Type ll fun up at Mt Cook!
Most probably one of my biggest challenges but greatest achievements! Ski touring to Mueller Hut has been on my todo list for the past 3 years since living in New Zealand. Last week myself and Jackson found ourselves in Mt Cook National Park during our last road trip, so it seemed like the only opportunity to try and make it there despite being in recovery from a head injury in April.
After climbing to the snow line in approximately double the normal time (thanks to me having to constantly stop and start to keep my heart rate below 150) we transitioned to our skins and set about making our way to the ridge line. By this time, the slush was knee deep and the pitch made it pretty hard to tour, so we switched to boot packing and carried on climbing. Another 15 minutes past and the slush started to freeze. The sun had dropped below the skyline and the predicted 50km wind looked like it was blowing a gale at the ridge.
With no crampons and very little juice left in the tank, we knew there was a pretty strong possibility that we wouldn’t make the hut before the ground froze solid. Somewhere I did not want to put myself and my little recovering noggin. So we made the tough decision to turn around, me super defeated and angry at how slow I had been to get to the snow line, Jackson stoked on some tussock lines. After another few hours down, we made it back to Felix the Ford, exhausted and deflated, but unbelievably relieved.
The next day I had to remind myself that that’s the most cardio I’ve done for 7 months, we climbed with skis on our backs and made a smart decision to call it. Sometimes it’s not easy to feel accomplished when you don’t hit your target, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t do done good. So I’m claiming it!