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Mt Taranaki Summit on a Perfect Day - Auckland Anniversary Weekend 2022

7 Feb 2022 4:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

 Report by Eric Skilling

Standing on the top of the perfect cone-shaped volcanic peak makes you quickly forget the efforts of getting out of bed before 5am and the 3 to 4 hour climb up from Tahurangi Lodge.  OK, so I was out of bed before 5am to avoid incurring Arletta’s wrath, but all of us had that priceless wide-eyed look of achievement on our faces as we looked down the full 2,518 metres to the West Coast of Taranaki. 

We had enjoyed a glorious sunrise before reaching the summit mid-morning. The day was near perfect - the sky above was a cloudless deep blue, with a gusty but quite light wind reminding us that this was alpine country.



Gazing east from the summit, the horizon was broken by the sharp point of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu’s jagged ridge line. To the north, we could see the shark-tooth shaped Paritutu Rock and the famous Power Station Chimney of New Plymouth.

Low scattered cloud was drifting in from the south and west, but you could still make out the coastline curving its way around to the grey green of the distant South Island.

Starting from Tahurangi Lodge saves almost 500 metres of elevation, but we still used up some serious calories getting up the last 1,000 metres. First, we negotiated the small rocky gully in the dark, then ascended the series of steep steps that steered us to the scree slope. A few hundred metres later we scrambled up onto ‘the Lizard’ (named as such because it looks like a lizard in autumn as the snow melts around it), an endless succession of rocks and boulders that lead us to the narrow ledge and down to a small gully covered in hard-packed snow. Then another 10-minute scramble to the summit.

 All stages of the track are steep and equally, if not more, challenging on the way down especially for the tired and weary. A rescue operation was in full swing as we descended after someone had fallen going down the stairs.

However challenging, it has been a feat successfully accomplished by many and should be pursued by many others.

Many thanks to Arletta, Craig, Ilva, John L, Rose and Vlad – great to share your company, and to Kevin for organising the trip.


 

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