The day had finally come - the hardest day of the hardest section of the whole TA. It started off great with the most amazing sunrise in the perfect mountain top setting. I was hoping that red sky in the morning wasn’t a shepherds warning.
I was actually really excited about today and felt ready. I had the mantra playing in my head from Salty’s advice: super hard but super rewarding. I’ve enjoyed the variation in each day so far with the terrain and challenges and was looking forward to what today was going to bring. I particularly enjoy the challenges of finding the path amongst the route and choosing where to place each step.
We were straight into a hill climb which gave us clear views over to little and big Rintoul. They didn’t look too daunting from this distance but I knew that to be deceiving given how far away they were.
We still hadn’t seen any goats but saw lots of evidence of them and could hear them along the way. Mostly it sounded like babies crying for their mums. I was surprised at the number of grasshoppers up at this altitude. Perhaps they were actually rockhoppers as they more more in the rocks than grass. They jumped an incredible distance and height when disturbed. One actually hit my face.
First summit up was Old Man and he was no slouch. Quite hard work.
We didn’t stop at old man hut for lunch as that was a 45 minute detour that we didn’t need on a day like this. But we could see it from the ridge line.
Next up was Little Rintoul. We decided to have an early lunch before exiting the tree line onto the exposed rock face of Little Rintoul.
Going up was hard work and challenging and involved a lot of what I call rock climbing. I think the proper name might be scrambling. But going down was even worse. There were quite a few adrenaline inducing moments. In one situation my next step was directly below me but the frame of my pack had wedged onto the rock face behind me and if I made the step I knew the pack was going to catapult me forward. At least at that point it wouldn’t have sent me off the mountain, but it would have face planted me onto some fairly jagged rocks. It took me a good few minutes of wiggling and assessing and I still don’t know how I pulled it off, but thankfully came off unscathed.
Finally it was the highest peak of Mt Rintoul 1731m. More of the same hard work and rock climbing.
Unfortunately a cloud rolled in just as we got to the summit and we didn’t want to hang around as it got cold.
Today was the first time I actually preferred ascending to the descending. Going up felt so much safer. The descent from Mt Rintoul was a lot easier than from little Rintoul as it was scree and had a fairly firm footing underneath. It even felt relaxing to start with after a full on day of concentration. But just as I was thinking this my feet slid right out from under me and I struggled to get up as couldn’t get a footing and kept sliding. So the concentration had to switch back on then.
For those from home the day was the equivalent to summiting Mt Egmont, returning to the bush line then resummitting twice over.
It did feel worth it for the views and sense of achievement, but oh so relieved to get to the hut at the end of the 10 hour day.
Marley had the fire going when we arrived in and Lisa was already there too. It was great to all share our experiences of the day. We played cheat instead of euchre at cards tonight as that was all we had the mental energy for.
We made sure all our food was secure as there seemed to possibly be mice issues.
Day 42 ~ Walked :14 km, ~Start: Slaty hut ~ End: Rintoul hut, Richmonds (km 1894)