Gertrude Saddle on a clear day ( Saturday 11th

Saturday dawns clear and fine – the calm before the big rain front that locals say heralds the beginning of the winter – or the end of the golden spell of summer months. We drove up to very close to the Homer tunnel and the start point of a well known walk to Gertrude Pass.

IMG_1222.JPGSuitable for “experienced trampers only ” – this was to be a real test then eh! 4 – 6 hours return seems a long time for 3.5 km but the view behind and the look on Barbs face hinted a seriously precipitous challenge lay ahead. There is a missing persons alert for a German lady who has vanished on this walk – about a week earlier – but of this we were unaware as she had not been reported missing until about 10th and her car was found in the carpark where we parked .

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IMG_1224.JPGThe track heads up thru tussock and old River beds before tracking steeply up alongside Gertrude River. We started in frosty conditions in the deeply shaded valley that did not see full sunlight till into the afternoon. The steepness of the climb finally saw our body temperatures climb and we down dressed a little. Out of the tussock we started the bolder hopping and clambering up the steep rock faces.

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IMG_1228.JPGThe climb ascends to a beautiful lake ” Black Lake ” – from that point the climb rises up a 200 metre section of steep smooth glacial worn granite. DOC have placed some wire rope in places to give extra security as any fall could be long and dire. In wet conditions there use would be essential.

IMG_1232.JPGThis is something of a crux point of the ascent and this pics shows the high point for Barb. She stopped at about there and had a little tanty – panic attack – before down climbing to Black Lake where she waited for me ( patiently ) encouraging me onwards to the pass. The last part is something of a boulder hopping scramble.

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IMG_1239.JPGThe views from the pass are stunning giving a delightful panorama all the way down to Milford Sound.

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