We’re not climbing that, are we? A Mt Richmond trip – South Island

RICHTeam on summit
the team on Mt Richmond summit

At 7am the next morning I was wide awake and started making a little noise figuring we should get on the move relatively soon since we had a long day ahead to Mt Richmond. Poor Katy woke up and enquired as to what I was doing up so early because it was still dark. On the way up the hill to Mt Fell hut, Raymond demonstrated his ability as a regular Doctor Dolittle by calling out to a goat and getting a response back several times.

We got to Mt Fell hut for lunch and found it well stocked with food. Some hunters had clearly been flown in as we found bottles of Ginger Beer stashed under the water tank. Very tempting…

After lunch it was time to head onwards and upwards. Raymond decided he would have some fun and spun somewhat of a ‘tramping horror” story that I naively believed until he took pity on me.

RICHMt Fell Hut
a break at Mt Fell hut

We now had a good view of Mt Richmond. It looked like some very steep scree slopes from our side and I asked Katy if that’s what we were climbing, wondering if we’d all even get to the summit in one piece, let alone back down.

Luckily, like most mountains, Mt Richmond looked a lot worse than what it really was. The track we climbed up was easy enough with just a few steep drop offs to the side.

Katy had obviously ordered fantastic weather, sun and hardly any wind so we could also sit happily on the top of Mt Richmond and bask in the sun, procrastinating over continuing. Raymond managed to update his Facebook status with a ‘selfie’ from the summit.

RICHEd nearing the summit
nearing the summit

It was the next point I had been dreading. Katy had said that she had been told it was a bit of a scramble down. From the top of Mt Richmond it didn’t look too bad. It actually looked like quite a mild descent, so I thought I had got off lightly, until the next triangle marker and rock cairn suddenly disappeared over the edge of the mountain side…clearly I had spoken too soon…From here it was a bit of a scramble and slide down thin, jagged rocks that constantly moved under your feet…a bit like skiing but on movable rocks. It did actually turn out to be pretty fun…

When we got to Richmond Saddle Hut, we found it pretty busy with some other trampers and hunters plus two dogs – one black lab with the trampers and one cocker spaniel with the hunters. The trampers, who had walked up to the summit from the Top Valley Side, had seen us marching across the saddle. While they were sitting on the summit, they were wondering whether they should try and tell us to go back since the Richmond Saddle hut was already full. We assured them that we were anticipating a full hut.

RICHTeam @ Mt Richmond
taking in the views at the summit

The black lab had fun trying to run away with any food left easily accessible. I managed to rescue the salmon that I noticed her eyeing up. Raymond’s muffin wrapper got hungrily gobbled up before we even realised what was happening. Both dogs got lots of attention that night from everyone, and there was a little debate on whom the dogs would snuggle up with to keep warm. The other trampers got a fire going so we all sat outside and enjoyed the fire and great weather. In the end, despite the hut being originally full, the trampers also decided to bring the mattresses outside with only the hunters sleeping in the hut.

RICHRaymond taking a selfie
Raymond’s selfie

The next morning we had a very short walk to the road end so we made a leisurely start. The Jackson Creek roadend was a lovely spot. Katy, Raymond & Ed braved the cold water for a quick swim in the river. Unfortunately the roadend was overrun with horrible sandflies which seemed to take a great liking to me rather than the others. I don’t think the others were particularly impressed when I pointed out that perhaps this was because the sandflies were after youthful blood. I decided rather than sitting still and letting them attack me, I would attempt to out walk them much to the amusement of everyone else…Kevin quipped that I was training for the next MF trip…perhaps.

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