It started out planned as an overnighter at Mount Henderson hut but the wind wasn’t in our favour, so we headed out on Sunday morning as the wind dropped for a day trip. On quad bikes we followed the cane line/GPS up the plateau to reach the hut close to midday so decided on a spot of lunch and cuppa while considering our options on what to see in the local area. With the peak in view, we decided to hike to the summit to take in the scenery with Pete commenting that it looked closer than it actually was, but I know mountains don’t come to you.
The walk/rock hopping up the screed slope on the leeward side proved to be a warming experience with child-like voices in my head echoing “Are we there yet?” and Pete telling me of the 4/5 or 9/10 club you can join if you don’t reach the top. No, we pushed on.
With snow petrels the only witnesses to our feat we reached the summit. Briefly I thought we had the discovered the ‘Fountain of Youth’ on tap upon finding a stand pipe emerging from the rock. Maybe a drink from this could provide a spring in our step for the descent? To my disappointment it seemed to be only some form of plumber’s navigational aid.
With cameras clicking, making the only sound, photos of the view were taken as we sat out of wind below the summit. Rested, we turned to look down at the tiny hut and started the descent back down. Pete was right again: going up was easier (although hotter) than down and no speedier. The hut slowly grew in size as we progressed, finally reaching the base and donning the micro spikes for the walk across the ice and snow to the hut. Completing our entry to the hut log, we left the for the ride back to station, witnessing the start of the melt on the plateau. Water began to trickle through the snow as we negotiated the slushy sloping trail back to station - a great day out and well worth the effort!