Lake Wilson, Aspiring National Park

6th-8th February 2021

Summer finally arrived, perfect for a long weekend at Lake Wilson in Aspiring National Park.

Lake Sylvan DOC camping ground located near the Routeburn Track car park was our home for Friday night thus allowing us to have an early start on Saturday. After a warm night we were ready to go by 7am and enjoy the sunny day to follow.

Our group of ten all left together but were soon spread out as we all walked at our own pace, regrouping again at the Routeburn Falls hut, where we met the hut warden, John an ex-member of the North Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club. John put the kettle on and made a brew accompanied with chocolate biscuits which was very much appreciated by those who took a rest break in the warden’s quarters.

Foot traffic on the Routeburn Track was very busy with runners, day walkers and through walkers coming the other way.

At the Harris Saddle, after lunch it was time to leave the highway and take the side track leading us down the face and around the edge of Lake Harris and into the Valley of the Trolls. ( But not a troll in sight)

Once again we re-grouped at the base of the climb to the outlet from Lake Wilson where we rested and re-hydrated before the final ascent.

About a third of the way up a rock step has to be negotiated, requiring a pack haul for some with shorter legs. Once above the rock step more up and then into a narrow gut which is often filled with snow before finally emerging out for our first views of Lake Wilson and its magnificent surrounds.

The next challenge was to find eight camp sites on the uneven and sometimes wet ground. Not far around the lake we each chose our tent spots somewhat spread out but within a smaller area.

The afternoon was spent relaxing in the stunning surroundings with a brew of choice in hand. As the sun dipped behind the ridgeline surrounding our camp, some of us took the short climb to once again be in the sun and enjoy the sunset along with a Broken Spectre effect.

Sunday dawned fine again and the plans were made for the day. Three groups with different objectives formed and set off for a great day whatever the result. Hand-held radios and visual sightings kept us all in touch throughout the day.

Our party of three opted for the easier route on the West ridge, checking out the many alpine flowers and plants while four others were making an attempt on summiting Mt Erebus and the third party made their way to the saddle between Mts Erebus and Xenicus for viewing into the North Routeburn and Flats Hut.

From our vantage point we were able to see the Erebus team on their high point along the skyline, not quite making it to the summit though. With so much to view all around including Lake McKerrow, the Hollyford Valley and the Tasman Sea there was no hurry to leave, but soon it was time to go back to the camp.

As the area around Lake Wilson has become so popular the hut wardens John and Jane visited to check on numbers camping around the lake which is the water source for the Falls and Flats huts.

Six of the party later completed a circumnavigation of Lake Wilson and back to the camp, where we all shared our days highlights over a beverage of choice.

A rather windy night ensued, a sleepless time for some and most were ready to leave camp at 7am on Monday.

Back down the steep gut from the outlet to the valley below and once again we linked up with the Routeburn Track just below the Harris Saddle Shelter.

With a refreshment stop at the Falls Hut which recharged us up for the last leg back to the Routeburn Shelter where our last plan was made, some real food at Glenorchy.

A safe and successful weekend was enjoyed by our team of ten.

Thanks to Ross F, Robbie, Joe, Julian, Bill F, Bron, Phyl, Tim and Garth.

Maurice.