Mt Wilson - Arthurs Pass NZ

 

On our annual drive north from Queenstown, we met up with some friends who were on a mission to summit a mountain in the Arthurs Pass.

We had known Tom, a good friend of ours, from various Icebreaker photoshoots and other missions together, and Ken and Brendan were friends of his who we got to know very quickly. A good keen crew was formed and the positive energy was contagious.

Day 1. We set off from the road up the Edwards River towards the Polar Range. Surrounded by native bush, Karearea (NZ falcon), sunshine and good vibes.

 Setting off up the Edwards River in Arthurs Pass National Park, NZ. L-R Brendan Basset, Ken Harris, Sophie Stevens, Tom Powell. Photo: Pete Oswald

Setting off up the Edwards River in Arthurs Pass National Park, NZ. L-R Brendan Basset, Ken Harris, Sophie Stevens, Tom Powell. Photo: Pete Oswald

 Soph looking cheesy. Photo: Pete Oswald

Soph looking cheesy. Photo: Pete Oswald

The track winds alongside the river where the bush breaks for glimpses of waterfalls and rugged mountain peaks.

After a 5 hour hike on day 1 we were happy to see the Edwards hut, sitting at 1080m. We all agreed this was one of the best mountain huts we'd all stayed in. It had so much character and was beautifully maintained.

 Tom leaps in an attempt to keep his feet dry, bold move with camera in hand. Photo: Brendan Basset

Tom leaps in an attempt to keep his feet dry, bold move with camera in hand. Photo: Brendan Basset

 Ken approaching the Edwards Hut in the afternoon sun. Photo: Tom Powell

Ken approaching the Edwards Hut in the afternoon sun. Photo: Tom Powell

That evening we cooled off by the river, some more than others! A great place to watch the sun set behind the mountains and get to know our travelling companions, over a cold beer that we'd cooled in the river.

 Pete cools down and washes off in the ice cold river. Photo: Tom Powell

Pete cools down and washes off in the ice cold river. Photo: Tom Powell

 Not much better than a hot miso soup after a long hike. Photo: Tom Powell

Not much better than a hot miso soup after a long hike. Photo: Tom Powell

Day 2. After porridge and freshly ground coffee (thanks Brendan) we set off to the summit. A great time for Ken to notice his boots were falling apart! With a bit of kiwi ingenuity and some zip ties and duck tape, he had some shoes that would at least stay on his feet. Nothing was going to stop this man on a mission.

 Ken's boots had seen better days, Photo: Tom Powell

Ken's boots had seen better days, Photo: Tom Powell

 Pete whittles us walking sticks to save our knees on the way down. Photo: Tom Powell

Pete whittles us walking sticks to save our knees on the way down. Photo: Tom Powell

 Soph, happy in the mountains! Photo: Pete Oswald

Soph, happy in the mountains! Photo: Pete Oswald

The way up was a scramble to say the least! There was no track so we followed the valley until we saw a potential way straight up through the rocks and bush that might take us to the summit. With this crew, nothing was going to stop us.

 On the way up, moral was tip-top and so was the weather! Tom, Ken, Brendan and Soph. Photo: Pete Oswald

On the way up, moral was tip-top and so was the weather! Tom, Ken, Brendan and Soph. Photo: Pete Oswald

 Approaching the summit. Rocky scree made a tricky climb. Photo: Tom Powell

Approaching the summit. Rocky scree made a tricky climb. Photo: Tom Powell

Most of the climb was over loose scree which was quite tough at times but with summit in sight, we knew we were getting close.

Just before we got to the summit ridge, a large rock dislodged in the scree and fell on Soph's leg pinning her down. Pete had to scramble up to her to lift it off.

 A rock hit Soph's leg which caused a bit of bleeding but luckily we had the first aid kit and this was the worst injury of the trip. Photo: Pete Oswald

A rock hit Soph's leg which caused a bit of bleeding but luckily we had the first aid kit and this was the worst injury of the trip. Photo: Pete Oswald

We patched up Soph's leg with a combination first aid kits and she trooped on towards the summit.

 'We knocked the bastard off!' Brendan, Ken, Tom, Soph and Pete on the summit of Mt Wilson. Photo: Pete's camera on a timer.

'We knocked the bastard off!' Brendan, Ken, Tom, Soph and Pete on the summit of Mt Wilson. Photo: Pete's camera on a timer.

 Pete drinking an Altitude Beer at the summit, very appropriately called the 'Persistent High'. Photo: Tom Powell

Pete drinking an Altitude Beer at the summit, very appropriately called the 'Persistent High'. Photo: Tom Powell

Reaching the summit is always such a great feeling, especially with no marked track to lead us there, a group of good friends and an ambition to get to the top. Mt Wilson, 2039m.

 Ken's boots, having a hard time but he battled on like "a good keen man". Photo: Tom Powell

Ken's boots, having a hard time but he battled on like "a good keen man". Photo: Tom Powell

 Starting the decent, a bit of snow left on the south facing slopes. Photo: Tom Powell

Starting the decent, a bit of snow left on the south facing slopes. Photo: Tom Powell

 Soph.. feeling sorry for herself. Photo: Pete Oswald

Soph.. feeling sorry for herself. Photo: Pete Oswald

After 9 hours climbing, we were back at the hut before the sun went down and ready for a good hot dinner to celebrate the day's adventures. 

 Back to the hut for some whiskey and great yarns. Photo: Tom Powell

Back to the hut for some whiskey and great yarns. Photo: Tom Powell

 The beautiful Mt Cook Lilly. Photo: Pete Oswald

The beautiful Mt Cook Lilly. Photo: Pete Oswald

Day 3. We walked out, through meadows of beautiful Mt Cook Lillys, back down the valley and out to civilisation.

What an awesome adventure that just seem to fall into place with amazing people on the same vibe, most whom did not know each other before this trip but are now friends who share this great experience never to be forgotten.

 A doodle Soph did of the Edwards Hut.

A doodle Soph did of the Edwards Hut.