17 December 2015

Captain James Cook - Mt Sparrman, Dusky Sound, New Zealand

On Captain James Cook's second visit to NZ he arrived in the 'Resolution' from the west. After a long time at sea they spent a few weeks at their landfall in Dusky Sound - from all accounts a pleasant sojourn. While they were there a group of four, Anders Sparrman, James Gilbert (the Master of the Resolution), Richard Peckersgill and one other ascended a mountain above Cascade Falls, subsequently named Mt Sparrman. It was a fine outing with them lighting a fire on top to let the others below know of their success. It is regarded as the first mountain ascended in NZ by non-Maori.

Very few recorded ascents have been made since that time. About 240 years later a group of us who were kayaking about Doubtful and Dusky Sounds ascended Mt Sparrman. The terrain would have been just as Cook's men experienced it; no tracks or any other evidence of human presence to be seen. Spread out below us was Dusky Sound like a map and unchanged as far as the eye could see.  With the exception of the summit fire it must have been very like that first ascent over two hundred years ago.We tumbled down the mountain much the same as Cook's party would have all those years ago. It was a great day out, as it obviously had been for them.

Climbing through Untracked Bush

Dusky Sound Laid Out Below Us

Dennis McL on Top - Glacially Shaped Fiordland Beyond

On Top:Jeff Hall, Dennis McLauchlan, Lynette Hartley, BLS, Mike White
Photo: Pat Holland

Summit of Mt Sparrman