The one thing I was hoping for was a clear day for climbing Mt Starveall and my wish, for once, it is NZ after all, was granted. Hardly a cloud in the sky all day.
In the beginning it didn’t matter too much, you follow up a creek, half a dozen crossings that didn’t require getting wet feet, just jump across but then the climbing started, pretty much continuously for the next three hours, not all of it in motion. Yup, she turned into the biggest day height wise since forever, more than 1500 m elevation gain on the plod, just one foot in front of the other.
There was one view down with the well named Pyramid Rock already far below but it wasn’t until Starveall hut where you break out of the forest that the big views, including the direction I’m eventually headed, became apparent.
The hut is well below the summit, which obscures much of Mt Rintoul but Purple Top was quite apparent. A cute hut, just an old NZFS six bunker.
I can’t work out why I never came up here as a youth, except getting a lift to and from Aniseed Valley clearly must’ve been a problem. I can’t remember anyone talking about the track either. I’ve seen Mt Starveall from the other side of the Bay so I know that view up higher was going to be good but I couldn’t imagine it would be a perfect, almost windless, cloudless autumn day and as approaching the top the whole Bay popped interview, Abel Tasman and Kahurangi on display, then skirting around the top over the back, the long Pelorus River, Dun Mountain and the long ridge leading up to Mt Fell and the super impressive Mt Richmond, not all that much higher than what I was standing on.
You don’t quite make it to the top of Mt Starveall, unless you are one of those box tickers, the top flattens out and so the view diminishes as you get near the flattish summit, but eventually, after having made the most of the opportunity photographically speaking it’s time to drop down the other side on a long ridge leading to Slaty Peak and the hut that is down near the bush line.
Climbs, yes, a day of it, views, an afternoon of them, mostly of the astounding type.
I discovered it was Sunday, not Saturday as I have been thinking, the actual days don’t mean much when you’re up here, reminded by a couple of adventurers training for the Murchison event in three weeks time, that training run was from the Roding River car park to Hackett with the climb to the top of Mt Starveall, then, obviously, jogging 1300 m back down the hill.
They might be the last people I see for a while unless another SOBO appears.
One thing for sure, after lugging a backpack that still has nine day’s food aboard there’s a fair chance an early night is on the cards.
Good night.← Day 4 | Hacket Hut, not so far from the roadend Day 6 | Old Man Hut, perfect spot for me →