In 2010-11 when I was sea kayak-guiding for Rosco’s Miford Sea Kayaks I had the opportunity to climb Mitre Peak. At 1700m it is the highest mountain in the world rising straight out of the sea. It took me 9 hours round trip to climb up and return to the bottom. To get to the start of the climb it’s a 30 minute kayak and I started this at about 4am so as to get an early enough start. It’s not too hard to climb but the main factor is the exposure. For about 4 hours in the top section of the climb you are subject to extreme exposure. You are climbing a very narrow tussocky ridge with a 1500m drop into Sinbad Gully on one side and a 1700m drop on the other side into the fiord below. One slip, one stuff up and your dead. The year before a person had actually fallen and died on this climb. She was using ropes to descend the crux part of the climb.
I decided not to use ropes and instead climb faster on the easy parts thus giving myself more time to go very slowly and carefully on the harder parts of the climb. And I decided to climb by myself; no one to slow you down, no one to knock down rocks.
I was very lucky to make it home alive that day. I passed someone on the hardest, most exposed part of the climb and as he crossed above me he dislodged a rock, about 10cm in diameter, which whistled past my head within arm’s reach. Had I been hit it wouldn’t have taken much to knock me off the very small ledge I was standing on.
I still remember this day as one of the best days of my life. Living on the edge in full concentration for 4 hours gives you such an intense thrill!!
Starting in the dark
The moon was up as I paddled from Deep Water Basin to Sinbad Gully, the start of the climb.
On the Footstool, (600m up) at sunrise.
View along the ridge to the top.
Looking back down to the village
Looking into Sinbad Gully
Made it!! Back at the bottom.