Up Foggy Peak

Foggy Peak's reputation has always attracted the seriously committed hiker in me. Finally a suitable windless (and fogless) day has dawned (and 'dusked'). I've climbed it, accompanied by Non-Gardening Partner.

 What an amazing place!
Me on Foggy Peak Summit

Foggy Peak is in the Torlesse range, and is covered in loose greywacke rock. It's 1700m high, and the climb starts on Porter's Pass at 900m. And it doesn't get it's name for nothing - there's no point in climbing it in the fog. Ha! Arithmetic (namely subtraction) leads me to conclude that Foggy Peak is a climb of 800 meters. That's 800 meters up and 800 meters down, which might explain why this evening I am hobbling around the Moosey kitchen, feeling like I've got no knees.

 A strong growing flower.
Alpine Gentian

Alpine Flowers

Knees aside, it's been a day to admire the views - and the grasshoppers, butterflies, and tiny alpine flowering plants (like white Gentians and Celmisias) which live up there. Life on Foggy Peak is exposed to fierce winds all year round - and snow in winter.

The grasshoppers amaze me. We ate our lunch on the summit serenaded by their gentle, clicking conversations. They're camouflage grey in colour, just like the rocks, but show flashes of rebellious red inside their back legs.

It occured to me they were chunky enough to possibly provide a protein lunch for some silly wild-side traveller (like Bear Grylls, whom I hope never reads this).

 There he is, sitting in the tussock.
Spot the Kea

And Alpine Parrots

On the climb up an inquisitive kea circled and landed, checking us out for interesting takeaways - keas love to pinch things. Settled in the tussock the drab olive green bird was perfectly camouflaged.

Alas - Non-Gardening Partner is yet to understand the complexities of being the official trip photographer. For example, he was supposed to keep taking photographs of the kea until it took flight and exposed its gorgeous fiery orange under-wing feathers... Hmm...

On the summit I had more problems with the trip photographer. NGP was digitally seduced by the panorama of the distant mountain ranges, so the grasshoppers also remained uncaptured. However he did drop flexibly to the ground to snap a Gentian, and had already sprinted ahead to take some brilliant pictures of the Head Gardener (me) toiling up the last ridge.

 Spot the Head Gardener...
On The Way Up Foggy Peak

A clear track leads from Foggy Peak's summit along a broad, stony ridgeline to Castle Hill Peak. But we'd been 'stony' scrambling for two and a half hours, and couldn't be enticed to go further. The views would be the same, so common sense (and Moosey knee maintenance) kicked in. Phew.

 Doesn't look too difficult, does it?
Looking Up at Foggy Peak

Grasshoppers and Views

I shared my lunch rock with a particularly slow grasshopper, watched him for a while, and then remembered to look around at the mountains. Amazing grasshoppers - and equally amazing views.

So Much To See...

From Castle Hill Peak, down into the rough valleys of Kowai and Foggy streams, then over to the Craigieburn range, past Lake Lyndon to the broad Rakaia valley and Peak Hill (climbed recently). The Arrowsmiths, their tops snow-covered, lined up further on, and way over in the distance we could see the top of Mount Cook (to which I will never, ever climb).

My final thought regarding Foggy Peak? Well, for anyone with dodgy knees it's a challenging scramble with amazing views. Would I do it again? An ascent of 800 meters just to photograph a grasshopper? Yes, of course I would. I might take my own camera, though...

Free Download

Foggy Peak (PDF 5 MB)

 In the far, far distance.
Lake Lyndon and Across to Mount Cook

We saved the route from the GPS and produced this topographical map. It's in a PDF form, and you're welcome to download it. You can even see our morning tea stop!