Uncle Roddus Tramping Dairy; Tramp No.177
Mt Harper/Mahaanui - 19 September 2020
So there are two Mt Harpers in the mountains of the South Island and they are not all that far apart, but the one I was interested in this weekend was the lower of the two, the one that overlooks Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater in the Hakatere area behind Mt Somers. I had not climbed this hill before and the views from this stand alone peak promised to be pretty stunning if visibility was good. A few days previously, a good front of weather had passed through and dumped a bit of fresh snow on the mountains, and although it was melting fast, it was anticipated that there might be a reasonable amount on top of our destination.
As this was a club trip, I meet the rest of the party at Mt Somers about 8:45am on a pleasantly mild Saturday morning, before driving on to Lake Camp. The Hakatere area is a wonderful collection of hills and lakes with very little trees about and wide vista to enthrall our eyes as we started out climb up the Northern face of Mahaanui, The scrub was very low so as not to impede our ascent as we slowly slogged up the the ridge. After two or three stops on the way up to regroup and refuel, we finally made the summit around 1pm in disappointing amounts of snow but with the fantastic views promised. We didn't stick around long as we still had a ways to go on our planned route, so continued on in a Southeasterly direction with out aim being Balmacaan Saddle, but when we got to just past point 1644 we decided to drop down an inviting bit of scree into the creek that flowed down to below the aforementioned saddle. The going got a little slower nearer the bottom with plenty of Spaniards and Matagouri to scratch our legs but we hit the track out down Balmacaan Stream without any mishaps and then slogged it out down the well formed track back to the cars by about 5:30PM.
Walked about 17km with around 1300+m height gain in around 8 hours.