Finally an early start, and I powered up the creek.

A vague track could be imagined if rock hopping in the riverbed didn’t always seem sensible, ie, half the time. At this stage, the creek is quite steep and has accumulated some house-sized boulders, and scree sidling was required.

It turned out to be plenty of scree for the day, the unstable jagged kind, once I made it past the junction where the climber from last night had set up camp.

I just had to climb through the last of the mountain beech forest to get above the tree line. Note. Avoid the patches of mountain totara. It’s scratchy and tends to trip you up.

It was after lunch at the last flowing water that the scree climb really began. Straight up, as steep as loose, jagged scree will allow. At times there was solid rock, or some tussock to drag me up.

It was quite a physical day.

Then it flattened out and the boulders grew considerably in size. That meant some more sidling, on bigger loose, jagged rocks, until I got around the corner and picked out another scree slope that went up to the pass.

All I could do, suffering in the hot sun, was keep plugging away. Stop every now and again. Just keep going.

Eventually, I made it to the top of the pass, at 1890 m, and suddenly considered if I was actually on the route. Avalanches had wiped out any cairns, but yes, right on the top of the pass was a fine pile of rocks, so I clearly wasn’t the first to make it.

Then, I plunge down the northern side, with grasses, both snow grass, and tussock. I read in the Lees Creek hut book of a recent party who camped “beneath the bluffs”. I could see some tarns some way down. That would suit me, another night above the bushline.

The bluffs have an obvious pass through them, but they aren’t simple. Hang onto that tussock, and I threw my walking pole ahead and used both hands on the vegetation.

Yep, she’s steep, and also down a trickle of a watercourse. Greasy underfoot.

Nice to climb up to the tarns, on a knoll that offered a super splendid view, and just a rather lumpy, and not quite level mattress of snow grass.

I’m at 1660 m, just about the highest I’ve ever slept, matching Lake Angelus Hut.

Obviously, no company tonight. In fact, I hadn’t seen anyone since the young guy and his mother yesterday afternoon.

Even the sandflies don’t come up this high.

My third night away, and third night in a tent. You sense I enjoy the experience.

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