Taking a Princess Bath: Transformation of the Sarahsaurus into a Princess 🛀

Soft snow on the ridge to Mt Princess

Mt Princess – a climb to the Princess Bath

🛀 Taking a Princess Bath

Soft snow on the way to the Princess Bath

Transformation of the Sarahsaurus into a princess.

Tony told me he knew of a mountain that could transform a rebel Sarahsaurus dinosaur into a princess and all she had to do was take a princess bath….

After camping in the St James Conservation Area in sub zero temperatures we drove up the road as far as we could. Maling Pass Road is closed over winter so we had a road walk of about 6.5km before we started up towards Mt Princess. We had decided to wear our sneakers and change into boots a bit further up. We stashed our shoes in a bag and I carved out a big arrow in the snow so we could find them on the way down. We continued up and before the next snowy climb we had to don crampons. This climb had a pretty steep gradient near the top so we traversed it rather than heading straight up. 

Walking the road to Mailing Pass. Mt Princess on skyline.
Walking the road to Maling Pass. Mt Princess on skyline.
At the snowline on Mt Princess
At the snowline

The higher we climbed, the more snow there was and I really did start to feel like a fairy princess in a wondrous fairyland. It was a stunning bluebird day and so beautiful. I could see mountains in every direction and had views down to Lake Tennyson and Waiau Valley which I walked up over summer.

Surprisingly we had the mountain all to ourselves and not a single other dinosaur or princess was seen the whole day. 

We climbed past a tarn covered in snow with a frozen layer that glittered different shades of blue in the sunlight. Tony described the colour as azure which seemed very fitting for a princess.

Starting the climb of Mt Princess
Contemplating the climb
Mt Princess. Mountains always seem to have a lot of uphill
Mountains always seem to have a lot of uphill
A frozen azure coloured tarn on Mt Princess
A frozen ‘azure’ coloured tarn

We reached spot height 1906 before stopping for a late lunch with a view of the Princess Bath. The Princess Bath is a beautiful alpine tarn and at this time of year it was covered by snow but we could clearly see the outline of it. I decided this was enough to transform me into a princess but I will return again over summer to get my proper princess transformation. While admiring the Princess Bath and summit of Mt Princess I inadvertently fed the nearby vegetable sheep most of my crackers – more time at princess school needed for me clearly. 

Over lunch we had a discussion about the time of the day and the drive we had back to the ferry so we decided to turn around then. The snow had also turned into slush as the day got warmer and while initially it was good cramponing, we were now sinking more than knee deep.

I wasn’t disappointed about not making the summit as it had been a fantastic day in the snow with Tony and there will be other times to get up there, after all I am just a baby alpine dinosaur. After retrieving the rest of my lunch from the vegetable sheep that had attempted to gobble it all up, we started heading down but not before Tony nearly lost his walking pole after it got buried in deep snow while he was taking a photo.

Soft snow and slow going on the ridge to Mt Princess
Soft snow and slow going on the ridge to Mt Princess
The Princes Bath below Mt Princess
The Princess Bath below Mt Princess and dinosaur feet
The Princes Bath below Mt Princess
The Sarahsaurus at our turnaround point

On the way down we found a very small vegetable  sheep that we fittingly called a vegetable lamb; and had fun playing with our shadows in the snow since the sun was positioned directly behind us.

Our last descent of the day to the tussock line was actually the steepest, which seems counterintuitive because one usually would expect the difficult slopes to be further up the mountain. Tony took the lead on this one and we traversed slowly and carefully across with Tony cutting steps as this slope had been in all-day shade and was pretty icy and there was a long run out. As a baby alpine dinosaur I was very nervous but I decided that this princess would be courageous and do it scared. I told myself courage is like a muscle and we strengthen it by use. It doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid but rather that you don’t let the fear stop you. I slowly inched my way across to a little rock garden where I could finally relax again and the gradient started to ease off.

Vegetable Sheep on Mt Princess
Vegetable Sheep
Vegetable 'Lamb'on Mt Princess
Vegetable ‘Lamb’
Lots of pointy stuff came in handy

It was a quick walk back to our shoes and back to Maling Pass Road. Cloud started to roll in over Mt Princess as we got back to the car giving us one last dramatic view of the mountain. Tony wasn’t sure if my princess transformation would stick but I guess we will find out in good time.

Sunset over Mt Princess
Sunset over Mt Princess


Distance: 17km

Elevation: 1,060m

Elapsed Time: 9h 45m

For the story of a climb to the summit of Mt Princess go to Mt Princess – a pretty peak with a bath

This is the story of an Alp 1 peak that wasn’t climbed

Check out this story for a recent sighting by WTMC members of a Sarahsaurus in the Seaward Kaikoura Range.

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