We knocked off work at 2 pm Friday and drove in that afternoon which enabled us to walk to our campsite that night. After getting to the car park at 7-ish we proceeded to make our way up the true right of the George Burn. Cleo had attempted Jane peak twice before and had said there was a vague track but was not always obvious and they needed to fall back on their route finding skills which caused them to take upwards of three hours. However, there was a recently cleared track marked with blue tape and the occasional marker pole spray painted orange which allowed us to get to the campsite a bit after nine. Which allowed us to take in the great sunset while eating a late dinner.
The next morning, after some discussion and route planning, we decided to head straight to point 1876 via 1652 then traverse along the ridgeline to Jane Peak then back down via the ridgeline at point 1913. At 1652. As we neared point 1876 the scree got progressively steeper, so us boys made and executive decision to hand the daypack to off Cleo. Once the saddle was attained a discussion ensued on how to tackle the ridge line as despite what the ridgeline looked like on the topo map, it was basically all bluff with a very steep chute. So instead we had an early lunch on point 1875, called it close enough and went to investigate the lake at 1700 m. However, even just sidling over to the other side of the valley was not simple we got bluffed out and had to drop into the valley to the east before we made the saddle.
Once the lake was reached, the day was hot enough and the water inviting enough that the decision to have a swim was unanimous. The water was straight from snow melt and thus a bit brisk, however after walking for 5 hours it was just what we needed. Although, I found I had applied so much sunblock that when I initially jumped in an oil slick formed around me. Afterwards, it was a short walk down the ridgeline back to camp for another swim and a lie about in the late afternoon sun.
The plan for the next day was to get up early as to get as much of tomorrows climb to smooth peak under our belts as possible. However, that was blown out of the water when I made the unanimous decision to have a bit of a lie in, so we didn’t get away till 10 past 8. The route chosen was straight up the ridgeline to 1604 then across the tops to Smooth peak. It was reasonably hard going such that Tim reckoned it was the hardest thing he had done. Although a rudimentary route and some old walking pole holes suggested that we had chosen the correct route. When we reached point 1604 we were running quite low on water and Tim was pooped and could have got to the car directly down the ridge through the tussock. But Cleo and I were pretty keen to get to smooth peak seeing as we hadn’t got to Jane the day before, additionally the scree on Smooth Peak went nearly to the bottom of the valley and through the monocular I thought that was small and loose enough that it would be faster to scree slide back to the car. Funnily enough while I was scoping out a route I spotted a small herd of sheep that had missed the muster 1000 m up on the scree miles from any vegetation what they were doing I have no idea.
After a VERY hot morning we arrived at Smooth Peak and had lunch while taking in the amazing view. I particularly enjoyed the valley below where you could see previous routes the river had taken previously etched in the paddock. After lunch it was a quick enjoyable slide down the scree to the bush line in the valley below and the creek which thankfully was still running as the valley had turned into an oven. After a rest it was a short bush bash to the valley floor then a walk back to the car along the now dry creek bed back to the car for a well-deserved reward biscuit.