Summit climb


I have returned from summiting the formidable Mount Taranaki!

Quite a feat as I did not really train.   I feel proud I made it, although I am hobbling about like a women 3 times my age  who has severe arthritis and  will be for a few more days no doubt…

For  a friends 50th birthday she decided to return to her birthplace and climb the mountain. We did have a discussion 2000 metres up perched on the scree about her being born here, (right here ?? On the scree?)

In the end there were 14 of us walkers who set out on the Friday night to stay at a gorgeous (electricity, carpets, full kitchen) private lodge half way up the mountain.  This was steep and took just over an hour.


On the road up Taranaki had a scarf of cloud about her shoulders.


Dusk made for a cool walk up to Tahurangi Lodge, where the summit was ever present before us…


I love this giant shadow of the classic volcano shaped peak lying across the plains below.

Tahurangi Lodge is at 15oo m above sea level, the summit is 2518m.

Saturday morning we rose at 6am to watch the sunrise and prepared to set off.  Many people were already well on their way.   A local told us there can be 300-400 people a day summiting on a sunny weekend.


Mount Ruapehu on the left looked tiny from where we were, as the sun rose across a bed of cloud that stayed there all day, while we climbed in hot sunshine.

The walk has very distinct terrain.  There are 440 steps, then scree, then volcanic rocks to clamber up.


Our party setting out in the first rays of sunshine….


The steps!


The scree – with a few patches of snow still hanging on.  It wasn’t all fine, loose and easy to slide down, there were rocks to watch out for which made the descent a bit slower.


The best bit of equipment for the steep rock clambering was gloves, to protect your hands.
(And probably leg muscles used to such exertion would have been useful too…)


Birthday girl Alice and I  in the  snow filled crater.

Champagne was served by friends on the true summit, a steep 15 min climb to the right of this.


Looking down the crater .

It is pretty amazing to be able to climb a volcano, even an extinct one.  It adds a certain dash of danger to think of the power that exsists beneath your feet that appeals to the risk-taker in me.


The gradient was steep,the views between clouds spectacular and the company fantastic!

Tramping is such a bonding sort of activity.  You set off with a group of mostly strangers and after just 24 hours they feel like your best buddies in the world. Also you know you are in the company of like minded people who love to seize the day, try new things, take risks and explore.  That is such a blessing which inspires me.

It was so great to chat (puff) to new people as I shared different parts of the track with them.  And so neat to see another part of a Alice’s life, by meeting a range of her family and friends. Seeing her in a  role different to that in which I usually see  her.

We stayed at the historic Camphouse after our climb where we were joined by other friends and family.

Every time I am out and about like this I just feel so grateful for the freedom we have in New Zealand to get up and go to such beautiful places so easily.  They are accessible, free and safe.

I am also grateful for my family.  This weekend there were many other things happening for our family.  Having older children and a supportive partner  made it very easy for me to take off on my adventure while they all had their own   adventures and things to do.
So thank you.


4 responses »

  1. We’re proud of you too Jane! Huge achievement and another peak ticked off in Aotearoa. “The Camphouse” was were we had a family reunion a few winter back (mid winter xmas). Great venue.

  2. Great blog Jane and I loved reading about your climb up Mt. Taranaki. I really loved going up there last week, but wish I had taken more photos along the way. I think that dancing at Womad was the best antidote to aching legs! (I’m listening to Mari Boine from Samiland right now – my favourite discovery of the weekend).
    All the best, Gisela xx

    • Gee you did well to remember my blog name after me shouting it in your ear during a concert!!
      I think you are way more in shape than me, I could barely walk for 3 days after The Climb!
      Great to see you again!
      I will be blogging while we are away too.
      Enjoy your trip to the islands…
      Love Jane

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