Weekend adventure 2nd-3rd of February with Tom Garden and Mary DeRoy. Or rather I crashed their plan to head into Barron Saddle Hut, because I'd never been. Started off with a great scramble up Sebastapol ridge. Provided you come off the Red Tarns track at the right spot, you can avoid the worst of the scrub and not have to climb over unnecessary high points.
The ridge itself ended up being a straightforward scramble, the worst section being when we got a bit off the ridge proper relatively low down before the steep section. We popped out near Mt Annette, which we had to climb before heading across the plateau, we had to drop a bit to get around a band of bluffs to get onto the Metelille Glacier. Then headed up towards Sladden Saddle, which was fairly interesting a number of crevasses forced up to go reasonably high to get around them and a small rock section in the steeper snow towards the saddle actually made for the best climbing. Down the Sladden Glaicer was also a bit of a maze of crevasses, but we found a route and then found the 'ledge' of scree around to beneath the Williams glacier. This was fairly narrow and exposed, not sure how much I would have enjoyed it covered in snow. And in just a few more brief scrambles we made it to the Hut.
Tom was motivated to climb Scissors the next morning before we headed out down the Tasman glacier, which was fairly straightforward, although the route back up to Mueller hut was fairly entertaining and ended up taking a bit longer than anticipated, making for all in all and fairly long day. But what a fantastic way to enjoy the mountains!

Aoraki is pretty sweet from this angle


Mary on lower Sebastapol ridge

It just gets better

Mary a bit higher up the ridge!

Mary and Tom eye up the ridge ahead.

And we popped up pretty near the summit of Mt Annette

Tom and Mary on the Annette Plateau

Heading towards Sladden Saddle

Only there were a few crevasses that made the route slightly less straight - forward!

The Annette Plateau from Sladden Saddle. And look at those mountains, also love the patterns of dirt and crevasses on the plateau.

Fantastic rock layering and light on the crevasses!

Tom and Mary approach Barron Saddle Hut in front of Mt Spence

Barron Saddle Hut, and Scissors (which Tom climbed early in the morning)

Tom surveying the Landsborough valley

What Tom could see... so many adventures, yet to be had!

Barron Saddle Hut beneath the stars... still working on my star photography.

And the Marmot mug makes an appearance at Barron Saddle Hut, the hut had an outstanding collection of Swiggie mugs, but there is something great about an enamel mug though. 

Mary on our mildly adventurous route down onto the Muellar glacier the next morning

Ah it was a long slog out down the Tasman the next day

Well the ice was nice....

... but not some much looking forward to that moraine up next.

This was a particularly active dust gully...

Looking back at where we came from, gives you an appreciation for ice vs moraine... there are no photos of our route up of the glacier. Between the large scree that moves when you don't expect it and small scree that is somehow solid, there wasn't really a stable enough moment for photography!

This view of Mt Cook, and probably just how dry the whole park was this summer really did make it feel as though we were in a far off land.

Mueller hut and Mt Cook

Tom admires Mt Cook, while looking like a real hardcore climber

I enjoy this quote everytime I head up and down from Mueller Hut

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