| "My precious" climb up Mt Doom, and the Tongrariro Crossing, NZ
Ok, the volcano is actually named Mt. Ngauruhoe, but ever since Peter Jackson used its likeness as Mt Doom in the LOTR movies, it's taken on a much easier to pronounce nickname.
Over the course of a 6 week trip to New Zealand this Jan-Feb, I went on many day-hikes, and several tramps. The first big hike was the Tongrariro Crossing, on the north island, billed as "the best day hike in NZ". In fact this makes many worldwide lists too. The 17km (without side trips) thru-hike is likely the most popular walk in NZ for sure. I happened to go on a Saturday in summer, and the ranger said there was 1000 people on the trail! I have to say, aside from a few very unique and cool features, the terrain on the Crossing was largely bleak, and made me realize how beautiful many of the 14er trails are in CO.
The side trip up Mt Doom was ~1800' of pure soft scree. Miserable to climb, but stellar views from the top, and the right to say, "I climbed Mt Doom!" (which carries variable weight, depending on how much of a LOTR geek the person you tell is). Unfortunately, no eagles arrived to bring me back down, but scree-skiing was plenty fun anyway...
Full report and pics from this "heavy burden" hike: http://matt.tracz.org/2011/sabbatical/01_08/index.html
A few more sample pics:
Mt Doom, after reaching the South Crater on the Tongrariro Crossing.
Sticking to the sparse solid rock chunks during the climb.
Reaching the rim. Some sulfuric steam rises on the left.
The Tongrariro Crossing follows the orange trail across 3 craters, and down into a forest beyond the volcanos. I also visited Mt Tongrariro, via the ridge walk in white.
A view of the Emerald Lakes, one of the highlights of Tongrariro Crossing
Full report and pics: http://matt.tracz.org/2011/sabbatical/01_08/index.html