January 11 2012. Across the Tasman Glacier terminal lake and just about to get away: Sean Buchanan, Piers Harris, Stu Hutson, Patrick Arnold, David Grainger, Daniel Rogerson
Icebergs in the glacier lake with Aoraki/Mt Cook prominent in the background
The Stig unmasked
Tasman valley summer colours
Stu heads down-valley towards Gorilla Stream
11am on the 11th of January 2012: 700m above sea level, 3000m below summit of Mt Cook.
Starting up Gorilla Stream
Just after midday and it's very hot indeed. Piers takes a breather.
Three hours and 4kms from the Tasman, the Gorilla Stream is but a trickle and at last we see the final approach to the Nun's Veil.
Seeing this I wondered how we would negotiate a route between the lower snow and main glacier. I favoured the steeper rocks on the right but decided to sleep easy and wait to see what it would look like close-up.
Setting up camp in sight of the summit at 1300m in Gorilla Stream.
Camp shot on a hot sunny evening
Our camp was the highest flat vegetated place in the valley, and came with running fresh water and dry stone walls to shelter our tents and stoves.
We set off from camp at 4am under full moon. Looking back from here, four hours later, our campsite and the whole Tasman valley are under cloud. This is the second rocky section we are crossing to reach the Nun's Veil Glacier.
Looking across the glacier which slides off the Nun's Veil. It is bounded both side by interesting ridges with very steep terrain beyond those.
Old ice and crevasses showing through the glacier
Lake Pukaki somewhere under the clouds
As we climb the final summit slopes, clouds sweep in from the north.
Daniel hanging around at 2600m
Scrambling the last few metres to the summit, Daniel looks back at some rocks he dislodged, and almost followed, to the snow.
View from high up on The Nun's Veil.
Red jackets are the go
In the north, The Biretta and Monastery Peak and in the distant right, Monk Glacier. Not visible Mts Abbot and Abbess. Not sure why the clergy connection in all these names.
The Nun's Veil (2749m) 10.20am on January 12 2012: Daniel Rogerson, Sean Buchanan, Patrick 'Stig' Arnold, Stu Hutson, Piers Harris and David Grainger
Descending on good snow
Negotiating bergschrund and steeper snowslopes
Descending the Nun's Veil Glacier at midday in gloomy conditions
Where the Nun's Veil descends to the Jollie
Waterfall and scree-covered slabs easily despatched on the way down.
Easy travel here on old snow down an impressive gorge of rotten rock.
Bad weather was setting in so we headed out of the Gorilla Stream that day and set up our tents back on the Tasman valley floor....
...9pm. Heavy rain just about to set in.
Next morning, the guide from Glacier Explorers arrives on schedule to pick up and shuttle us across the lake.
End of the trip and time for a slap-up breakfast in Mt Cook village!