Mount Princess

8-9 Nov 2014

On one of the very few fine spring weekends, five of us travelled to the Lake Tennyson area north of Hanmer Springs to make an attempt on 2126m Mt Princess.

Callum coaxed his 4WD vehicle through many deep, awkward water channels cutting across the road to Maling Pass, but we all had to bale out and walk the last couple of km of road access. Glorious views of our objective and warm spring sunshine buoyed our spirits as we struck up the slopes towards our campsite. We found an idyllic spot at around 1600m, nestled amongst small tarns and remnants of winter snowfields, on soft, grassy terrain. Trip leader Callum’s Indian meal was awesome. The “boil-in-bag” style meals are available at New World supermarkets and are an easy, inexpensive, delicious idea for short trips where weight is not a big issue.

We started early on Sunday as a nor’west change was forecast for the afternoon. Cramponing up crisp snow to a high rocky ridge behind Princess Bath was very pleasant and hopes were high. The Bath was completely blanketed in snow and ice—brrrrr—no bathing this time! After some hours scrambling along the lumpy ridge, gendarme after gendarme, we came to an exposed bluffy bit with mixed snow and rock that we were not happy to attack without the protection of ropes and helmets, which we did not have. Darn, time to back off! We made a quick exit down a very steep snow slope, nicely softened by the sun, towards the Bath and ambled back to camp.

Although this is a long, complicated way to approach the peak, it was interesting and fun to try, with great views of the Spencer Mountains. Next time I would probably start out the same way because the campsite is so perfect, but go via the Bath, climbing the steep slope directly behind it to the notch which leads directly onto the summit ridge. This would be much more direct and considerably faster. I hope the weather and company is as good next time. Thanks team, and especially Callum for organising and leading so well. It was a great trip.

We were: Callum & Pat McIntosh, Chris Leaver, John Robinson and Diane Mellish. (DM)