Peak 12: Big Ben

Up through the cloud... 52 Peaks
Up through the cloud…

Back to Canterbury this week with another peak from the Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park, this time for number 12 out of 52 peaks… Big Ben (1416m).

The peak sits to the South of back of Ben More, to the east of the Rakaia River, opposite Mt Hutt at the front of the foothills of the Southern Alps.

The way-in was along the Dry Acheron stream which flows out to the Rakaia River and was pleasant enough even though the weather was strangely cloudy and miserable.  The peak itself was very steep and as far as I could tell, I was going to be in the clouds the whole way.
Once the climb had started – through matagouri bushes (OUCH!) and deep grass – it was too steep to even walk sections, having to hold on to tussocks and get spiked by the flora here, there and everywhere…

The run up the scree section - 52 Peaks
The run up the scree with beautiful mountains in the background

At around 1000m in altitude, I felt the weather suddenly change; I could see blue sky above me!  A few hundred meters more underfoot and I was above the cloud, the mountains erupting from the layer of white, showing off their peaks!

Above the cloud was incredible, the sunlight just peeking through and the snowy peaks of the Mt Cook range just visible on the skyline.

A little bit of ridge running lead to another steep section, and another, and another… this time with scree to attend to!  Finally it all eased off and I had reached the flat summit and DOC sign on top.

The view above the cloud - 52 peaks.
The view above the cloud. Towards Mt Hutt, the Rolleston Range and beyond.

Views of Banks Peninsular (Christchurch), Mt Oxford, Mt Thomas and Mt Grey and the rest of the Southern Alps looked amazing…

The Summit of Peak 12 / 52 Peaks
The Summit of Peak 12!

Back down, the path to the bottom was a little tricky through the cloud, but I met a group of trampers half was down which meant I was going the right direction (they looked exhausted!).  Down the ridge and the cloud cleared totally, this time with lots of loose scree and rocks to make it slide-tastic…  Along the river and out!


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