Peak 33: Mt Richardson – Finally!

A gorgeous weekend where some of my friends went to the West Coast to tick off Mt Adams, I decided to have a weekend in Christchurch and complete a peak I’d tried once before, Mt Richardson (1047m). After hearing about the stunning conditions on Mt Adams, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t go but happy to have now completed my 33rd successful peak of the year!

So this time, Mt Richardson went off without any issues, running with the new Ultimate Direction SJ Vest – I checked with DOC about the track and they had done an excellent job in clearing the windblown and snow felled areas this time around.

The climb up to the summit
The climb up to the summit

I can’t say how thankful to them I am, as what took me 1h30m of grovelling through trees a month or so ago – only took me 25mins to run this weekend – a pretty impressive improvement in a matter of weeks.

Starting off from the same car park at the end of Glentui Bush Road, I continued onto the Richardson Track towards the summit.

It’s only 4km to the summit (and apparently I only managed to cover 2km last time due to the treefalls)… and on a well formed track too.

Blue skies all around, it was my first time running in the mountains for a few weekend after climbing in the snow and mountains near the ski fields.

A steep section of climb running parallel to one of the branches of the Glentui River, snow patches started to appear on the ground and the final section up to the summit was quite deep, having to create steps on the snowy slides and ice that had settled on the track.

Peak 33 - at last!
Peak 33 – at last!

The summit was earlier than I had expected on the route, and came out of nowhere, instantly showing off the snow covered Alps towards the Torlesse Range and Foggy Peak to the west. After a short break, photo taking and a bit of water I continued along the ridge to join the Blowhard Track – a mountain biking route which ends at Birch Hill Lodge, famous for linking with the Lees Valley to the north, which connects to the back of the Wharfedale.

Panorama from Mt Richardson summit
Panorama from Mt Richardson summit

There was a lot of ice on the track in this section, but punching holes through with my inov-8’s was no issue; warm in the sunshine, freezing in the shade. There were sections of switchbacks that were awesome to run down, it really felt like I was in the middle of no where – a couple of horses knocking around – not the wilderness, but pretty close!

Another week, another peak
Another week, another peak

The descent was lovely, not too steep and lots of mud to make it interesting.

Zig-zags down to the Glentui Bridge and back along the the Richardson Track in time for a speedy lunch in Rangiora.

Peak 33 and Mt Richardson – this time not like last time, completed.


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