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Glacier Lake Challenge

The weather Gods were being kind to us by forecasting yet more unseasonably blue skies and excellent riding weather. So, we packed our bikes and set off for what was likely to be a fairly epic challenge. The three of us (Ian, Mark and I) were heading up to the Godley Valley but instead of just stopping at the first glacier lake, our goal was to reach the second lake at the foot of Godley Glacier.

Satellite images didn't install a huge amount of faith that we would be able to get up there however. The terrain was predominantly rocks the size of suitcases, cars and small houses so we knew it would be interesting. The challenge was set and we were off…

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With the twin track route in fairly good nick, it didn't take long to get the majority of the way up the valley before we stopped for a bite to eat by Red Stag Hut.
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As we neared the glacier lake the terrain became increasingly rockier.
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I've been at this lake a number of times and it's always mind-blowing. The ice bobbing around in the water gives a pretty good indication to the temperature. There was no skinny-dipping on this trip.
Reference Link : Godley Glacier
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Reaching the first glacier lake was pretty straightforward stuff. Attempting to reach the second lake however was where the challenge began.
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There was lots of navigating fairly decent sized rocks and boulders
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Ian and Mark in the distance
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We covered a decent distance but our initial fears soon became reality. It was simply impossible to progress any further as the majority of the rocks from this point forward were pretty much armchair size.
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We weren't disappointed as we had prepared ourselves for the reality that terrain simply wouldn't allow us to get through. To be fair, the ride up to this point was absolutely awesome with epic views. From there, we decided to head to a nearby hut for the night and get a good campfire going.
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One of the challenges that stood in our way to reaching the hut was the crossing of the Godley River. Just a couple of kilometres upstream, ice was bobbing around in the lake that drains out and forms the Godley River. We needed to be smart about this crossing as low water temperatures like these need to be treated with respect.

With the glacial silt built up on the large rocks and almost no visibility into the water, it made for a seriously challenging crossing. I have crossed hundreds of rivers to date but this was hands down the slipperiest crossing I have ever tackled.
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After getting the bikes across the river, we made our way to the hut.
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The bikes were used for collecting some firewood. The AltRider Hemisphere bags are pretty handy for firewood collecting.
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We had a cracking fire that night. It was essential though, it’s hard to pick from the blue skies in the photos but the majority of the trip was barely above 0°. We dropped our gear at the hut around 4pm and within 30 minutes anything that was wet soon froze solid. Riding gear, socks, luggage etc all became hard planks.
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With the below zero temperatures outside, our cosy little hut was mint!