Mountain Climbing

David Gauld is planning on leading an expedition to the top of Mount Taranaki (aka. Mount Egmont) on the Wednesday.

Provided that the weather and snow conditions are suitable it is planned to attempt to climb to the summit of the mountain which is so beautifully depicted on the website here. If you are considering undertaking this excursion please keep in mind that, as well as providing very rewarding views from near Auckland past the central volcanoes to the South Island, it can be treacherous: probably more people have been killed on this mountain than on any other mountain in New Zealand. This is for a number of reasons: it is easily accessible so more are tempted to go there; the nearest land higher than 1000m (compared with the 2518m of the summit) is over 100km away and, since the mountain sticks somewhat into the Tasman Sea, it attracts sudden weather changes. In a few minutes the weather can change from a cloudless sky to a snowstorm.

The website has this to say: "Egmont National Park is subject to sudden dramatic weather changes. Anyone going for more than a short walk should carry protective clothing, whatever the season. This includes woollen hat, boots, wind and waterproof parka and overtrousers."

The climb begins at about 1000m and reaches 2518m, an ascent of about 1500m, which is quite a long climb. So to start with you should be fit and expect to climb all the way up keeping with the group that we form. The first part of the climb is up a road but from about 1500m we take to a rough mountain track or even no track at all. If there is much snow then I suggest that we go somewhere else as icy snow combined with a change in the weather could spell trouble.

In addition to the equipment suggested in the warning above you should carry effective sunscreening clothing and cream (remember the hole in the ozone layer). Bring plenty of water and food.

It would be a good idea to start early, but not impossibly so. The drive from New Plymouth to the road end takes only about half an hour.

Afterword: Here are some photos, taken by Rod Ball.

And here are some more photos taken by Karl Broman.

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