Climbing Mitre Peak in The Milford Sounds

Mitre Peak towers 1695m above the beautiful Milford Sound, in Fjordland, New Zealand. It is said to be the most iconic mountain in New Zealand, due to it’s sheer rock faces and steeply rising vertical walls which support a knife edge ridge to the summit. We made our ascent via the classic South East Ridge, camping overnight at the footstool. Get in touch if you want some info about the climb!

There are several reasons why this climb is quite unique. There is absolutely no water on route, so you are obliged to carry your own water required for 2 days. For us, this meant 5L each, however by the time our supply was depleted – we had 6 hours remaining. Advice: 6.5L each. Luckily Fjordland is one of the wettest places on earth, so finding water in the forest is not too challenging.

The Team
The Team
Hiking on the ridge
Hiking on the ridge

There are several reasons why this climb is quite unique. There is absolutely no water on route, so you are obliged to carry your own water required for 2 days. For us, this meant 5L each, however by the time our supply was depleted – we had 6 hours remaining. Advice: 6.5L each. Luckily Fjordland is one of the wettest places on earth, so finding water in the forest is not too challenging.

The next morning we set off before dawn, towards the infamous knife-edge ridge – To the left, 700m to the bottom of Sinbad Gully. To the right, 1000m of vertical cliffs down to the tourist ships circling below.

Breathless views
Breathless views
The way down is always more perilous
The way down is always more perilous
At the summit of Mitre Peak
At the summit of Mitre Peak

The descent becomes especially treacherous. Good strong footholds are easy to come by, but the exposure is a battle for some. In the wet, this section becomes a waterfall. Seemingly good handholds peel off, and cracks shift constantly, due to the viscious freeze-thaw cycle in Milford Sound. This is not a place you want to find yourself suddenly out of your depth.

 

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