Occasional Climber

Darrans – the classic day circuit, July 2016

McPherson Cirque. Homer Saddle (1,375m) is the dip on the left, leading right, up Talbots ladder to Mt McPherson (1,931m) - the first snowy pinnacle. On the right is Mt Talbot (2,105m)
Viewed from the head of Gertrude Valley - Barrier Peak (2,039m) is left and Mount Crosscut (2,263m) right
On Homer Saddle at dawn, with Talbot Ladder right - virtually no snow below about 1,600m - another indication of global warming
Preparing gear at the base of Talbot Ladder
Preparing gear at the base of Talbot Ladder. Mount Talbot's south ridge is left, then Mount Crosscut and Mount Belle far right
Once we reached the snow and ice protection was a good idea, on Talbot Ladder
A view back down Talbot Ladder to Homer Saddle, with Mount Belle behind
The upper section of Talbot Ladder, with Mount Talbot to the right
Approaching the steepest section on Talbot Ladder, with peaks in the western Darrans beyond
The south ridge and summit of Mount McPherson (1,931m)
Below the summit of Mount McPherson, with the Milford Road stretching south. Mount Crosscut is far left, with the head of the Gertrude Valley below
On the summit  of McPherson (1,931m). Far left is the dip before the ridge leading to Traverse Pass (1,987m), then on to the summit of Mount Talbot (2,105m). Mounts Crosscut and Christina are right of Talbot
McPherson summit view to the Milford Road. Mounts Crosscut and Christina behind
McPherson summit view north and west
McPherson summit view northwest
Abseiling off the top of McPherson (Photo Piotr Nowak)
In the dip (1,800m) beneath McPherson, looking up towards Traverse Pass and Mount Talbot
The view beneath Traverse Pass back to Mount McPherson
Approaching Traverse Pass - the slight dip to the right of Piotr, with Mount Talbot at right
Climbing the steep section below Traverse Pass
It's not called Traverse Pass for nothing - on the traverse towards Mount Talbot
Approaching the dip that gives access, beneath Mount Talbot, to Gertrude saddle far left
Checking the map as we realise we're not going to get all the way down before nightfall. Just right of bottom centre is Gertrude Saddle, with Barrier Knob, Barrier Peak and Mount Crosscut out to the right
Now on the snow fields beneath Traverse Pass, headed for Gertrude Saddle and a fine sunset. Barrier Knob (1,879m) is above Piotr on the far side of Gertrude Saddle (1,410m)
Just south of Gertrude Saddle, looking towards Milford Sound
Just south of Gertrude Saddle, looking towards Milford Sound. Still 600 vertical metres of descent to go in the dark, including some extremely slippery black ice down at about 1,200 metres near the Black Lake. A 14 hour round trip made the Shiraz taste extra good back at Homer Hut

Read about it – One of New Zealand’s finest day walks Wilderness Magazine Sep 16           Third time lucky Vertigo Aug 16

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