Thanks for your comments. I am really fortunate in having this country so close to home and a son who enjoys coming with me. As the years have passed his pack has grown heavier and mine lighter (sort of!). This was the first time we had chartered a helicopter as we realised there was no way we could reach the glacier and return in a week. Well worth the money. As we flew in I looked down at the "hard" gorge and thought "sh*t"!
The country changed as we got lower. First open tussock basins, then scrub, then thick bush with the river going through 3 gorges. Once we were through the scrub we picked up an old unmaintained track which had had some volunteer clearance and marking done on it. It was still pretty hard going as there was a lot of windthrow and the track sidled above the gorges with several nasty washouts where you did not want to look down and where we used the rope. Fortunately the old swing bridge was still in place or we would never have got across the river.
The upper tussock terrain.
One of the gorges
A typical side creek
And back closer to home where we had got "fit" by climbing to the top of the snowfield at 6,500ft. Surprisingly this was actually 1.500ft higher than the glacier we later flew to.