Mount Adams

“There’s a really cool mountain…” was all it took to convince Tom to join me for a trip up Mount Adams when he popped in at my place on his way North. It was our first trip together since spending 3 months in the Himalaya last year.

Access to Mount Adams is only a 20minute 20km drive South from my front door, and it’s the most accessible mountain from the main highway in South Westland. The climb involves a few kilometres scrambling up a riverbed, ascending a steep DOC-marked trail in the rainforest and then finally navigating tussock, rock and snow to the summit at 2208 metres. From the farmland below, it’s a 2100m elevation gain.

We left Friday evening after work and scrambled our way up Dry Creek/Little Man River for a few kilometres, crossing the river several times before ascending a steep spur which is maintained by DOC. The last of the DOC markers taper off at the bushline and from there it’s alpine route finding. We pitched the tent just on dark and after scoffing down some dahl baht under a star-spangled sky, we curled up in our sleeping bags.

We woke up in the morning to a thick blanket of cloud obscuring all views so we rolled over and went back to sleep. After a leisurely 11am start we started heading up, hoping that we would climb above the clouds into a bluebird day. It wasn’t until we reached around 1800m that we ascended out of the thick blanket of cloud and were immediately rewarded with spectacular views. Being drip-fed views on the way up was convenient as we were blissfully unaware of what our climb looked like ahead.  

We were in no major rush so enjoyed ourselves lying in the sun, waiting for snow to melt and watching all of the local wildlife – chamois, weta, rock wren, kea and black butterflies flitting about the rocky outcrops.

The 2100m descent was a bit onerous, with several steep sections requiring the infamous ‘vegie-belay’. The day ended with a mad dash for the car as the sky was filled with orange. We dashed into the thick West Coast bush and got a bit disorientated fighting supplejack, but eventually popped out into the paddock and made it out before dark.

Another sweet trip on the same topo map as my house.

Enjoy the pictures…and if anyone is keen to join me for a trip up Mt Adams sometime, sing out!