The Cameron Glacier valley is one of my most favorite places in the world. It has majestic peaks, easy hike to the Canterbury Mountain Club hut, and moraine deposits so beautiful that you can’t help but smile. One time, our tents almost blew away because of 100 km/hr winds, but some kind folks picked them up and stuffed them into the alpine hut (THANKS!). I’ve spent a couple nights up on the glacier, after drilling holes for stakes to measure ice flow, and I was cozy in my two sleeping bags and down jacket. The first night in the valley, I was falling asleep listening to a kea (New Zealand alpine parrot) get closer and closer to my tent. I dreamt that I opened up my tent door to shoo it away but instead of a normal-sized kea, it was a meter tall. I tried to zip my tent door closed, but it got closer and closer (they are very curious birds) and then I woke up just before it got me.
Mountaineers used to access Mt. Arrowsmith by hiking up the “Carriage way” by following the cairns (rock piles) up the lateral moraine and onto the Cameron Glacier. Due to glacier recession and thinning, this approach puts you far above the glacier surface and now people prefer to skip the moraine and climb up the front of the glacier instead, dodging bowling-ball sized boulders rolling off the front.
This is a photograph of the bowling alley with the Cameron Glacier terminus toward the right. Unstable moraines are much more of a hazard for mountaineers than before glacier thinning (when people would step off the moraine crest and onto the glacier surface!).