As Captain Cook approached the Kaikoura coast of New Zealand South Island in 1770 on his great Pacific Ocean exploration in the ship Endeavor he observed that "Over this land appeared a Prodigious High Mountain the summit of which was covered in snow "
Over 2 hundred years later whilst travelling to a bike race in Wellington at the age of 16 I saw for the first time across the sea that big white spire which was the mountain sacred to the Maori - Tapuae-o-Uenuku .
Those views were a young North Islanders dream of the promised land which was the South Island !! The dream was bike touring down there among the mountains, lakes ,glaciers and fast flowing rivers in great valleys and over big mountain pass's - basically the South Island was the promised land and everything the North Island wasn't.
Slightly older now and long down in the South Island I get the odd chance to explore that promised land and often at this moment with Sergio my Chilean friend from work. After getting back from the Karakorum's we started up training again together with a couple of jaunts up Mount Arthur. Sergio's run of luck continued there , both jaunts were in whiteout conditions.
Following that we had a big one day trip , the best around 15 hours of bike riding, hiking and climbing up Mt Chitterden in the Nelson Lakes. From there on a perfect day we got a great view of Tapuae-o-Uenuku and with a long weekend coming up I suggested we head there,
Once again we had great conditions to head up Tappy as its colloquially known sharing company with a few others for once. Sir Edmund Hillary said of it after climbing it in 1944 " I'd climbed a decent mountain at last" - certainly it must have be much harder work for him than us as one tries to imagine how many steps would've need to have been cut as he climbed without crampons!!