Ascent of Peak 1952 on 2016-01-24

Climber: Jude N.

Others in Party:Pierz N.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, January 24, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Peak 1952
    Location:New Zealand
    Elevation:6404 ft / 1951 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was a rather dangerous looking day when we set off to climb Mount Sutton. We had a partly cloudy sky to the east but rain and mist hovering over the mountains in the west. Despite this, we decided that the weather was settled enough to take a shot at the mountain, even if we had to turn back.

Access to Sutton was via the tortuous and unprotected dirt road up to the Ohau Ski Field, which required a key from the nearby Lake Ohau Lodge ($5). When we reached the ski field, the clouds were spitting and swirling overhead, but we pushed on anyway, heading up the large single ski run towards the col between Sutton and an unnamed peak (1,952m). After a fairly gruelling walk, we headed off track where the ski lift terminated, and scrambled up to the ridge, left of the large rocky outcrop. The large, slabby stones were fairly stable, but the the smaller stuff was quite loose. Upon reaching the saddle we were blasted by gale force winds, which made us anxious. Looking south towards Sutton, it's large summit plateau was tantalisingly close, so we clambered over the ridge towards the summit. However, after some consideration atop the outcrop from earlier, we decided to turn back, as the gusts were potentially strong enough to knock us over, and we did not know if we would loose visibility, nor if the rain would really start bucketing down. With some disappointment, we returned to the col, and contented ourselves on summiting the unnamed peak to the north, which we dubbed Peak 1952.

After taking in some cloudy views of the windswept landscape, we returned to the saddle, this time taking a route down that was further north and appeared to follow a ski line. Once we were below the ridge line, the wind calmed down until it was almost at a standstill, but we knew it would be no better on the ridge than it had been before. On returning to the car, the ominous clouds had dispersed, and the bad weather seemed to have abated. There was certainly temptation to have another try, but it was drawing too late and we didn't feel like making the effort again. In all likelihood, had we pressed on earlier, we would have made the summit, but considering we had no idea where the weather was going, it was wise to make the descent.
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:YDS Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Very Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Part of Trip: Mount Sutton Attempt (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1(Attempt) Mount Sutton2016-01-24 a 
2Peak 19522016-01-24 b 

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