The radio crackled to life...it was 7:40pm day one. We gathered near the hut radio waiting for the sked. The call for French Ridge Hut came through with no reply. Obviously empty, meaning that we were to only ones anywhere on the mountain range. Love that! The call then for Colin Todd Hut. I could hear the surprise in the Warden's voice at finding us here.
Now what we were waiting for, the weather report; despite having not seen the top of Mt Aspiring yet due to the poor conditions the report is for fine weather in the morning with cloud developing and gale force winds around the peaks.
The forecast for the days beyond that only seemed to be worsening. To the point where I was questioning whether we would even get out in time to get my flight home. I had planned to have the next three days as possible summit days and then walking out the two days after that.
The warden then radioed back asking our intentions. I key the radio, "Looks like tomorrow is the best of it...Think we'll have a crack at it early morning". With a summit attempt now imminent discussion fills the hut. I can't believe it's finally here. All that time planning, training, and preparing and here I am only hours away.
I should be getting some sleep but soon realise that the cloud has cleared. And there she is. Mt Aspiring. Piercing into the night sky some 1.2km above us. A few photos and it's urgently time for sleep. 3.5 hours till the alarm!