While in Wanaka, my son took us up to another of his work areas: the Mt Aspiring National Park. He knows the area well, in the summer he guides clients up to Mt Aspiring. The public road goes up the Matukituki Valley as far as a car park, but a small payment to the landowners allowed us to use the private road, all the way up to the hut. If I was younger it would have been a good walk in, perhaps 3 hours, but as it was it took about one and a half hours in his 4WD.
Near the car park, a track dives off to the north over a swing bridge and up a rather icy track to the Rob Roy glacier.
When we looked up at Rob Roy, Tim remarked “boy, that ice looks fat”. He was referring to the ice columns up above the glacier, which can just be made out in this next picture. He was making plans to get up there soon for some ice climbing. (I really don’t know where he gets that from – the very thought of it scared me!)
It’s not much of a road and, even though we were approaching noon, the valley was still shaded and very icy.
The stream looked great though, highlighted by the frost-covered rocks.
Some of the local inhabitants were well equipped for the cold.
Mt Aspiring Hut itself is large, well-equipped and looked very comfortable. The walls were full of history: pictures of climbers and hut construction; plus warnings about the (quite dangerous) environment.
I can imagine it might become a little less attractive if you were stuck in here for days waiting for the weather to clear so you could go climbing.