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East Dome, Garvie Mountains

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August 2019 Issue

A dome like no other

One of Southland’s many well kept secrets, East Dome (1349m) is situated at the southern end of the Garvie Mountains, deep in sheep and cattle country.

Flanked by the Dome Burn on the east and the Mataura River on the west, the summit offers spectacular views of the region.

It was a dawn to dusk trip on a crisp winter’s day for our group.

From Glenlapa Station, we followed the farm road above the Mataura river in our 4WD vehicle and at the first fork, took the left branch and continued to a mini saddle at Pt451. We left our vehicle here and continued on foot along the ridge for about 9km, dodging frozen puddles and passing an airstrip.

When the road turned sharply to the right, directly below the southern aspect of East Dome, we climbed a ridge through low scrub some snow-covered scree. Far below, the Mataura River snaked through a green valley like a shiny ribbon.

We had all carried snowshoes, and while there was some snow it was only as we neared the summit that one of our group decided to use them.

It took about 90-minutes to climb the final 430m to the summit.

The summit is a large flat area marked with a trig. It had a fairytale look about it, with sparkling snow cushioning all the sharp edges. A strong and icy westerly created the most interesting lenticular cloud formations.

The view from the summit is breathtaking. We were surrounded by a cavalcade of snow-covered peaks. To the east, the Umbrella Mountains, to the north the Garvie Mountains and The Remarkables in the far distance, to the west Mid Dome sat against the background of the Eyre Mountains and to the south the green plains of Southland.

Retreating to the car took as long as climbing up and it was dark by the time we reached it.

– Alina Suchanski

Total Ascent
4hr to summit from saddle where car is left
From Lumsden, follow SH94 to Balfour and cross the Mataura River near Ardlussa, then continue north-east to Glenlapa Road. At Glenlapa Station turn onto a farm road that will take you part way up East Dome. Permission must be sought to cross Glenlapa Station. (P: 03 202 7707)

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East Dome (gpx, )

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