It must’ve been the deadening effect of the cloud where everything closes in, becomes flatter, subdued. When I had come this way alone five years before, most of my two-day dash taking in this spectacular section of the main Tararua Range was in clag. The terrain actually seemed less intimidating, not as steep, not as exposed, not as big.

Now, back at this ladder in the wilderness with my two teenage sons Ed and Will, in crystal clear conditions (at least for the moment, this was the Tararuas after all), I felt rather more impressed.

For a route map and more images


Peter Laurenson is a member of the Wellington section of the New Zealand Alpine Club and editor of FMC’s Backcountry.

For more images and information about Peter, visit his website at