Tues 24.11.15. I parked my car at the gravel pit, about 16 kms along Lilybank Rd, as I wanted to climb Mt Richmond south ridge to the scree line, about 1700 m. Map ref: BY17 104392. The gravel pit was already about 800 m above sea level overlooking Lake Tekapo.
Although Alpine ranges on the west side of Lake Tekapo were rainy, Lake Tekapo & Two Thumbs Range on the east side of Lake Tekapo had no rain. In the east it was an overcast, nor'wester day, cool & perfect for climbing.
On Richmond Station, it took me 2 hours to cross grassy, moraine country, with Boundary Stream on my right, & the north end of Mt Ardmore straight ahead, while I rose 200 vertical metres, over undulating, hummocky country & ancient moraine terraces to a double boundary fence at the last moraine terrace. En route I passed a tarn near a pine tree & crossed several small streams, tributaries of Boundary Stream.
In a valley between the last moraine terrace & the bottom of Mt Richmond, I crossed a DOC path, signified by marker poles with orange, plastic sleeves on top. By that stage I was about as high as Mt John, approx 1000 m.
My ascent up Mt Richmond south ridge to scree at 1700 m rose 700 vertical metres in 5 giant steps through tussock land, Spaniards & Alpine cushion plants. On top of the fourth giant step I sidled east, past a rocky outcrop, as I was nervous of lightning strikes due to low cloud over Lake Tekapo & Mt Richmond. My sidle took me up the fifth giant step to scree & patches of summer snow. My ascent up Mt Richmond south ridge took me 2.5 hours, up the 5 giant, tussocky steps.
S: I had clear views of Wee McGregor & Mt Hay.
SE: On my way up, glimpses of Boundary Stream & the gorge below Mt Ardmore.
E: North end of Mt Ardmore, The Knobbies & Stoneleigh Saddle. On Mt Richmond scree, I was almost as high as Stoneleigh Saddle in the east.
SW: Motuariki Island, Lake Tekapo, Mt John, a rainbow over Old Mans Range, rain on Ben Ohau Range.
W: Rain on Braemar Dome, other end of the rainbow over Mt Joseph, rainy Cass River Valley, rainy Gammack Range & rainy Hall Range. I was higher than Mt Joseph & could see over the top of Mt Joseph to Joseph Ridge & rainy Hells Gates. Mt Cook Range was obscured by rain cloud. Glenmore Station & Godley Peaks Station by Cass River Delta.
NW: Rainy Godley River Valley & rainy Macaulay River Valley. Glimpses of Mt Erebus, Razorback, Mt Sibbald, Mt D'Archiac.
N: Mt Gerald Station, NE end of Lake Tekapo. Two Thumbs Range, clouds clearing in the east.
NE: On my way up, glimpses of Mt Gerald & Round Hill ski field, N end of Mt Richmond. Mt Richmond rocky summit ridge.
I didn't stay long on Mt Richmond scree, as it was drizzly & time to get off the mountain. My descent & return to my car on Lilybank Rd was quicker - 3 hours.
Lilybank Rd to bottom of Mt Richmond: 4.5 kms. 2 hours walking time. 200 vertical metres rise.
Ascent of Mt Richmond: 3 kms. 2,5 hours climb time. 700 vertical metres rise to 1700 m scree.
Descent to Lilybank Rd: 3 hours.
Total distance walked: 15 kms, Total walking / climbing time 7.5 hours. 900 vertical metres rise.
Fitness, all weather gear, food, water, map & emergency gear are essential. Permission for walking / climbing must be obtained from Richmond Station owners as it is a working sheep station.
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.