Trip 4. Gertrude Saddle and Barrier Knob

8 April 2017.

How much fun can you squeeze into a six hour trip? Lots it seems. On a beautiful cool morning we took the DOC track to Gertrude Saddle, and then continued on to climb Barrier Knob.

 

The sun was just about to touch Black Lake as we passed by.
 
 The kea dropped in to keep us company.
 
We’re taking these photos with our mobile phones (an iPhone 5s for Dave, a Nexus 5X for Sue). To get a good shot of a bird it has to be close. Really close. About 20cm in the case of this kea.
 
Climbing further our shadows formed a glory or brocken spectre on the mist layer below.
 
Out with the ice axes and crampons (or, in this case, lightweight micro-spikes) to climb a glacial remnant near the top of Barrier Knob. Mt Crosscut is in the background.

 

The kea is known as an alpine parrot. But it is not the most “alpine” of NZ birds. The rock wren has that status. It’s rarely seen, and then mostly by mountaineers. In fact, seeing a rock wren is almost a guarantee that you’re using (or at least carrying) an ice axe. On reaching the top…
 

A rock wren appeared almost on cue…

 

 

The views into the Lake Adelaide basin were spectacular…
 

 

And across to Mt Crosscut
 
Descending back towards Gertrude Saddle provided more great views…
 

 

Some more lovely wildflowers, in this case a variety of Acyphilla (speargreass or Spaniard).
 
And a Lord-of-the-Rings type view into Milford Sound.
 
What a day!