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Trip Report – Emily Peak

By: Julie Russell

Source: Southland Section Newsletter

The Southland Section embarked on our first club trip of 2017 with a spring in our step from the Routeburn Shelter along the ‘Great Walk’ to the Emily Creek Bridge.

The rather large group of 13 awaited further instructions from Leader Matt as to the plan from here on in. Leader Matt announced that according to the Moir’s Guide Book there is a route up the creek, but he had heard of an alternate route that he thought might serve us better, which was marked by a cairn (which we all know to be perfectly trustworthy)…

As we work our way up the creek consisting of delightful boulder scrambling and evading wet feet, we hear that two of the party have decided to head down and have a less laborious weekend up the North Branch.

The party continued on up the creek until happening upon a cairn built on the left just like Leader Matt had said – this must be the point at which we plunge head first into the scrub. Peter Young headed off first and after disappearing two metres in, we see a rustle amongst the bushes and hear “yup, come in guys, I’ve found a track”. Fair to say that ‘track’ lasted for all of 5 metres. For those who endeavour to retrace our steps, ignore the cairn and just stick to the creek.

I have no doubt that all trips are well planned and thought out, however translating a Topo map to the real world proved interesting. Regrouping above the bush line there was much discussion on where to next. The Fiordland clag was setting in as well, which didn’t help and it was proving more difficult than originally thought to orientate ourselves.

Route-finding on the way up with the Route Burn in the vallye below.

Route-finding on the way up with the Route Burn in the vallye below.

A consensus was reached and off we headed South East, after some rather steep clambering which was an eye opener for our newer participants we all arrived safely at Emily Pass with Emily Peak still hiding behind clag.

Considering the weather, the majority of the group chose to head down to the plateau that showed on the map at 1200m – at this stage not much could be seen past 100m. Two of the party decided to head over to Emily Peak for a recce and see if it was worth a go.

The campsite was spectacular and not a breath of wind in sight considering reports were that it was for gale force winds. Camp was set up and everyone settled in by 5pm and we had all eaten our rather sad looking dehydrated premix meals (except for one who carted bacon and mushrooms the whole way up) by 5:30pm. Next thing the clag clears and we see the two lads who had gone off to explore Emily Peak, right up the top yahooing down at us.

With time on our hands, an evening session of abseiling was had amongst boulders the size of houses. This was just in case we had to rope up the next day to get down; so everyone knew what they were doing.

A summit attempt was planned for the morning but due to unpredictable conditions, Leader Matt made the call to let us sleep in. See Matt’s joke below…

What is the difference between a golfer and a climber?

A golfer goes whack, shit! A climber goes shit, whack.

A rather uneventful Sunday followed compared to Saturday. We left campsite and followed the creek down the hill towards Lake Mackenzie –one party followed the guidance of esteemed route finder Andrew McFadzien and decided to try their luck again with the scrub only seeming to not have learnt their lesson the day before. Emerging looking rather dishevelled.

We had a quick breakfast at the Mackenzie Shelter and then started on the long trek back to our cars, only 20km on hard packed trail separated us from burger and chips at the pub. Fair to say upon reaching that final bridge on the track, the spring was well and truly gone from our step.

While the majority of us didn’t summit Emily Peak, a hoot of a time was had getting there.

Trip Members:

Leader – Matt Humphries, Johnny Russell, Kent Andrews, Andrew McFadzien, Peter Young, Scott Mackay, Andy, Erin Noonan, Mathew Duggan, Kyle Duckworth, Annalise Shariff, Bruce Farmer, Pauline McAlpine & Julie Russell (Trip Report)

Posted: 16/03/17

Posted By: Narina Sutherland