Mt Taranaki

21 Feb

18th February 2013

Got up in the pitch dark this morning and quickly packed up the car so that we could get an early start. We had a quick breakfast in the car park and loaded the small rucksacks with 5 litres of water and some sandwiches.

 

Early start

 

There is a sign at the bottom showing the different walks. We were hoping to do the summit walk.

 

A long way to go

 

The mountain looked good in the morning light, but the top looked a long way off.

 

Clear sky over Taranaki

 

The first part of the walk runs along a 4×4 track which winds around the mountain. It then turns into a steep concrete track that runs up to a communications mast. It is used to get maintenance vehicles up. This is all steep but relatively easy. It takes around 1 hr 45 mins to get here. The path runs past a hut to a very rocky area which is a bit of a scramble.

 

Not an easy climb

 

At the top of this section, steps had been built out of timber. The steps went on and on but were easy climbing.

 

Many steps

 

At the top of these steps was a long long scree slope, one step forward and slide half a step back. The scree was small round stones and rolled under your feet. We did not take pictures on this bit as getting up was a bit of a struggle.

At the top of the scree we moved onto a rocky stretch that was part walk part climb. We stopped here for lunch.

 

Looking down at the clouds

 

After lunch we continued up the rocky section. The cloud had come in and so it was quite cool …. not great for the views though.

 

Almost climbing

 

Eventually after much puffing, blowing and stopping we walked into the crater!

 

Walking on ice

 

As you walked on towards the edge of the rim, you could see the sea.

 

Snow in the crater

 

The crater was as far as we went. You can go up on to the edge of the rim which is the true summit, but it is only about 50m higher and our guide book said respect the locals wishes and do not go to the top ….. we were happy with this as we were worn out!!

 

Mt Taranaki crater

 

The way down was also really tiring as it was hard to stay upright on the scree. By the time we got back we were pretty well exhausted …. Not an easy way to spend almost 9 hrs …. but satisfying.

We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, but talked to a 72 year old man on the mountain who had climbed it 9 days in a row! His record was 18 days on the trot and only stopped then due to a change in the weather.

We have not checked yet, but were told in the visitor centre that someone had once gone up and down the mountain in 1hr 48 mins ….. surely not!!

We should sleep well tonight.

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