Mother Cummings Peak 2022

I’m getting quite good at climbing mountains when the forecast is for rain, but what else are you supposed to do? Sure, if it were pelting I’d have cancelled out, but it looked like the sort of rain that would yield lovely misty photos and would not overly drench me, or, more importantly, my camera. And I’m a big girl. If I’m too wet, I can turn around any time I want.

Western Creek, a bit before where the track starts.

Have you ever noticed that very few praised photos are taken on days with blue skies and dark shadows from a cosy sun? Bad days are great for good photos, so off I set. Good photographers are tough when it comes to weather, so it was time to toughen up. Who wants to sit on a mountain with heat haze spoiling the view? I had no view to be spoilt in that manner – much better to have moody mist.

Western Creek again. It is so pretty.

The trip there was slow, as I kept finding beautiful old sheds or barns to photograph, and  … perhaps I was procrastinating? Maybe I wasn’t as keen as I was pretending to be to climb a mountain  in thick mist?

Mother Cummings Peak from near the last pinch. It is there. You just can’t find it.

I was actually doing a recce for a different reason, and just in case it did start pelting, I chose the short, sharp route from Westrope Road. It rose over 350 ms in 1.4 kms. That’s steep!! I was (of course) wearing my Scarpa boots, but still kept sliding backwards with every second step. There was a lot of very wet leaf litter on the ground, and the slope is toe against shin steep. When I say straight up, I mean it. Coming down was going to be interesting.

Mother Cummings Peak track (on my way back down).

I was happy to start topping out after 35 minutes. The forest cleared and I was now in a flat marshy area. There were some cairns, but visibility was so low that they were lost in the mist. I decided it was easier to just bushbash my way up. The bush became bushier, which would have been fine, but I started to get very wet. The wind picked up. I headed to my left, to where the rocks would be rockier, but there would be less thick bush. It seemed to take forever to get across to said rocks over and under all the obstacles, and once I reached my goal, and cleared myself of all trees, I was able to perceive how cold it was being wet in this wind, and how potentially dangerous it was on very slippery rock where the edge was not visible. I said “Good bye” to this old friend with no ceremony at all and retreated down to safety.

Old barn on the way out

The trip down wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared. I think I had maybe only two skates, neither of which harmed me. Unfortunately, I had gone up in order to find a flat spot near the top for a later visit, but as I could see nothing at all, I did not find a suitable spot. But really, the recce was only an excuse to climb this lovely mountain again. Good mountains are like good books: once is never enough, and each visit reveals new insights and delights.

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