My own summit bagging trips have been met with varied levels of success. The most memorable was a couple of winters ago when the plan was to climb Ruapehu, descend the northern Waihohonu Ridge to dart across marshland to the southern slopes of Ngauruhoe, which we’d climb with a camp on the summit. The next day Tongariro was to be ticked off followed by an easy walk out.
We had three days but needed four and we didn’t even come close to achieving the objective, making it as far as the Lower Tama lake on our second evening and only summiting one peak: Ruapehu. And by summit I mean Summit Plateau, some 200m below the mountain’s highest peak.
In general, stringing together a bunch of summits is easy in New Zealand. All you really need to do is climb a range and start walking. But we’ve scoured the country for some very special trips (Peak tramping), including a six to eight day traverse of Tongariro National Park, climbing all three peaks, that I will have to do. In reading that one, I realised my own traverse of the three summits was not only poorly executed, but not so well conceived. We were off track for 90 per cent of the journey and had underestimated just how energy-sapping that can be. But I so enjoyed walking Waihohonu Ridge – soft volcanic soil, all-day views of Ngauruhoe – that I would do it again in a heartbeat. So I might just tweak Shaun Barnett’s recommended traverse slightly to include it.
I hope you find inspiration from our feature to draw a line across the map to create your own summit-bagging trips.
There’s just one month left to enter our photo competition. We’ve already received some great entries, but I’ve a feeling the best is yet to come – maybe you’ve got a winning photo from a recent trip? Remember, there are four categories: Huts and camping, Wildlife, Out there and Video. Check the page opposite or head to wildernessmag.co.nz to get all the details on how to enter.