Moments later we stood at the base of the crux. ‘I reckon we COULD do it,’ I said ‘but if we DID fall it would NOT be pretty. That final sheer, unvegetated section at the top is sending me a back-off signal.’ Simon agreed. ‘Yeah, it’s not as if we HAVE to do it, the detour is there for a reason eh.’ So we went left, not up. The detour led around to the other end of the crux fin, then the rest of the trail went over the remaining pinnacles – enough fun for these two trampers.
By mid afternoon we stood on McGregor, our seventh fifteen-hundreder. Angle Knob, our eighth, was not far off to the south. Now the southerly had all but died away and it was hot. The views in all directions remained beautiful, but we were starting to get that ‘give me a cold beer’ feeling. Down at Jumbo Hut there was plenty of cold water, but also a hoard of teenagers lying about looking at their smart phones, so we didn’t pause there for long.
Simon is a sixty-year-old whippet, so with the end in sight, he shot off ahead of me as we set off from Atiwhakatu Hut. I reached the road-end after 11 hours on the move, just as Caro drove in to the carpark. Life was good.
For more captioned images and a route map