Mt Guinevere, Arthurs Pass

15-16 January 2019

After many postponements on account of poor weather and high river levels, four of us finally set off up the Waimakariri River on a beautiful clear Tuesday morning. A helicopter busy spraying lupins on Turkey Flat, provided an interesting distraction.

We enjoyed a relaxed walk into Crow Hut with great views of Mt Rolleston. High above the hut we could see the approximate location of the tarn which was to be our camping spot for the night. Our challenge was to find a good route up the very steep terrain intersected by many deep gulches. We climbed up the steep, loose, blocky scree slope,above the forest, just north of the hut. Care was needed to avoid rockfall danger. We stayed close to the edge on the left side of the scree until the corner, near the first waterfall. Looking up to the left, the scree ends in a small gully where we could see an exit at the top through the spray of a small waterfall cascading down the bluffs. Scrambling out of the gully by the water fall, we followed an obvious ledge which opened out onto flowering tussock grassland. Once on the tussock, we aimed for another gully to the right of a prominent rock outcrop, straying too far left was made impossible by precipitous drops into the stream catchment! At the head of this gully, a ledge out to the left provided relatively easy access to the top of the rock outcrop.

From there travel was much easier, dropping through the tarn outlet creek and up the final slopes to our campsite on the gravel flats at the head of the tarn. Hut to tarn took approximately 4 hours at a reasonably leisurely pace. It was a perfect summer evening for camping out, and we relaxed in the late afternoon sun as we ate our meal.

Summit of Mt Guinevere, looking west to Mt Rolleston

The summit of Mt Guinevere, 2042m, is not visible from the tarn. It is tucked in behind a closer prominent knob on the skyline. Early next morning, the boys headed off at 6.45am to climb Mt Guinevere while Diane opted for a leisurely breakfast by the tarn and the experience of just being there.

Camp by My Guinevere tarn

The boys went off in a southwest direction climbing up to a prominent spur at about 1800m, which gave a good view of the summit. A number of snow banks in the basin below Mt Guinevere, posed a bit of a dilemma, as we decided to leave our crampons in the car. Nonetheless, it was relatively easy to work our way up the rock outcrops and scree, on to the east ridge, followed by a short messy scramble up the usual loose rock on to the summit just before 8.0am. It was a beautiful still morning, a cloudless sky with fabulous views in every direction. Reluctantly, we left the summit, and made a rapid descent back to camp, to pack up the gear, and retrace our steps back down to the Crow Valley.

The trip out was very pleasant. Another hot day; one of those days where you wade into every river braid, wetting boots, clothing, hat, the works and it all dries off in ten minutes, and then you are hanging out for the next dousing or another dip. Ah, the joy of summer trips!

We were: Raymond Ford (leader), Diane Mellish, Peter Umbers, Merv Meredith, Aarn Tate. (DM & RF)