Although Dobson Peak is on the edge of a conservation park, getting to it would be a much longer trek without the private road to Dobson Ski Area.
We were staying in Geraldine over the Christmas break so this seemed a good opportunity to ask for access via the Dobson road. This was granted and on Christmas Eve we drove up, through the two locked gates, stopping occasionally to work Geoff ZL3QR and Bev ZL3OV to give them the grid locators they needed along the road. Parking at the top, we set off on the 350m climb to the summit, an easy walk along the skifield track marked on the topo map.
The climb was certainly worth it for the views alone. Aoraki/Mt Cook and the other high peaks looked magnificent, and the Mackenzie country was laid out below us. The immediate landscape is fairly bleak, just rock and the occasional small alpine plant.
Contacts with stations in the North Island were easy on 40m, including an S2S with Warren in Hawkes Bay. Switching to 20m, I was rewarded with an S2S with Mt Kosciuszko, the top of Australia – thanks Matt VK1MA. Finding the right band to get contacts back to the Christchurch area was difficult, but Geoff, Bev and I finally made it on 80m.
ZL3/CB-197 Dobson Peak
Height: 2095m ASL
Directions: The private road to Mt Dobson Ski Area begins 4km west of Kimbell on SH8. There are two locked gates on the road if the skifield is not open. From the top of the road follow any obvious track to near the summit, then pick your own way the short distance to the top.
Time to summit: 90 min from top of skifield road
Summit marker: None
Land access permission: Peak and skifield are in Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, permission required to use skifield road
Repeater access: Good into Tekapo 680 (linked to Christchurch 5625)
Cellphone access: Intermittent 2degrees 3G from the summit
Map: NZ Topo Map
More information: sota.org.uk