Mt Somers - 19 May 2019

Forecast gales of 75kph at 1000m and 95kph at 2000m for the 1687m Mt Somers ascent didn’t sound good but, surprisingly, ten people were waiting at Church Corner. Alternate plans were discussed but suck it and see was the general consensus so off to Staveley we went.

Low cloud greeted us at the carpark, but there was little wind as we set off along the ridge towards Staveley Hill with the cloud ceiling just above us. Turning right at the junction, we started up through thick cloud but gaps started to appear though the murk and we could see parts of the ridge ahead. The wintery sun was just peeking over the ridge, creating some spectacular Brocken spectres in the cloud below. Yvette was proud of her silhouette showing long legs and a halo.

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Along the Mt Somers ridge. Photo courtesy of Geoff Spearpoint  

We stopped for a hurried lunch in a weak patch of sunshine before the last ridge as the wind-chill factor did not encourage a long break. A couple descending towards us turned out to be Dorota and Witold, who had travelled separately. They had planned to wait for us at the top but said it was too cold and windy. We put on some more layers and prepared for a quick dash for the top and back. We gained the summit ridge but were surprised to find little wind. Then to the top and still little wind! The patch of cloud we had been climbing through revealed itself as a blanket lurking in the lee of Mt Somers with clear skies above and in all other directions. Mt Cook, Elie De Beaumont, D’Archaic and the Arrowsmiths looked close in the clear south-west airflow.

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On the top of Mt Somers. Photo courtesy of Tim Hines

Many photos were taken in all directions. Eventually, it was time to descend into the waiting gloom and we picked our way down the granite boulders. Staveley Hill was still just below the cloud ceiling and we were starting to lose the light along the bush sections of the ridge before we reached the car park.

It was an interesting day with far better weather than expected. It shows that it is still worth heading out even with the adverse weather forecasting information available.

Trampers: Susan Brechin, Norman Burden, Derek Gane, Tim Hines, Dan Pryce, Yvette So, Geoff Spearpoint, Mark Sullivan, Peter Umbers and Gary Huish (leader). PGH