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Trip Report – Bested by Brewster

Source: Southland Newsletter (Nov 2016)

By Matthew Humphries

This trip had been attempted a few times with none getting past my front door due to weather so when a supposedly bomber forecast came we quickly jumped at the chance. Leaving Invercargill on Friday afternoon I met Jonny and Kent in Arrowtown and we drove to the Fantail Falls car park. A quick brisk walk up the steep forest path saw us arriving at the surprisingly full Brewster hut not long past dark. We quickly bedded down on the common room floor and waited for the forecast to prove its worth.

We woke to a blue bird morning and a big frost offering perfect conditions. We were soon at the Glacier in high spirits and made our way up the Glacier to meet the West ridge. It was Jonny who first noted the cloud beginning to arrive but the forecast was full proof so we made our way on up. We began to encounter bullet hard ice from about the 2000mtr mark. Unfortunately within an hour we were in total white out conditions with the visibility only a couple of mtrs. We arrived at one of the outlier peaks of Brewster only 55mtrs below the summit. But with a sudden drop in front of us and with limited visibility is was impossible to tell how far it was to the bottom. At this point due to conditions we decided to turn round.

We had an exciting descent due to the conditions with a few abseils that put our bollard making skills to the test but we were soon back on the glacier and making our way back to the hut. We were glad to see the weather getting worse; knowing we had made the right decision to descend. We were glad to finally walk in the door to another full hut after a long day out. The next morning we woke up to thick fog and very close to spooning with Jonny so after a few blushes we made our way home.

Mt Brewster would make a great trip for many keen climbers but just remember this is a main divide peak and conditions can change very fast.

Team. Kent Andrews, Jonny Russell and Matthew Humphries

Posted: 17/11/16

Posted By: Narina Sutherland