The summit of Ben Loman

Congratulations Rory!
Our July blog winner

A victory beer on the summit!

Rory Walshe and his mate Phil have been getting in the thick of it in New Zealand, quite literally! Their attempt for the summit of Ben Loman near Queenstown turned out to be major adventure that included rescue crews.

It was the morning after the night before and me and my friend Phil decided - with slightly impaired decision making skills - to climb Ben Loman, a mountain above Queenstown.

We set off at 11am expecting the whole trip to take around six hours including a victory beer at the summit. We made the peak at 3 o’clock and then started to head back down where we met another track heading to Arthur’s point via moonlight track. This we figured would be a better route home since this side of the mountain was still in the sunlight. Bad idea number one.

About two hours later we lost the sunlight and shortly after that we lost the path. Before we knew it we were wading through thorns like toothpicks by the light from our mobiles, occasionally coming across sheer cliffs only a meter ahead of us. By now we were truly lost and decided to climb upwards to get a better view – bad idea number two.

Before we knew it we were wading through thorns like toothpicks by the light from our mobiles, occasionally coming across sheer cliffs only a meter ahead of us.

Once we realized this was too dangerous – after almost stumbling over several cliffs - we stopped to have a break.

Unfortunately the rock Phil decided to sit on
wasn't a rock, it was in fact a carcass of a sheep.

Sunset on the mountains. Pretty yes,
but not so pretty if you can't get home.   

It gets better… since we were now almost four hours overdue our friends back in town had called search and rescue to find us!

Eventually the moon rose high enough so we could see better and several hours of walking we found our way out on a goat track.

In total we were walking for 12 hours and when we finally reached a road the search and rescue guys were there to meet us. After a quick interview the police gave us a lift home and we drunk the second and slightly more deserved victory beers.

All in all it was a wicked adventure and although slightly scary at parts we got to see the mountains and scrubland at dusk as the sun set with absolutely no idea what a bind we were in. The hills around Queenstown are spectacular and are a must see for any southland visitor but they can be dangerous if, like us, you take your safety for granted and don’t look before you leap.

Cheers guys and enjoy New Zealand!

- Do you know of good places for New Zealand working holiday makers to visit? Let us know in the comments!