SECOND ASCENT OF MITRE PEAK.
By i Jack R. Mxntiusi.x,.
Having a day or twb to spare while at Milford Sound my friend (Mr E. R. Williams) and I decided to climb Mitre Peak, as the weather was showing signs of being settled. So at 11 a.m. D. Sutherland ran us over in his launch to Sinbad Gully, and after filling our gallon watertin at a small stream (no water is obtainable, owing to steepness and narrowness of this peak) wo shouldered our rucsacs and got a start at noon. We climbed 'up through the thick undergrowth of ferns and vines, which wero almost tropical in their luxurious growth, until wo reached , the tog of the tirst big knob which is so prominent in photographs of this 'unique peak. Here we got our first clear view of the stirrounding mountains and glaciers. _ After a ' short spell, 'and having obtained a couple of photos, we again made tracks along a very narrow alpine scrub-covered ridge, which rose up in a series of bumps to an elevation of 2400 ft, and then suddenly descends 400 ft, down which wo had to scramble, push, and slide in a manner which w\.<ild have been a treat to watch someone else do. However, 400 ft does not take long to descend, so we soon reached the bottom; our clothes and hands showing signs of wear and tear. A little farther on- we discovered a, small level spot, and as it was late in the afternoon we decided to camp; so we dropped our loads and set about making a good, comfortable (and secure) camp, as we were returning to this camp the next night. After a good, substantial meal wo got into our sleeping-bags, and discussed the chances of success for the morrow. As soon as it was dark the kakapos came o'ufc of their holes among the rocks and scrub and started their catlike noise 3, and presently a pair started some kind of family quarrel only a few yards from our tent. From the way those birds sqauked and bumped round in the scrub we wore counting on a damaged specimen of "stringops" to take home; but when daylight came, all that we got was a few green feathers. These birds are very plentiful from Glade House to Milford Sound, tnd seem to be able _* to resist the attacks of the . weasel. Kiwis are not nearly so numerous, and no' doubt they will "be extinct many years before the kakapo. At 4 a.m. vye were astir,, and at 5 a.m. were ready to start. There was a heavy fog', but that is often a forerunner of a fine day in the Sounds, so we set off with only' a few pounds in our rucsacs, and made /our way through the wet scruu and grass until we roached'tho bush level (3000 ft). By this time the sun _ had struggled through the fog, and Milford Sound could be seep below: calm as, a pond and of . a wonderful blue colour. Away to the north-east towered Tutolco (9042 ft), with his beautiful snowcap, and immediately north of us Pembroke Peak and Glacier seemed within a stone's throw, so clear was the atmosphere. After making good use of our cameras we turned our faces to Mitre Peak, and worked our way on to the almost level rock-ridge which leads to .the main face of the peak. All the way to the main face was' plain sailing; but there our "work began, and we soon had plenty to occupy ourselves with in climbing an almost perpendicular rock face, with very few hand or foot holds ; but what/there was were good, so we soon worked our way up to the next spur, where we were amply rewarded with magnifi?ent views to the north-east and south. From this point" to the summit it is 'all good rock climbing, with an occasional difficult corner and some bad slabby rocks (which we avoided by working round to the left and making use of a "chimney" which gave us some interesting work and views into space). . We reached the summit, and found J. R. Dennistoun's cairn'and handkerchief,'to which we added a small glass pot containing two coins and a bronze token, and then built the cairn up to a height of about 4ft. We rolled some huge rocks (which were just on the. balance) down into the sea, an almost clear drop of 5560 ft, and tlje splash was almost as good as the Wairoa Geyser in eruption. We stayed two hours on the summit taking photos, and enjoving .the views, which are quite indescribable. The descent to our camp took three hours and a-half easy travelling. We had tea and sought our sleeping-bags, well satisfied with ourselves and the wide world. Rain fell during the night, so-we did not get up nntil late,, and the wind. had dried the superfluous moisture off the scrub. Afteiva late meal we packed'our ! rucsacs and made tracks for Sinbad Gully, which we reached by 3.30 p.m., and . by, making a smoke soon had Mr Sutherland: speeding over in his launch to pick us 'up. Mrs, Sutherland gave us a dinner in heT inimitable style, to which we did full justice. We would like to place on record our indebtedness to Mr and Mre D. Sutherland, who aTe kindness personified.,