As one drives into Te Anau there is a prominent white mountain situated to the south. When not covered in snow, its bedrock is basically quartz. This has intrigued me for a long time, so I decided along with four others to have a closer look.
Our start off point was the landing stage at Manapouri where we chartered a launch to take us to Hope Arm.
On the way, however, we were dropped off at The Monument, a notable columnar shaped rock of 200 metres which was an interesting climb, ending in a challenging chimney climb to the top.
From here we had a great view of the surrounding country, with the fine weather conditions helping too. Back on the launch, we were finally dropped off at Hope Arm Hut where we enjoyed lunch, and then the tramping began in earnest. Underfoot the track was very dry, no mud at all, most unusual for Fiordland, but then it hadn’t rained for weeks. Three hours later we dropped down to the Garnock Burn and a good campsite. That evening we were kept entertained by a pair of blue ducks feeding, as we were obviously intruding on their territory.
No track from here, so next morning after crossing the river
we headed straight up into the bush, a bit steep in places,and gradually climbed up to the bush line, from which the summit still appeared to be some distance away. Lots of quartz-type rocks, as well as coarse sand which was rather unexpected. It was 4.30 pm by the time we reached the top, with reasonably calm conditions and lots of wispy-like clouds so views weren’t great. Down 200 metres from the summit there was a nice tarn surrounded by rocks, so we made camp here, another great site.
Next morning, again amazingly calm conditions, as we traversed up and down and around more tarns and finally climbed back onto the summit ridge and another prominent knob. The sun came out and disappeared along with our wispy cloud, so it was difficult to pick out our descending route. Much musing over maps and the route guide followed, and then we made a careful descent through lots of loose rock and into the high tussock of the Borland valley.
Normally it would have been soggy going, but with the dry conditions we made good progress to the bush line.