pretty tired, and I think it took us over 2 hours! Lake Nerine looked so welcoming by the time we arrived.
Lake Nerine

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As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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