The Plateau

We had a couple of days rest in beautiful, relaxed Wanaka. Then we caught a bus up to Mt Cook village (760m), from where we flew into Plateau hut (~2220m), just below Aoraki/Mt Cook itself. From the comfort of the hut's sunning rock you can look out at all the routes on all the peaks, choose one and watch and wait for the conditions to become just right.
There is Cook's east face and a view up the Linda glacier, and Mt. Tasman too with the Silberhorn and Syme ridges.

With low cloud, high winds and high freezing levels We started out by climbing the Anzac peaks (well, one of them!) with Todd, the Brave Bulgarian. We set off at 05:30 (late for an alpine start) and took a short break to shed some layers as the sun rose warming things up, then hurried on. We unroped near the foot of the NE face and scrambled up some horrid rotten snow. Little sugary avalanches rustled off below our feet and I was seriously expecting to go with them any second. I was very relieved to get to the top.

From the top we could see the Silberhorn ridge and had a view up the Tasman valley all the way to Hochstetter Dome, which I climbed a few years ago. We pitched across to the slot between the two Anzac peaks and followed the line of rap anchors - old slings - back to the Plateau. We spent a couple of hours chatting and enjoying the views and warm conditions on the little peak in that last photo, then trudged back through the soft snow to the hut. Strangely, at the hut there was a howling nor-west gale blowing. We tried walking up to Glacier Dome, but almost got blown off. Across the Hochstetter icefall on our little peak it had been quite calm. Wierd!?

Inside Plateau hut it was cosy and generally warm, and there we stayed for the next two days while it rained, snowed and tried to blow the hut away. Once you get used to the hut shaking in the wind it's quite comforting, like being in a cradle, I guess, or on a gently rocking boat. It's tied down by several cables and tons of rock. We passed the time eating, sleeping, playing ?? and waiting for the daily radio sched at 7pm to find out what the weather was doing. "The same" seemed to be the perpetual answer...


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