Alpine extremes

April 4, 2013

We have been up here on Albert Burn Saddle for a week now and feel quite at home. We are familiar with the extreme changes as fronts come through and then clear.

Yesterday morning it was -5 degrees C and there was a lot of ice in the streams, waterfalls and tarns. Of course this also meant our water system froze up. Under clear skies the peaks shone. A frozen tarn, with some coaxing, became a sculptural medium, while frozen waterfalls hung like stalactites from dark cliffs.

We had another visit – this time from Martyn Myer, a friend and a couple of young guests from Whare Kea Lodge who had been flown up to Dragonfly Peak and were walking back down the East Matukituki. They checked out our half built rock sphere on the bluff above the Chalet and departed after a cup of tea and a chat.

Walking across this rolling alpine highland is a joy with flowers and plants coated in ice and kea circling above. It’s such a contrast to our winter experience here when these mountainsides were all under metres of snow.

Working with rock and water is challenging but works are coming together for the exhibition in Melbourne. Today there is no wind so we will be attempting to complete the Rock Sphere up on the bluff. Correction: it is now snowing heavily with a strong southerly, more like winter.