Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mt Dalgety Summit, Mackenzie Country

Thursday 23.11.17. I drove SH8 from Pleasant Point to the top of Hakataramea Pass, 965 m, via Albury, Fairlie, Burkes Pass, Dog Kennel Corner, Haldon Rd, Hakataramea Pass Rd, as I wanted to summit Mt Dalgety, 1752 m. Map ref: BZ17 088921.

Road distances:

* Pleasant Point SH8 tarseal to Dog Kennel Corner turnoff to Haldon Rd: 74 kms.
* Haldon Rd tarseal past Rollesby Range & Dalgety Range to Hakataramea Pass Rd turnoff: 16 kms.
* Hakataramea Pass Rd gravel road over 4 fords past Dalgety Range & Grampian Range to top of Hakataramea pass: 16 kms.

Last Wednesday I'd summitted Grampian Range. Since then, Mackenzie Council had graded Hakataramea Pass Rd, so ruts & potholes were smoothed over.

I parked my car near a closed gate at the top of Hakataramea Pass. There was no track to the top of Mt Dalgety marked on my Topo50 map, so I hopped over a fence & followed another fence E up a tussock ridge to about 1200 m where the fence took a sharp turn N. En route a ram had hung itself by entwining three of its legs amongst top 3 wires of the fence. It hung dessicated by Alpine winds & sun. A horrible way to die with views of Dalgety ridges & valleys each side & Grampian Range W the other side of Hakataramea Pass.

I left the fence & continued climbing, following goat tracks where possible through more tussock, Spaniards & Alpine plants. Notable were Gaultheria snowberries, Celmisia sessiliflora, orange & green Scleranthus, minute Hebes, like whipcord hebes, mat broom & coral broom, Carmichaelia genus. Coral brooms & mat brooms were stunted, foraged by ungulates. I passed a  host of cushion plants on my way up, including Haastia vegetable sheep & Raoulia scabweed covering rocks. There was also Hieracium hawkweed all the way to the top, ravages of over a century of Alpine sheep farming.

On my way up, a series of giant steps up the ridge, I passed several rocky outcrops, vertical ancient sediments, with wind funnels above & below the rocky outcrops. A windless, sunny morn, I had no wind hassles, but had to drink lots of bottled water, stopping dehydration. I saw a bull tahr trotting over scree, hiding behind the ridge. He wore a magnificent, white mane below his backward pointing horns. Other fauna seen: brown skinks scurrying over hot rocks, brown grasshoppers, flies pollinating alpine plants, ladybugs hunting on Donatia hard cushions, a couple of seagulls short-cutting over Haka Pass from Snowy River Valley to Hakataramea Valley.

I didn't stay long on Dalgety summit rocks as I was pestered by flies sucking my sweat. After snapping pics, I sat near the bottom of Dalgety summit rocks, admiring Alpine views & scoffing my lunch - scroggin, biltong, mandarins, water. Views:

NE Rocky outcrops, Dalgety summit ridge to Rollesby Range & beyond to Hall Range incl Mt Haszard & Mistake Peak above Godley River Valley. Snowy Mt Erebus & Sibbald Range prominent. Snowy Two Thumbs Range incl D'Achiac peak, Mt Chevalier, Mt Edward, Mt Dobson prominent. Snowy Sherwood Range & Mt Fox prominent.
ENE Albury Range.
E beyond Hakataramea River, Mt Nessing.
S Rocky outcrops, Dalgety summit ridge, Mt Nimrod, Hunters Hills, Hakataramea Valley.
SSW Hakataramea Valley, Kirkliston Range.
W Hakataramea Pass, Grampian Range.
NW Mary Range, Lake Pukaki & beyond to snowy Ben Ohau Range, Mackenzie Peak, Dun Fiunary, Glentanner Peak, Mt Sealy prominent
NNW snowy Mt Sefton & Footstool prominent.
N Snowy River Valley, Lake Tekapo, Mt John, Fork River Valley, snowy Mt Stevenson & beyond to snowy La Perouse, Mt Cook, Mt Tasman prominent.
NNE Mt Joseph, Cass River Valley, snowy Gammack Range, snowy Malte Brun prominent.


Climb: 800 vertical metres from Hakataramea Pass top to Mt Dalgety summit.
Return distance: 7 kms.
Times: Ascent 3.75 hours. Descent 2.75 hours. A long day.

Essentials: Tramping, hill walking fitness, backpack, map, sturdy shoes, all weather gear, sunglasses, walking stick(s), food, water. Cell phone coverage if cell pointed to Mt John.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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