Decent one up Ngauruhoe.
Had briefly considered doing the northern circuit but when I added in the summits it started coming closer to 60km so culled that idea. Re-evaluated and whakapapa looked like a good starting point.
Planned to start early enough, but there was in for casted rain, and cold temperatures, so I took my time and waited for it to clear a bit. In the end I started in drizzle & mist, the drizzle didn’t last too long, but the mist was heavy and I never saw Ngauruhoe until I was actually climbing it.
I knew from re-reading Jonny’s run up that it was doable but would likely be very slow going at times, so 30-35km seemed a decent number not to be out too long, and this loop worked quite nicely.
Plain sailing & quiet running up to the two Lake Tamas. From there one map had implied there was a trail to halfway up Ngauruhoe, but this was false. Left the trails and the people at the upper lake and continued on. Did run into a geologist looking for lava flows on the crest just before Ngauruhoe, and he confirmed you could indeed get up from this side which was handy.
A right slog, and scramble to find anything your hands could grip onto over the last few hundred metres of climb. Many a false summit too. But got up to the crater to witness steam shooting out of the ground, and was above the cloud looking back at Mt Ruapehu which was stunning.
I couldn’t figure out how Jonny had loved the descent for the first couple hundred metres as nothing stuck beneath my feet and I had a couple hard falls. But suddenly it opened up into this lovely scree you could dig your heel into and slide down and I was loving it again.
Seemed it would be rude not to do Mt. Tongariro given I probably won’t be back for a while, so did a loop there taking in some fo the craters.
Tried to find the old path off tongariro and realised it was on maps.me
so used that for a bit, kinda found it for a bit, but it was hard to follow - it did keep me away from the scrambly stuff though.
Eventually back to the main trail and hopped in behind some Canadian trail runners before turning off for the last while back to Whakapapa - which, despite my 3 layers of sun cream, was my demise, and has me fairly severely burnt.
It wasn’t helped by me finishing my 1L water, and all the rivers having dried up.
All in all, a very good day out though. A lot of work to the summit, but definitely worth it.