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The plan was to climb Mt Somers from Sharplin Falls car park via Hookey Knob and Staveley Hill and change the book on the summit (a joint Methven & Districts Tramping Club and Mt Somers Walkway Society trip).
The Ashburton crew (6 of us) left town at 8am on Saturday morning, heading straight to Staveley and the Sharplin Falls car park where we met up with the Methven crew (2 of them). In the car park we got our gear sorted, a few who didn't have their own ice axe or crampons were fitted out and we hit the track.
We took in the stunning track maintenance work that had been carried out only a few weeks earlier by the tramping club and walkway society, sorting out a boggy section and cutting back the foliage. We climbed to Hookey Knob where we stopped for a bite to eat and to check out the farmland below.
Onwards and upwards we went, reaching the top of Staveley Hill and a rest for another bite to eat. Two from the group decided that they would wander along the South Face Track for a little way before turning around and heading back to the car par while the rest of us tackled the climb to the summit.
As we left the track junction we started getting into the fesh snow that had fallen only a few days earlier, but with the marker poles the track was easy to find, it was also great to be able to make fresh tracks in the snow - other than the wildlife that had been in before us.
The higher we climbed the more into the cloud we got, it kept blowing in and out but the views were still promised, we just had to wait till we got above the cloud layer. So onwards and upwards we went, about halfway up the snow was at a decent depth for us to strap on the crampons and have an easier time of the climb. We came out onto the ridge that took us to the summit and the deepest snow.
We made it to the trig marking the highest point 1687 metres, and we were still inside the cloud. We walked the couple of metres from the trig to the cairn and seating platform that sits on the summit. This platform and cairn were put erected in 2000 to mark the new millennium, on New Years Eve 1999 a large group of people did a night climb to the summit of Mt Somers to see the dawn of the new millennium. At the platform we were all tasked with finding the spelling error, then we opened the cairn to check out the book. Turns out it's still got a good 12 months of space left in it so perhaps this time next year we will head back up to the summit to change the book.
While we were enjoying lunch on top there were a few passing moments where we could see out to the Canterbury plains and across Mt Winterslow towards Mt Hutt, but I'll have to go back another day, perhaps I'll try it in Summer.
After lunch we retraced our steps back to the track junction having some fun in the snow on the way down. Then back onto the Mt Somers Track to the Sharplin Falls car park (we had a deadline to meet). The next port of call was the Staveley Store for one of their world famous sausage rolls and well earned cuppa - it's a tradition that just can't be broken and would have been a tragedy if we had arrived after closing time.
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