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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

All along the watchtower (Sentinel Peak)

Earnslaw Burn was a gentle reminder that my shelter though versatile, is a little excessive.

A two person tent seemed like the go when I bought it,

however I hadn't carried a tent around for a couple of days at the time 😅

It takes up a bit of space and weighs in just under 2.5kg's,

That might not sound like much but it adds up.

I found a 700g, one person alternative online a couple of weeks ago.

I tried to convince myself I couldn't afford it but inevitably here I am with another tent 🤭

I planned to test it out last weekend but the weather changed its mind,

Saturday was off the cards.

Luckily I had something in my back pocket if one day was all I could get 😏

Fourty odd KMs from Wanaka, in the neck of Lake Hawea, Kidd's Bush Campsite is a great spot but more importantly, it's the perfect springboard for today's outting.

Sentinel Peak

I'd walked part of this route last August to the humble Sawyer Burn Hut, however at the time I wasn't aware of Sentinel Peak.

The only thing I knew was the bone chilling cold of a four hour walk in the rain, which only let up to make way for snow 🥶

Mt Maude

This time around the conditions were ideal,

The wind that kept me grounded the day before was forecast to pick back up that afternoon but never came to effect.

Wanaka might be my favourite place, just don't tell Cromwell 🤫

There are so many mountains I've ticked off the list around here, and I'm still just scratching the surface.

Corner Peak

Though I had been here before it looks a world apart from my previous experience, I can actually see beyond the grey this time 🙌🏻

Familiar ground was coming to an end though, I was going much higher...


It looks a lot tougher than it is, but make no mistake, it did get tough 😅

Sentinel is a little off the beaten track, it's not actually listed on any map I've come across but it was quite busy that day.

A couple that started minutes ahead of me had already been to the summit and passed me by on the section you can see above.

I thought I was doing pretty good 🤷🏽

⏫ Spot more incoming traffic on the horizon

Again, it looks worse than it is 😅

Sidle left of the bluff and you're almost there...

Aesthetically this has to be one of the best peaks in the area, that rock top is spectacular.

That's what I want in a mountain.

The question now is what does the mountain want from me 🤔

I'd heard the best way to the summit was up the first of three chutes, scrambling up the scree, hooking around the back then up.

It's a lot clearer from a distance 😅

I climbed up the wrong rock initially, which was a little unsettling because I put myself in a few risky spots for nothing.

There she is 😌

But from the top...

⏫ Waaaaaay back there in Mt Aspiring National Park is what I believe to be Fastness Peak.

If I'm correct, in front is Dragonfly Peak.

You'll be hearing about that one soon enough...

Mt Shrimpton in Makarora, I climbed this with a friend last year, I'm really glad I had someone with me that day 😬😅


Last but not least, a look back to both Hawea & Wanaka.

I had company on the peak,

Two tourists and another Kiwi bloke on a solo mission.

His name may have been Fergus, I'm terrible with names 🤦🏿‍♂️

We chatted shit for a while, but I wanted the place to myself.

I was on quite a high already but decided I wanted a little more 🤏

So I got stoned.

This wasn't my best idea 😅

It would ultimately lead to my downfall,

somewhere in the back of my head I knew that.

For now I was feeling good, a little dehydrated but my head was clear.

Once I crossed back under the treeline however I made a crucial mistake 🫣

See I took a wrong turn, and instead of correcting, I doubled down 🥲

Descending a rock face I was unable to get back up🤦🏼

This really fucked my day up 😅

I had to do a few things I did not like to make my way to the marked route. I can't describe how good it felt to find a marker.

Lesson learnt, don't try to navigate off track under the influence.

I'll leave you with one more picture, taken in a place I wasn't supposed to be 🫠

Nelson coming soon.

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