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Trip Report: Mt. St. Mary

by Pat Prendergast

Inspired by recent articles on this mountain,  a group of 9 from our mid-week group (including 2 Kiwi ex-pats now living in Canada), met at the Ahuriri Base Hut in the drizzling rain, on January 3rd 2016. Next day dawned clear & sunny so we headed across the river, up the steep tussock slopes into the upper basin.  Once over the stream the going was rougher with a mix of boulder fields & scree slopes & alpine veg until we reached the lake nestled among smooth rocky outcrops.  In between them, was a great variety of campsites with lake views.

Next morning, after a frosty start, we headed up the maze of jumbled boulders, past old winter snow slopes & into the steep gully that leads to the ridge.  It was slow going because the rock was so loose but finally we were on more stable ground with the main ridge under our feet.  The others graciously let me (the oldest member) lead up the last section to the summit.  The summit team were, Daryll, Barbara & David Thompson, Chris Longson, Jan Haley, Rod Thomson & Pat Prendergast.  

mtstmary2

A morning tea celebration on the top with views of Cook, Aspiring, & the peaks of the area, Barth & Huxley made for a special start to the new year.  We carefully moved back down the gully to avoid rock fall then had a very enjoyable run down the snow slopes & back to the camp.  Alison Longson & Di Hooper had a brew ready for us then the rest of the day was spent exploring the smaller tarn area with it’s abundance of alpine flowers, a dip in the lake & resting.  After a hearty round of folk songs & poems we climbed into our sacks feeling very satisfied.   

Next morning we were all packed & ready an hour before schedule. The way down was shortened by using a gully that Barbara had sussed out the day before, so it was no time before we were back down, across the river & back to the cars for lunch.

Posted: 18/02/16

Posted By: Sefton Priestley