February 14th Valentines day, its late summer , the weather hasn’t settled all summer long, the mountain forcast reads –
“It would appear winter doesn't feel in a hurry to leave us. New snow as low as 1400m at times and rain, heavy at times below with moderate to strong NW winds. and - For the time of year, it's still a surprisingly complex snowpack with several layers of either wet grains, ice crusts and some decomposing fragments. There has been a huge variance recently in the freezing level which has further complicated things and there is another 30-40cm of new snow reported Monday morning up on the Glaciers.
Although it’s the coldest summer I can recall and the usual doomsday addicts are predicting the end of the world as we know it stormy summers have a long history here. When Ernest Shackleton left for the South pole on January the 1st 1907 aboard the Nimrod they were immediately and continuously set upon by one relentless storm after another until reaching Mc Murdo sound in Antarctica . An earlier Irishman in 1882, Reverend William Green, and two Swiss, Emil Boss and Ulrich Kaufmann all but reached the summit of Mount Cook been beaten back by a furious storm in March. Greens accounts of his attempt on Mount Cook shows that trying to find a weather window to climb that year was every bit as demanding as this year would be (and was thwarted by just a few meters from being a first ascent on New Zealand's highest mountain) – his other big attempt in New Zealand, to climb Mount Earnslaw, was also to be derailed by miserable weather. In 1882 there were no bridges over the major water courses making access alone in heavy rains and snow a major undertaking. Interestingly, Green who came by ship via Australia noted that whilst Australia was suffering under a major heatwave New Zealand was very cold – Tasman conditions that are very similar to this year. Green much preferred the cold in New Zealand – undoubtedly his ancestry being Irish helped there!!
Constant storm cycles have left the Southern part of New Zealand on average 2 degrees below normal for summer in some places 4 degrees below – a nice balance in fact for last year when we had almost the opposite in summer. This hasn’t been convenable at all for outdoor activities though and I have found that now roughly 4 months into this constant cycle of storms that I’m tired of battling high winds although at least locally we are missing most of the rain.
Mount Travers , Nelson Lakes National park
Caught in a rainbow on the Summit
Lake Peel and Mount Arthur - Kahurangi National Park
The Nuns Veil, Aoraki/Mount Cook National park