Starting at Lake Lyndon Lodge

The Facts

How to get there

Short Outline of Hike

  • Distance: 9.6km (round trip)
  • Duration: 4.75h, including a break of about 45mins enjoying views and snacking at top
  • Elevation gain and loss on way back: about 650m each
  • Lake Lyndon Lodge, where we parked the car, sits at 840m.
  • Mt Lyndon reaches 1489m.
  • This path is not marked. According to our maps, there’s a footpath, which we didn’t see due to everything being covered in snow.
  • Seems like an easy walk in summer. I wouldn’t recommend it to inexperienced hikers in winter though. Low clouds and snow make it more difficult to find a path and walk. There might also be risk of avalanches.
  • We camped at the Lake Pearson DOC campground, which is a 30mins drive away. DOC campgrounds usually cost around $8 per person and work on trust payments.

Grading

Following is my personal grading of the hike including some key points. If you have no idea what the SB scale, have a quick look here.

The overall grade regarding difficulty is SB-3.6. The grade is made up of the following categories:

Category A – General – SB-3

  • Distance: 9.6km round trip, duration: 4.75h, elevation gain/loss: 650m one direction
  • For each way, that is a distance of 4.8km with an elevation gain of 650m.

Category B – Terrain – SB-6

This path is not marked. Still, according to one of our map apps there is a footpath up to the top. When we did the walk everything was covered in snow with only bushes – only within the first couple hundred meters of elevation – and rocks sticking out. Every now and then, it seemed like we were on a path. Snow would get up to knee deep (my height) which made walking a bit more challenging and tiring.

Category C – Weather – SB-3

We started around 10am when low clouds were covering the valley. Sight wasn’t too good at the beginning. It made trying to find a path all the more adventurous. Luckily, we already checked out the way up the day before and were following our footprints from then for most of the morning. Once we trekked above the clouds, there were clear blue sky and warming sun. There was only a bit of wind at the top. Temperatures were a bit chilly in the morning but with the sun we warmed up quickly.

Category D – Special Conditions – SB-3

Despite the snow, the way up to the top is pretty straight forward. The temperatures and the amount of snow on the ground kept the avalanche risk pretty low for us. Walking in somewhat deep snow does make a trek more challenging though. Inexperienced hikers should preferably do this hike in summer when there’s no snow.

Category E – Individual Conditions – SB-3

First summit hike after the lockdown weeks due to COVID-19. I’m reasonably fit but not at my best with regards to regular hiking trips. Still felt like a comfortable hike. My legs got tired more quickly from walking through the snow and due to lack of regular long hikes in the past months.

The Story behind the hike

We are doing this walk on the day of winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, which marks the shortest day of the year. From this day on, days are getting longer again 🙂

We already arrived the day before and checked out the path up to Mt Lyndon. Originally, we wanted to trek all the way to the summit and head on to another summit for the next day. But we arrived a bit late in the day. There was no obvious path because everything was covered in snow. So, it took us a while to just get half way up to the top which is why we decided to do the summit the next day. Great idea, as it turns out. Making a path with our footprints the day before saved us a bit of time on the actual summit walk.

We camped at the Lake Pearson DOC campground. That’s about a 30mins drive away from the Lake Lyndon Lodge where we parked the car and started the walk. From what I could see, it’s possible to make reservations for the Lake Lyndon Lodge itself. Check out this link for more information.

There are low clouds when we get back to our path in the morning. It gives the landscape a bit of a mysterious appearance. We are right in between these clouds, when we reach the end of our self-made path. I’m up front for the entire hike and having quite a bit of fun stamping through the snow. Figuring out where to go and puzzling my way through. I expect Darryn to throw some piece of advice or criticism at me any time but he remains silent almost the entire hike. I must be doing a good job 😛

Once we reach the top of the clouds, a blue sky and warming rays of sun are waiting for us. The rest of the hike becomes a breath taker. Snow capped mountains with low clouds along them. From the top it looks like the surrounding peaks are covered with fluffy winter blankets. There’s almost no wind.

Unfortunately, we forgot our equipment for a summit maté. I know, how could this happen, right?? Definitely seem to be out of practice. The last summit we walked up to was before lockdown due to COVID-19, which was over 3 months ago. We still take our time to enjoy our views.

The way down is much easier. Not only because we are going downhill but because we simply step into our footprints. Some of them are almost knee deep.

Due to some steep parts, risk of avalanches and limited sight during low clouds I wouldn’t recommend this path to inexperienced hikers in winter. But the walk is probably quite easy in summer when there is no snow and an actual path visible. There are no poles or markers. So, hikers rely on the footpath on the ground. This was completely covered when we did the hike.