Godley Peak, Rakaia

Monday 25 November 2019

Yes, MONDAY. We know it is becoming a habit, but if there is only a 24 hour window between norwesters, then why not go on that day, with slight apologies to anyone who has to work. We did and, as forecast, the weather was near perfect.

Godley Peak has been climbed or attempted a number of times over the years. Originally, accessed through Double Hill’s yard, up along the Homestead Hill spur, then around the corner at 1901m to drop and head east along the Palmer Range ridge a couple of kilometres to the saddle south of 1871m and the final climb south to 2087m Godley Peak. The long dog leg didn’t help, particularly in snow conditions and we were likely to just appreciate finding Mother Miller’s Spring and returning immediately before running out of daylight. The negotiation of an access easement didn’t help. A carpark was established but with access still up along Homestead Hill to the dog leg. So later attempts such as early December 2009, were scheduled later for less snow, longer daylight hours and permission gained to ascend the spur dropping directly from 1871m. We got there that time. Even found TWO Mother Miller’s Springs in the usual place.

Consequently, the trip was scheduled this year for late November. Postponed from Sunday to Monday, we had seven meet at Russley Rd corner at 7.30am, picked up Bridget and Murray in Hororata, and Helen at the Blackford Rd turnoff. So ten total in two vehicles. Walking up the easement at 9.40am, it was obvious even though the peak is not visible from below, that it was going to be a snow free day. Our lunch stop was still short of 1901m in weather that would be easy to take for granted. Once on the ridge, the trundle up and down east was faster, except for the last rocky section from 1871m to the saddle. Easier in snow but a slower rock scramble when bare. Bill and Helen chose to sidle below to get to the saddle, but the time was about the same.

We set out up another rock scramble from the saddle, having left Vesna behind on the 1871m rocks. John also turned back to the saddle and nearing Godley Bridget sidled out looking for Mother Miller’s Springs. She was disappointed not to find any sign of it. So 3.15pm on top with the expected magnificent views all around, including Moorhouse a short distance to our south.

Heading east along Palmer Range, with Godley Peak at top right. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore

Dropping from the top down to the saddle was easy, sidled the gnarly rocks and up to 1871m to regroup with Vesna and John. From there the temptation to take the direct route down the northern spur was too great, except that Bill opted to return via the dog leg to Homestead Hill. Our route down from 1871m to 500m was unrelenting but straightforward, so fast. But no surprise that we reached the vehicles at 6.30pm on a lovely evening just as Bill also arrived.

Quite a day. Sorry no Mother Miller’s Springs, Bridget.

We were: Peter Umbers, Bill Templeton, John Robinson, Kerry Moore, Milomir & Vesna Mojsilovic, Merv Meredith (leader), Helen Binnie, Bridget Barclay and Murray Adams. (MM)

Kerry & Peter taking in the view west from Homestead Hill ridge. Photo courtesy of Merv Meredith