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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

Bathans like Nathan's ? (St Bathans Range)

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

I've looked out at The St Bathans Range on every drive to Wanaka ( with the exception of darkness and cloud of course 😌 ) for longer than I've known it's name.


It's a wall of mountains, snow capped most of the year.

I found myself wondering once again ... How do I get up there🤷🏼


A month or so ago I noticed a hut in the area during one of my late night topo deep dives.

Past the hut there were track markings that came to an abrupt ending,

I switched tabs and did some research.

What I discovered were two recorded trips, both going up one ridge and coming down past Boundary Creek Hut on another.


Both however also set up camp earlier in the day long before said hut😅

It is quite an undertaking, especially in winter with shorter days.

I wrestled with the idea of taking my tent but was fairly confident I could cover the distance in a day, somewhere between 20-30km has become an average day in the hills for me.


I parked at the Homestead Campsite, met by a man who was kind enough to take some firewood on his drive up to Boundary Creek when I told him my plans 🙏🏿



I'm parked right behind that shelter belt ⏫



An hour into my walk I spotted someone maybe a km ahead of me, I didn't expect anyone else to be up here.

Not because I'm a map genius, but because quite frankly it wasn't a great day to be up here.

That wind was blowing up a storm.


Over the course of the next hour the little man over yonder grew larger, until he was a rather tall man standing before of me.

He told me he had been up here before but hadn't made it to the top, he also wouldn't be trying again today.

Nope just me 💁🏾

Before we went our separate ways he joked he'd keep an eye out for me in the headlines, personally I thought the joke had potential 🤫


 

In retrospect that cloud should've been more concerning ⏫😅


Once I'd hit the top of the first ridge the clouds began to part, for a little while there I really thought it was coming together for me.


 

I couldn't tell you exactly how long the sky hung around for, most of it was behind me and I was focused on the speck of blue ahead.

I'd hoped it was the tip of the iceberg.

There was some truth to that statement,

I had plenty of ice to come 😶‍🌫️


I was just beginning to thaw out when the wind picked up again, except this time I was a lot higher.

To make matters worse it was coming from directly ahead of me, I wasn't even able to look where I was going 🤦🏻‍♀️

I still had three hundred metres of elevation to my highest point and I was struggling to stand 😬



It wasn't an easy decision to turn around, but I think it was the right one.

Still as I was assisted down the mountain by a now favourable wind, I couldn't help but look back hoping I was wrong.



I'm wrong about most things,

sadly that wasn't one of them.

Before long the whole range was a white out and I was just happy to hear my headphones again, that wind rendered a chapter of my audiobook null and void 😆


The walk down seemed to take an eternity, in reality it was only a couple of hours.

I knew I was rolling the dice with the weather but I didn't think it'd be that bad 😅


Not too far away it was actually a beautiful day ⏬


 

The further I got from the mountain the better things got, I guess St Bathans just wanted to be left alone that day 🤷🏼‍♀️


For now at least, I'll take a raincheck.

I call dibs on that firewood though !




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