8-9 DEC 2012

We’d planned to drive down on the Friday afternoon and climb to the shelter on Little Mt Peel for the night, then climb Mt Peel on the Saturday, returning to the shelter, packing and dropping down to stay at the camping ground for the night. That would give Sunday morning to browse local features before driving home. Instead the harder alternative of climbing the whole thing in one day eventuated

The weather forecast—Friday bad, Saturday clearing, then light winds on Sunday—dictated our strategy. So Sunday it was, but that meant Shane Wright and Bill Hotter had to drop out. Just Joy and I travelled down early Saturday afternoon. Wayne Thomas caught us in his camper van as we arrived at Peel Forest. Keith Paterson joined our group later that evening. We also had the company for a while, of Joy’s husband Alan, who was with the Tuesday Trekkers group across the way in the cabins. We used the remainder of the afternoon to visit the historic church and cemetery on Mt Peel Station. The giant Himalayan lilies were only just coming into flower.

Sunday’s weather was as promised, fine and almost calm. The three of us drove up Blandswood Road and were walking from the car-park by 7.30am, up through the baches and then on to Deer Spur for the climb to 1311m Little Mt Peel. The changes since my last visit to the shelter on Little Mt Peel were noted—two water tanks, we were pleased to see and a Norski toilet around the corner. After leaving a note in the hut book for Chris Leaver’s day trip, we continued on.

Initially, the ridge up from the shelter is pleasantly gradual, but then you lose height, followed by more demanding climbing up to Middle Mt Peel. Joy had climbed Mt Peel years ago, so her memory of the route was helpful. The final sidle to the top of 1743m Mt Peel at 1.10pm had included climbing out of a steep snow gully which we avoided on the way down. On top we had great views all around in still conditions. The weather had indeed been very kind.

Back down at the shelter at 4.30pm, we were restocking our water when a young Spanish tourist came up South Spur to spend the night, hoping to see the sunrise next morning. We were back to the car at 6.10pm after a long day of moderate tramping. We returned to the camping ground to shower and pack, then left Wayne to embark on the next stage of his new nomadic lifestyle.

We were: Joy Schroeder, Wayne Thomas and Merv Meredith (MM)