The Gladiator – vanquished

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  • #43984 Reply
    Tony Gazley

    Emily on the Summit of The Gladiator
    Emily on the summit of The Gladiator

    During an April spell of fine weather, Emily, Aimee, and Tony G spent five days travelling around the Karangarua River area of Westland, and here is their story. Emily wrote the text and then recorded it, so now you have a choice: either you read it yourself, or you sit back and close your eyes and Emily will read it to you.

    #43999 Reply

    “You never conquer [or vanquish] a mountain. You stand on the summit a few brief minutes and then the wind blows away your footprints.”
    – Arlene Bloom (and others have said similar things)

    But anyway, a great story and (as expected) great photos! And it brought back a few memories for me – once years ago we crossed from the head of the Landsborough to Christmas Flat via a traverse of the Gladiator. But I think you guys took a hard route up out of the head of the Karangarua from Christmas Flat. When we did it in the opposite direction we sidled across and down the tussock slopes west of Mt Howitt and came down Baking Oven Creek, which was straightforward – little scrub and no pack-passing that I recall.

    On another trip we went into Horace-Walker via Regina Creek and I remember one distinctly hairy section on that narrow ridge east of Conical Hill where there definitely didn’t seem to be much below our feet except air.

    It’s definitely great country to visit!


    #44004 Reply

    Perhaps. But maybe it depends on how you feel about a mountain at some particular time – does it have some ‘spiritual life force’ or is it just an ugly pile of rocks. But you and I can remember when mountaineering expeditions had ‘assault teams’ and you could be knighted by ‘knocking the bastards off’. So once not too long ago peaks were certainly ‘conquered or vanquished’.

    And anyway Gladiators were rather violent characters (whether by choice or coercion) so vanquishing one now and then may not be so bad. But the bottom line is that one needs a title for a story that hopefully will catch attention – so why not include a dubious word or two. But if you can come up with something more acceptable I’ll include it as a sub-title with acknowledgements.

    We did, however, have a great time with The Gladiator and his/ her environment. And you are right it is a wonderful area to visit.

    #44005 Reply

    True, in this case the metaphor of conquering a gladiator definitely has merit.

    And somehow I managed to misspell Arlene Blum’s name – I blame autocorrect. Her book Annapurna: A Woman’s Place, by the way, is a classic.

    #44021 Reply
    Larabee Penstock

    And don’t forget that Taranaki was conquered by his violent warrior mate Tongariro and has the scars to prove it.

    So if it is ok for mountains to vanquish each other why shouldn’t we as mere mortals also get to do it to a few of them now and then?

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