4:50am Crampons donned at the base of the Otira Slide.
6:50am The first rays of sunlight stream onto our faces as we crest the col at the top of Goldney Ridge after a long, calf-destroying climb up the firm couloir.
7:50am Time for a second breakfast on the Low Peak of Rolleston (2212m) to replenish energy levels.
9:00am A short step of ice and snow-covered rock has me asking for the rope.
9:30am We break out the celebratory chocolate on the summit of Mt Rolleston (2275m). It’s rush hour - two other trios arrive before we head back down. With not a wisp of cloud and nary a breath of wind we take our time to enjoy the views.
11:15am A leisurely lunch on Low Peak before descending the sun-softened slopes.
12:00pm The snow is very soft, with each step plunging us in up to our knees (occasionally floundering up to the hip), so we resort to bum-sliding. Even this proves difficult except in the path of previous sliders.
2:00pm We linger beside the bridge across the infant Otira River, reluctant to leave the mountains behind.
3:20pm Relief as boots are removed at the car park after a thoroughly satisfying day.
|Dawn on the Otira Slide|
|On the Low Peak of Rolleston, with the High Peak behind|
|Descending the Otira Slide|