The best time to do Roys Peak!
It’s a Baltic winter’s morning in Wanaka; you’re all snuggled in bed, fleecy blanket around the cheeks – then that horrible shriek of the alarm at 4am!
I have to be honest, after living in Wanaka for more than a year, hiking mountains has become my addiction but Roys Peak, I wasn’t interested in. My love for the mountains is that feeling of complete escape, surrounding yourself with vast unpredictable nature – not the case with Roys Peak, where you’ve got a continuous overflow of cars at the base and lots of repetitive Instagram pictures – not for me.
After thinking about how I could combine my love for hiking, this beast of a peak and not being surrounded by 100 other explorers, it was simple really – wake up super early!
Breakfast rolls, hot coffee, hot tea, biscuits, shit-loads of layers, hiking shoes, head torch and check, we’re ready. We arrived at the car park at 4.40am, dark, cold but hurray not another car in sight! We put one foot in front of the other and up we went
Roys Peak doesn’t give you a nice easy stroll in to it, noop! It gives you about a 30 percent incline right from the start. The beauty of the darkness was, we couldn’t even slightly figure out how far we had to go. At times the total silence and darkness gave a very eerie presence, igniting a slight fear but also a freedom of life.
After hiking up for a couple of hours it went from a bit Baltic to fucking freezing – turns out we we were walking right through a cloud. Unknown to us, this is what was to become the greatest reward. As we emerged above the cloud, some natural light was starting to appear and there we were, standing above the inversion layer. No words can describe how magical this was, two friends solo on a mountain, high in the sky above the clouds.
This gave us a whole new motivation, we picked up the pace and headed for the peak. We quickly layered up, got the breakfast out and simply watched the sun rise. One by one the odd snow capped peak we could see poking through the clouds would capture the radiant orange of the sunlight, until Roys Peak stood in all its glory, fully lit, high in the sky. Some people may have been disappointed that you couldn’t see the lakes of Wanaka and Hawea but I truly believe this was much more rewarding.
After taking in what surrounded us, we decided to make our descent, still not other soul in sight. Half-way down when we did start to see people, it added an extra bonus that they still had a long climb ahead of them but all before 10am, we’d hiked a beast!