Routeburn Track run in the Routeburn Classic, 1340 ascent 1400 descent
A cold morning greeted us on the start line at The Divide side of the Routeburn Track. The rain from the evening before had stopped and as the sun started to rise we were presented with crystal clear conditions.
The run started 500m from the trail head on the main road, giving the field a chance to spread out. Straight away the track was very rocky and started to climb through some classic South Island Beech. After a steady climb the track emerged at Howden Hut and then became more gradual heading to McKenzie Hut. This part of the track is spectacular passing Earland Falls with the Hollyford River and Darran Mountains in full view on the left.
From McKenzie Hut the track climbed steeply finally emerging from the tree tops and into alpine terrain as the track zig zagged towards Harris Saddle a glance to the right gave stunning views down to the deep green coloured Lake McKenzie and surrounding peaks. The final push to Harris Shelter was a little easier on the legs and after a short climb we reached the shelter and the highest point of the track at 1277m. The scenery at Harris Lake was incredible, with the lake silhouetting the peaks above.
The descent from the lake was initially extremely technical becoming easier after reaching the Falls Hut and the upper basin of the Routeburn River. Back into the trees the track followed the river all the way to the finish, crossing numerous swing bridges and through some lovely red beech trees.
Finish time for the 32k was: Gavin 3 hours 34 and Sinead 4 hours 23.