Trip Reports, Dec 2018-Feb 2019

INDEX of TRIP REPORTS:

  1. Tour de Grampians | Nelson
  2. Maitai Caves | Nelson
  3. Billies Knob | Kahurangi National Park
  4. Beebys Knob | Mt Richmond Forest Park
  5. Pelorus Sound Sail | Marlborough Sounds
  6. 7 Passes Trip | Nelson Lakes National Park
  7. South Twin climb | Kahurangi National Park
  8. Asbestos Cottage-Tableland loop | Kahurangi National Park
  9. Lake Rotoiti circuit | Nelson Lakes National Park
  10. Ivory Lake Hut | Waitaha Valley, Westland

2 December | Tour de Grampians, Nelson
Leader: Ray Salisbury

Starting out from the point of least resistance, in The Brook valley, our humble crew of six Sunday morning ramblers set off up the Access Road.

While the Grampians reserve was not new to the men-folk, it was a great introduction to Nally and Corrina. Our intention was to complete a full circumnavigation of Mount Flaxmore, utilising eight of the numerous tracks.

The summit road was used as a warm-up; this was abandoned for an overgrown, grassy path to gain the saddle with Sugarloaf. A lower section of the Kanuka Track took us up to a higher elevation, whereby we could sidle around the back of Mt Flaxmore. The Kahikatea Track was climbed to top out on the main summit ridgeline. Corrina and Nally were escorted by Kerry to the TV tower and actual summit, while the oldies drank flasks of warm tea at the lookout platform, also drinking in views of Nelson South and the Waimea Plains.

Dropping off down the Mamaku Track, David balanced on his twin trekking poles – recent rain had made the earthen path slippery, but there were no incidents. Philip indicated the junction which joined up with the pleasant Tawa Track, which descended gently towards Nelson city, with glimpses of the Hospital and Boys’ College.

Ronaki Track was a rude awakening, zig-zagging up to regain the main ridgeline. After Ray recovered with more tea-drinking, the Walkway was followed along to the top of the Access Road. This delivered the team back to Blick Terrace in exactly three hours.

The forecast rain mostly held off, and sunhats were more necessary than raincoats. Members were: David Cook, Philip Palmer & Ray Salisbury (scribe), with guests Nally Yi, Corrina Kagaya & Kerry Jones.


16 December 2018 | Maitai Caves, Nelson
Leader: Sue Henley

The weather for Sunday looked promising, my list of participants grew and grew as the week progressed. By Sunday I had 18 names on the list. After initially meeting at Millers Acre, we pooled vehicles and regrouped at the footbridge just before the Maitai Dam.

We meandered along the track for a few minutes before coming to an abrupt stop as some mountain bikers skidded to a halt. After warning the bikers about our rather large group we continued, making our way up and down some gentle inclines, crossed creeks and negotiated mud holes before reaching the caves. We then enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch, including some home baking and Japanese cuisine kindly donated by some of our group. We then made our way back to the cars, stopping along the way for a photo shoot.

  It was a good day with a pleasant easy walk, and a gentle introduction for those wanting to get into tramping.

Participants were: Corrina Kagaya, David Cook  Michele Cunningham, Kelvin Drew, Greg Roe, Kung Gay Cano, Ana Aceves, Karen Wardell, Annette Vartha, Glen Vartha, Emily Vartha, Penny McLeroth, Donna McLeroth, Kate Krawczyk, John Whibley (senior), Clair Quested & Sue Henley (scribe).


6 January | Billies Knob, Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Andrea Smith

Finally, after several attempts, the weather gods blessed and gave us access to this stunningly beautiful area. The road and ford were easily driven and by all accounts of passing foot traffic, Granity Pass Hut was the des res for the festive season.

As we drove up the road it was difficult to imagine the once bustling Wangapaka Township of 250 residents at Courthouse Flat that sprung up during the gold mining era. Complete, of course, with courthouse and jail –still not a bad view. Maybe those miners were a rowdy lot; they certainly would have been dissatisfied with the pitifully low yields in the area.

We were on official cub business of course, that of tramping. Two hundred metres shy of the altitude of the impressive Mt Owen massif, we still got a grunty workout, with a 1200m climb. It was a beautiful day and the cooling breeze was welcomed. Some of us rekindled the memories of the horrendous bash up  Cullifords Hill a somewhat epic adventure. Today was a garden stroll in comparison!

Some chose different options, so four of us arrived at the summit after around three hours. Grant declared it more of a mountain than a knob. (I recall similar discussions pertaining to Cullifords ‘Hill’ and on descent from Gordons ‘Knob’ (the birth of Knob Bagging) conversation turned  to what constitutes a knob. I muse that NTC members are quite an intellectual group.)

Thank you everyone for your lovely, high-spirited company. Those cheerful souls were: Sue Henley, Grant Derecourt, Graeme Ferrier, Chris Louth, Kath Ballantine and guest Sam Beale. (Scribbled by Andrea.)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 January | Beebys Hut  | Mt Richmond FP
Leader: Kath Ballantine

Four trampers set off from the Church steps at 8am on what turned out to be a very hot day in town.

We arrived at the Beeby’s  Knob car park on the KorereTophouse Rd at 9.15am. It was pleasant walking in the bush in slightly cooler overcast conditions. We reached the ridge track at 12.30pm having had a morning tea stop half way up. We decided to press on to the hut, rather than to Beeby’s Knob as it was very windy at the top. We envisioned having a more pleasant lunch in the hut rather than on the knob.

Situated in a pleasant spot, the hut was a welcome respite from the win. Starting at 1.30pm, we returned, Theresa and Ian making a side trip to the top of Beeby’s  Knob. We arrived back at the car at 4.30pm then returned to Nelson.

Trampers were: Kath Ballantine (scribe), Ian Dohoo, with visitors Theresa Magrane & Kim Eunhee.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 January | Pelorus Sound Sail, Marlborough
Skipper: Brian Renwick

On a warm, sunny, Wednesday morning, Rod and Carole-Ann Lewis, and Susan and Ian Dohoo joined Brian Renwick aboard his catamaran Canopus for a sail in the Pelorus Sound. Clear skies and light winds saw them using a combination of motor and sail to get out to Waiona Bay (opposite Maud Island). The bay provided a beautiful anchorage as a spot for a communal lunch based on some delicious fried Kahawai that Brian had caught the day before.

Breezes definitely picked up after lunch as the group headed back up the inlet. After clearing the marine reserve around Maud Island, the fishing line was one again put out – netting two more good sized Kahawai for the larder. Really good breezes made for some great sailing in Tawhitinui Reach.

We got back to the the Penzance Bay jetty about 6:00pm. Susan and Ian headed back into town while Rod and Carol-Anne remained on board for the night. All-in-all, it was a beautiful day on Pelorus Sound. (Penned by Ian Dohoo.)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21–29 January | Seven Pass trip | Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Brian Renwick

“This looks a lot easier than I remember!” Two seconds later, the guardian of Moss Pass punished Brian for his rash remark. With perfect Monty Pythonesque timing, he took one step down and promptly arsed over, sliding a few metres down the steep, loose gut amid a shower of rubble; the guardian exacting a tribute of a little skin and blood. After establishing Brian was ok, they all had a big laugh about it. Talk about cockiness coming before a fall…

Some trampers bag peaks; others bag huts. This was to be a pass-bagging trip: seven passes between 1785 and 1870 metres elevation. The first four days we followed Te Araroa from St Arnaud to the Waiau River, knocking off Travers Saddle and Waiau Pass on the way, then hanging a right to ascend to Lake Thompson. We had chosen day three for our first rest day, ambling up from West Sabine Hut to Blue Lake, arriving at the hut before moderate afternoon rain set in, which became heavy in the evening.

Soon after arriving at Lake Thompson and setting up camp, we were joined by three other trampers who had just come over Thompson Pass.

Day five was to be a toughie. We quickly gained Thompson Pass after breaking camp, and climbed the knob to the southeast, our highest elevation of the trip at 1880m, just eclipsing Waiau Pass. From here we dropped down into the D’Urville basin and started our traverse to D’Urville Pass. This went well, sidling across scree, light grass, and the occasional rocky bit. One of these “rocky bits” just kept getting steeper, necessitating removal of packs and passing them down. We finished off by a shortcut up a broad steepish gully and traverse across and up almost to D’Urville Pass, all on good rock, to avoid a boring scree grunt. This was a challenge, and good fun!

After the obligatory photos at D’Urville Pass, we trudged down the scree to the wee tarn for a snack, and checked out the next stage to David Saddle. There really seemed to be only one way to go: an ascending sidle to pass under a near-vertical rock face. Soon after, we picked up a line of cairns, but they seemed to lead across and down to the Matakitaki, perhaps a shortcut to avoid the steep gully below the tarn which we had ascended in September on good cramponing snow. After a bit of scree and rock scrambling we found ourselves at the notch, at the base of the rock face. From here, a direct traverse took us to David Saddle, where we stopped for a late lunch, about 2:15pm.

Up to this point, we had found the day sufficiently challenging to be interesting and mostly enjoyable, but then it took a turn for the worse. We descended the scree, looking for cairns to the left to indicate a route into the West fork of the D’Urville, which I had followed upwards eight years earlier. Nothing sighted, but Ian found a line of cairns that went down some uncomfortably steep ground towards the D’UrvilleForks.

Decision time; which way to go? We opted for the line of cairns, but soon lost them. We could see a route down, albeit steep, so went on and eventually found ourselves among rough vegetation on the terrace above the main creek. All traces of the trail I had followed eight years earlier had disappeared.

After further descent, we spotted a cairn, then a big orange triangle at the bush edge. The track was initially quite challenging and we had to scout around a bit “Does it seriously go down this steep, slippery creek?” Well yes, it did, but then it got into the bush proper and from there it was plain sailing.

After the trip, I found a recent write up of the new route on routeguides.co.nz. Lesson: don’t assume nothing’s changed; do your homework.

We arrived at Upper D’vUrville Biv at 5:40pm, later than expected, but pressed on to George Lyon Hut, arriving just before 9pm, rapidly running out of energy and daylight! After a dip in the D’Urville, Madeleine was rejuvenated and happily cooked her dinner, apparently none the worse for wear. Frankly, I was just about stuffed!

Day six continued fine, climbing up to Moss Pass in the cool of the morning. We had a pleasant break at the creek just before leaving the bush. Then over Moss Pass, where I met my nemesis, and on down to Blue Lake.

Day seven was our second rest day, just a stroll down to West Sabine Hut, also to recharge before attempting Gunsight, our final pass.

We took a shortcut, following the old Travers Saddle Track and then up the avalanche gully to the bush line. This worked well, and we set off across and up heavily grassed slopes, dotted with spaniards to keep it interesting. Madeleine was often lost to sight when the grass was well over her head. As we gained height, the going became easier; scree and light grass, sidling beneath the occasional rocky bluff, before reaching the steepish 200m gully leading to the pass.

The climb to the pass was quite enjoyable. We stuck to the true left, being half on stable scree and half on stable rock, and frequently on both at once.

After high fives on top, then down on mostly horrible steep scree to a prominent notch close to the Mt Cupola bluffs. We continued down, close under the bluffs, the theory being that the spring avalanches would suppress the spaniards. It went as hoped, but eventually we had to cross a sizable section of spaniard-infested tussock slope which exacted more tribute, and gained Cupola Hut at about 1830. The views of Mt Hopeless in the changing evening light were rewarding, and again in the morning light.

Last day was a pleasant amble down Cupola Creek, followed by hot conditions down the Travers to Coldwater Hut, where we treated ourselves to the 3pm water taxi, having tramped about 130km including over 6000m of climbing (and 6000m of descent!) in nine days.

Participants: Ian Morris, Madeleine Rohrer and Brian Renwick (scribe).


2527 January | South Twin | Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Silvano Lorandi

The Twins are two rocky waves in the sea of green rolling mountains of the Mt. Arthur Range.

They are near the busy Mount Arthur track but have none of Mt Arthur’s busy popularity.

Neglected perhaps, because of their intimidating look, but hidden from view from Mount Arthur, there is a beautiful green ramp to the sky for the pleasure of trampers – the west ridge of the South Twin (1796m) .

It’s accessible from Loveridge or Paddys Ridge in two days with camping or, as we did, a three-day tramp using Ellis Basin Hut as a base.

Six of us set off from Flora car park, up the hill.Descending into the Ellis Basin involves a short, steep section that with mud and wet tussock cannot be underestimated, take care there !

We arrived with no hurry and we were lucky to have the hut for ourselves (for both nights).

I have never seen so little water in the stream.The water doesn’t even form the waterfall below the hut because it disappears in holes along the meadows.

On Saturday, we set off early for what we thought would be the most challenging part of the trip. We got on a lightly-marked track that sidles around the Twins on the south-western side. After approximately one hour on a relatively good track, we emerged from the bush into the karst .

Here we were blessed and cursed by too many cairns marking different routes, so we opted for a low one. However, it was confusing and ended up splitting up the group. On our return we choose a higher option – this was agreed to be better.

After passing through the saddle at 1248m, the slope became steeper. We traversed above cliffs until finally merging into the valley directly south of the peak. We continued on to the main ridge at the start of the west ridge. Feeling summit fever, Andrea sprinted away, while others took it easier After about 15 minutes, we were all on the top of the world on a blue sky day, with endless views.

The return was easier because we knew the tricks of the route but slower because of the intense heat. By the time we reached the hut, all of us had run out of water.

During the night the weather changed to wind and light rain – definitely time to go home.

We were careful in ascending out of the basin. As we reached the ridge, we were hit by the strongest winds I have ever experienced. Suddenly we were thrown to the ground. The wind ripped off my rain cover. So, the real challenge of this trip was escaping the ridge in gale force winds.

We ended up walking four legged, stopping every 50m to regroup, holding each other for support. After a slow battle to gain metres we reached the main track below Mt. Arthur. Here, people were having morning tea in the calm of the bush while we appeared to have come out of a clothes dryer.

We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the bush, returning to our cars and heading home happy after three intense days in the hills shared with a lovely group of people. Thanks.

Participants: Silvano Lorandi (leader & scribe), Andrea Cockerton, Anna Riddiford (new member), Philip Palmer, Gina Andrews (visiting from Wanaka), Myrthe Braam (visitor), and for part of the trip, Liam Sullivan and Brian James.

Times:

  • Nelson to Flora Saddle car park: 1.5 hours
  • Carpark to Ellis Basin Hut: 5 hours
  • Ellis Basin Hut to South Twin: 4.5 hours

2–4 February | Asbestos Cottage–Tableland circuit | Kahurangi Nat Park
Leader: Lawrie Halkett

With  just a party of two, is that a party?

Kelvin and Lawrie  made it to the Flora car park, while there were still some parking spaces!

It was a leisurely walk  under  bright blue skies  to Asbestos Cottage. We stopped at Flora Hut to check all was okay. The hut was looking in great nick, with most graffiti being confined to the wood shed.

At Asbestos Cottage we met an interesting German hiker that has been coming back to NZ  tramping every year since 1986.  Being an astronomer he returns to enjoy our night skies, as well as being a keen bird watcher. It reminded us that tramping is not always about knocking off  huts and taking in the mighty views, but it is also about the interesting people you meet.

Sunday was a scorcher. A slight navigation error meant we climbed up to the Cobb Ridge twice that morning! Hiking along the ridge we thoroughly enjoyed panoramic views in every direction; Cobb Reservoir, Lockett Range, Arthur  Range and the Tableland. A very quick dip in Lake Peel stopped the radiator from boiling over, followed by an amble  down to Balloon Hut.

Monday morning was misty and cooler.  Wandering  through  the Tableland is always a pleasure. We both really enjoyed the excellent beech forest as we descended to Flora Hut. On the way out, we passed a number of family groups, with quite young kids, which augers well for  our forest and mountain lands.

Party of two: Kelvin Drew & Lawrie Halkett. 


17 February | Lake Rotoiti circuit | Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Pat Holland

 



 


It was another sunny morning in Nelson and
the mist was clearing about the tops as we approached St Arnaud. We decided to do the full circuit, rather than a car shuttle across Kerr and West Bays. So off we set, taking about an hour for the road walk to the track start on the Mt Robert Road. The walk along the west side was very pleasant in the cool, calm conditions with pretty views through the beech forest to the sparkling water of the lake. The track was in excellent condition and there were very few wasps although Corrina and Kelvin still managed to get stung.

With lots of chatter, it did not seem long until we were at Whisky Falls. There was still a reasonable flow of water in the creek despite the dry conditions over the past three months. And so, on to Coldwater Hut where there were swans at the jetty and much lounging about in the sun during lunch time.

The Travers River was just a trickle although the crossing still involved wet boots. We had a quick stop at Lakehead Hut and then proceeded back along the east side of the lake. It was pretty much head-down along the forest track as some tiredness was creeping in although the pace was very steady. We stopped at a pebble beach where our intrepid leader had a swim and disturbed a family of pretty, dark-feathered ducks. These were probably Black Teal (scaup) as the ducklings were doing deep dives.

We returned to the vehicles at Kerr Bay in late afternoon, where it was quite crowded with visitors in the delightful weather. Time: 8.5 hours including stops.

Walkers were:

Pat Holland (scribe), Corrina Kagaya, Chris Louth, Kelvin Drew, with visitors Maaike van Hoeflaken, Karen Wardell and Julie Hayward.


1–7 February | Ivory Lake Hut | Waitaha Valley, Westland
Leader: Kate Krawczyk  [PRIVATE TRIP]

Because Nelson Anniversary Day and Waitangi Day were in the same week, it made sense to take the remaining week days off work. But where to go?

Our illustrious president dreamed up an ambitious holiday in the West Coast wilderness. The idea was to take her friends up to the iconic Ivory Lake and chill out for a few days. Mike Glover, who had visited the area twice, volunteered to lead the party on some epic day walks. Then half the Committee added their names to the growing list.

Day One:

After takeways in Reefton, three cars arrived at the new-ish holiday park, just north of Hokitika. We crowded into Leah’s private cabin for a pep talk by the delegated leader, Mike Glover.

Day Two:

Leah did a primo job in providing a cooked breakfast for twelve club members. Plus the usual dollop of Rocky Road chocolate.

We packed an estimated seven days’ worth of food, then drove off to Hokitika Airport to rendezvous with Fletcher, our pilot. He sorted us out into two groups of six. One group flew directly into the bush; the others drove south to a remote farm on the lower Waitaha River flats.

Once aboard the seven-seater Squirrel, we were treated to a spectacular vantage of the three notorious gorges that make progress on foot up the Waitaha such a challenge.

With everybody back on terra firma, we lunched in the sun outside Top Waitaha Hut. After another team talk, Mike led us down to the river, where we ambled along easy river flats to the junction with Reid Creek. Here, we sloshed across, and followed Mike up a near-vertical hill-side, hauling ourselves upward through inpenetrable scrub.

When we recovered from that off-route diversion, a less exhausting journey was made past tarns, sidling high over a hill to avoid a torturous gorge below. Waist-high tussocks were punctuated with nasty speargrass, and festooned with turpentine scrub.

Further up Stag Creek, we heard the hiss and splatter of the waterfalls, well before we saw them. Rounding a corner, we craned our necks upward to our destination, hidden from view. Draining Ivory Lake was the outlet stream, thundering down a granite wall some 30 metres into a viridian pool.

After an age of lounging on the sundrenched rocks, we gingerly crossed the creek, then followed young Wade up a precipitous system of ledges which threaded through the bluffs above. Some of the granite slabs had daunting exposure, and required a good head for heights. Footholds were damp, and small. Handholds were tufts of snowgrass or non-existent.

Cautiously our party gained height, heaving heavy packs and tired bodies upwards. Suddenly we topped out into a spectacular alpine basin. There was the holy grail of hut baggers: the SF70 built by the M.O.W. in 1970, resplendent in it’s red livery, squatting on huge striated slabs of schist.

I dived inside to boil the billy, while others erected tents. Mike led the dunny-diggers outside with a shovel. Being a landscape gardener, Kate outdid them with a superb piece of toilet-design.

I dragged the famed ‘Chair of Glaciology’ outside, its threadbare red fabric beginning to fade, plus a few fold-up seats. We sunned ourselves in the summer heat, drying our wet boots and socks.

At 7:30pm, we gathered inside the hut for Mike’s schedule with the Mountain Radio Service. The voice from the speaker assured us that Sunday would be perfect. It was.

Day 3

By 7:30am, nine keener members had disappeared down into the shadows. By 9am, they were spotted on a rugged spur across the gaping void between us. Hell-bent on reaching Park Dome on the Main Divide of the Southern Alps.

The morning sun kissed the hut. Diedre and Wade decided to climb the bluffs north of the hut to get a good viewpoint. As they climbed to the ridgeline, a flock of kea began squawking at the intrusion of humans into their domain.

Scoping the slopes with his telephoto lens, Ray could no longer see his colleagues, who were making an ardous 1,300-metre ascent. Eventually, encouraged by Mike, most of the party donned crampons to brave the snow traverse along to the top of Park Dome (2340m). They were straddling the Main Divide, with an unimpeded view down into the rugged Whitcombe Valley, and along to Mount Evans. It was time to return to Ivory Lake.

After nine hours on the go, we went inside the hut for another radio sked. The Glovers generously gave bunks to a young trio from Otago who had achieved a nine-hour traverse from Top Tuke Hut. 

Day 4

At 5:30am the Otago lot woke us with their alarm. A more leisurely start saw eleven figures jumping the outlet stream, then picking their way up a ridge west of the hut. Silvano was determined to climb Mt Beaumont, but wisely turned around to join the others, who were less ambitious.

Meanwhile, Ray managed a whopping five minutes of catch-up sleep before a DOC worker burst through the door.

Tonight the radio operator spoke like a seasoned racing commentator, which had us giggling in amusement. After a group discussion, we decided to move down the valley on the morrow.

Day 5

Mist engulfed our alpine abode at 1300m. We packed up mid-morning, carefully descending a spur of shattered rock into the mid-reaches of Stag Creek. I erected some cairns to aid future parties, as we sidled along vertingous slopes.

A straightforward tussock bash led us back over a low saddle into Reid Creek. While snacking riverside, the forecast mizzle had us donning raincoats and heading for the shelter of Top Waitaha Hut. This is a standard SF70 six-bunker, sans fireplace, sans longdrop, sans watertank.

As the rain fell, the twelve of us were crammed inside the spartan hut, laughing at John’s warped humour, and puzzling at his magic trick.

Mike had us laughing our wet socks off with the introduction to ‘Kiwi Golf’. Persistent drizzle saw us bed down early.

Day 6

Wednesday dawned fine, so Mike rallied the troops. Eleven made a casual start up-river, following Reid Creek until it was deeply incised, and a scrub-bash was necessary. Hanging onto vegetation and getting torn by Wild Spaniard was now the new normal. After a lunch break, retreat was ordered.

Alone in the wilderness, I read a book, and photographed the picturesque valley. Clouds raced over the ridges, serrated like a jagged saw. The folded spurs were dissected by narrow scree-filled guts. Car-sized boulders were scattered like dice on the tussock ledges. The ony constant was the rushing of the river to the sea.

In the evening, John spotted a kea nest some 300m above the hut, on top of a buttress. Opposite the hut, a family of four whio ferryglided in an eddy.

Day 7

We awoke to pea-soup mist. Ever the optimist, Mike had faith in the forecast. We cleared the helipad of tents, and packed our gear by 9am, waiting for the familiar ‘whup, whup’ of chopper blades to echo off the valley walls.

Two hours later, we were still waiting. By 11am the cloud had lifted, and patches of blue sky were beginning to appear. Suddenly it arrived, a small Bell helichopper hurtled low over the Waitaha, performing a tight pirouette around the hut. A man emerged, but it wasn’t Fletcher. Our pilot was apparently in Nelson assisting with the forest fires, and had delegated our pick-up to another pilot.

We organised the party to evacuate in three flights of four. Once aboard the chopper, the heinious Windhover Gorge passed beneath us, as the craft manoevred beneath the cloud, winding down the Waitaha. Over Moonbeam Hut, we spotted a crew of DOC track cutters having a smoko break on the helipad.

Once reunited with our vehicles, we sped up to Hokitika Airport to reconvene one last time. Hugs and handshakes all round. We set off for smoky Nelson.

Holiday Hikers were: Silvano Lorandi, Ian Morris, Deidre Mike & Wade Glover, Michele Cunningham, Leah Parker, Peter Phipps, Ray Salisbury (scribe), Graeme Ferrier, John Whibley & Kate Krawczyk.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 December | Tour de Grampians, Nelson 

Leader: Ray Salisbury

 

Starting out from the point of least resistance, in The Brook valley, our humble crew of six Sunday morning ramblers set off up the Access Road.

While the Grampians reserve was not new to the men-folk, it was a great introduction to Nally and Corrina. Our intention was to complete a full circumnavigation of Mount Flaxmore, utilising eight of the numerous tracks.

The summit road was used as a warm-up; this was abandoned for an overgrown, grassy path to gain the saddle with Sugarloaf. A lower section of the Kanuka Track took us up to a higher elevation, whereby we could sidle around the back of Mt Flaxmore. The Kahikatea Track was climbed to top out on the main summit ridgeline. Corrina and Nally were escorted by Kerry to the TV tower and actual summit, while the oldies drank flasks of warm tea at the lookout platform, also drinking in views of Nelson South and the Waimea Plains.

Dropping off down the Mamaku Track, David balanced on his twin trekking poles – recent rain had made the earthen path slippery, but there were no incidents. Philip indicated the junction which joined up with the pleasant Tawa Track, which descended gently towards Nelson city, with glimpses of the Hospital and Boys’ College.

Ronaki Track was a rude awakening, zig-zagging up to regain the main ridgeline. After Ray recovered with more tea-drinking, the Walkway was followed along to the top of the Access Road. This delivered the team back to Blick Terrace in exactly three hours. 

The forecast rain mostly held off, and sunhats were more necessary than raincoats. Members were: David Cook, Philip Palmer & Ray Salisbury (scribe), with guests Nally Yi, Corrina Kagaya & Kerry Jones.

 

16 December 2018 | Maitai Caves, Nelson 

Leader: Sue Henley

 

The weather for Sunday looked promising, my list of participants grew and grew as the week progressed. By Sunday I had 18 names on the list. After initially meeting at Millers Acre, we pooled vehicles and regrouped at the footbridge just before the Maitai Dam.

We meandered along the track for a few minutes before coming to an abrupt stop as some mountain bikers skidded to a halt. After warning the bikers about our rather large group we continued, making our way up and down some gentle inclines, crossed creeks and negotiated mud holes before reaching the caves. We then enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch, including some home baking and Japanese cuisine kindly donated by some of our group. We then made our way back to the cars, stopping along the way for a photo shoot.

  It was a good day with a pleasant easy walk, and a gentle introduction for those wanting to get into tramping.

Participants were: Corrina Kagaya, David Cook  Michele Cunningham, Kelvin Drew, Greg Roe, Kung Gay Cano, Ana Aceves, Karen Wardell, Annette Vartha, Glen Vartha, Emily Vartha, Penny McLeroth, Donna McLeroth, Kate Krawczyk, John Whibley (senior), Clair Quested & Sue Henley (scribe).

 

6 January | Billies Knob, Kahurangi National Park

Leader: Andrea Smith

 

Finally, after several attempts, the weather gods blessed and gave us access to this stunningly beautiful area. The road and ford were easily driven and by all accounts of passing foot traffic, Granity Pass Hut was the des res for the festive season.

As we drove up the road it was difficult to imagine the once bustling Wangapaka Township of 250 residents at Courthouse Flat that sprung up during the gold mining era. Complete, of course, with courthouse and jail –still not a bad view. Maybe those miners were a rowdy lot; they certainly would have been dissatisfied with the pitifully low yields in the area.

We were on official cub business of course, that of tramping. Two hundred metres shy of the altitude of the impressive Mt Owen massif, we still got a grunty workout, with a 1200m climb. It was a beautiful day and the cooling breeze was welcomed. Some of us rekindled the memories of the horrendous bash up  Cullifords Hill a somewhat epic adventure. Today was a garden stroll in comparison!

Some chose different options, so four of us arrived at the summit after around three hours. Grant declared it more of a mountain than a knob. (I recall similar discussions pertaining to Cullifords ‘Hill’ and on descent from Gordons ‘Knob’ (the birth of Knob Bagging) conversation turned  to what constitutes a knob. I muse that NTC members are quite an intellectual group.)

Thank you everyone for your lovely, high-spirited company. Those cheerful souls were: Sue Henley, Grant Derecourt, Graeme Ferrier, Chris Louth, Kath Ballantine and guest Sam Beale

(Scribbled by Andrea.)

 

6 January | Beebys Hut  | Mt Richmond FP

Leader: Kath Ballantine

 

Four trampers set off from the Church steps at 8am on what turned out to be a very hot day in town. 

We arrived at the Beeby’s  Knob car park on the KorereTophouse Rd at 9.15am. It was pleasant walking in the bush in slightly cooler overcast conditions. We reached the ridge track at 12.30pm having had a morning tea stop half way up. We decided to press on to the hut, rather than to Beeby’s Knob as it was very windy at the top. We envisioned having a more pleasant lunch in the hut rather than on the knob.

Situated in a pleasant spot, the hut was a welcome respite from the win. Starting at 1.30pm, we returned, Theresa and Ian making a side trip to the top of Beeby’s  Knob. We arrived back at the car at 4.30pm then returned to Nelson.

Trampers were: Kath Ballantine (scribe), Ian Dohoo, with visitors Theresa Magrane & Kim Eunhee. 

9 January | Pelorus Sound Sail, Marlborough
Skipper: Brian Renwick

 

On a warm, sunny, Wednesday morning, Rod and Carole-Ann Lewis, and Susan and Ian Dohoo joined Brian Renwick aboard his catamaran Canopus for a sail in the Pelorus Sound. Clear skies and light winds saw them using a combination of motor and sail to get out to Waiona Bay (opposite Maud Island). The bay provided a beautiful anchorage as a spot for a communal lunch based on some delicious fried Kahawai that Brian had caught the day before.

Breezes definitely picked up after lunch as the group headed back up the inlet. After clearing the marine reserve around Maud Island, the fishing line was one again put out – netting two more good sized Kahawai for the larder. Really good breezes made for some great sailing in Tawhitinui Reach.

We got back to the the Penzance Bay jetty about 6:00pm. Susan and Ian headed back into town while Rod and Carol-Anne remained on board for the night. All-in-all, it was a beautiful day on Pelorus Sound. (Penned by Ian Dohoo.)

 

21–29 January | Seven Pass trip | Nelson Lakes National Park | Leader: Brian Renwick

 

“This looks a lot easier than I remember!” Two seconds later, the guardian of Moss Pass punished Brian for his rash remark. With perfect Monty Pythonesque timing, he took one step down and promptly arsed over, sliding a few metres down the steep, loose gut amid a shower of rubble; the guardian exacting a tribute of a little skin and blood. After establishing Brian was ok, they all had a big laugh about it. Talk about cockiness coming before a fall…

Some trampers bag peaks; others bag huts. This was to be a pass-bagging trip: seven passes between 1785 and 1870 metres elevation. The first four days we followed Te Araroa from St Arnaud to the Waiau River, knocking off Travers Saddle and Waiau Pass on the way, then hanging a right to ascend to Lake Thompson. We had chosen day three for our first rest day, ambling up from West Sabine Hut to Blue Lake, arriving at the hut before moderate afternoon rain set in, which became heavy in the evening.

Soon after arriving at Lake Thompson and setting up camp, we were joined by three other trampers who had just come over Thompson Pass.

Day five was to be a toughie. We quickly gained Thompson Pass after breaking camp, and climbed the knob to the southeast, our highest elevation of the trip at 1880m, just eclipsing Waiau Pass. From here we dropped down into the D’Urville basin and started our traverse to D’Urville Pass. This went well, sidling across scree, light grass, and the occasional rocky bit. One of these “rocky bits” just kept getting steeper, necessitating removal of packs and passing them down. We finished off by a shortcut up a broad steepish gully and traverse across and up almost to D’Urville Pass, all on good rock, to avoid a boring scree grunt. This was a challenge, and good fun!

After the obligatory photos at D’Urville Pass, we trudged down the scree to the wee tarn for a snack, and checked out the next stage to David Saddle. There really seemed to be only one way to go: an ascending sidle to pass under a near-vertical rock face. Soon after, we picked up a line of cairns, but they seemed to lead across and down to the Matakitaki, perhaps a shortcut to avoid the steep gully below the tarn which we had ascended in September on good cramponing snow. After a bit of scree and rock scrambling we found ourselves at the notch, at the base of the rock face. From here, a direct traverse took us to David Saddle, where we stopped for a late lunch, about 2:15pm.

Up to this point, we had found the day sufficiently challenging to be interesting and mostly enjoyable, but then it took a turn for the worse. We descended the scree, looking for cairns to the left to indicate a route into the West fork of the D’Urville, which I had followed upwards eight years earlier. Nothing sighted, but Ian found a line of cairns that went down some uncomfortably steep ground towards the D’UrvilleForks.

Decision time; which way to go? We opted for the line of cairns, but soon lost them. We could see a route down, albeit steep, so went on and eventually found ourselves among rough vegetation on the terrace above the main creek. All traces of the trail I had followed eight years earlier had disappeared.

After further descent, we spotted a cairn, then a big orange triangle at the bush edge. The track was initially quite challenging and we had to scout around a bit “Does it seriously go down this steep, slippery creek?” Well yes, it did, but then it got into the bush proper and from there it was plain sailing.

After the trip, I found a recent write up of the new route on routeguides.co.nz. Lesson: don’t assume nothing’s changed; do your homework.

We arrived at Upper D’vUrville Biv at 5:40pm, later than expected, but pressed on to George Lyon Hut, arriving just before 9pm, rapidly running out of energy and daylight! After a dip in the D’Urville, Madeleine was rejuvenated and happily cooked her dinner, apparently none the worse for wear. Frankly, I was just about stuffed!

Day six continued fine, climbing up to Moss Pass in the cool of the morning. We had a pleasant break at the creek just before leaving the bush. Then over Moss Pass, where I met my nemesis, and on down to Blue Lake.

Day seven was our second rest day, just a stroll down to West Sabine Hut, also to recharge before attempting Gunsight, our final pass.

We took a shortcut, following the old Travers Saddle Track and then up the avalanche gully to the bush line. This worked well, and we set off across and up heavily grassed slopes, dotted with spaniards to keep it interesting. Madeleine was often lost to sight when the grass was well over her head. As we gained height, the going became easier; scree and light grass, sidling beneath the occasional rocky bluff, before reaching the steepish 200m gully leading to the pass.

The climb to the pass was quite enjoyable. We stuck to the true left, being half on stable scree and half on stable rock, and frequently on both at once. 

After high fives on top, then down on mostly horrible steep scree to a prominent notch close to the Mt Cupola bluffs. We continued down, close under the bluffs, the theory being that the spring avalanches would suppress the spaniards. It went as hoped, but eventually we had to cross a sizable section of spaniard-infested tussock slope which exacted more tribute, and gained Cupola Hut at about 1830. The views of Mt Hopeless in the changing evening light were rewarding, and again in the morning light.

Last day was a pleasant amble down Cupola Creek, followed by hot conditions down the Travers to Coldwater Hut, where we treated ourselves to the 3pm water taxi, having tramped about 130km including over 6000m of climbing (and 6000m of descent!) in nine days.

 

Participants: Ian Morris, Madeleine Rohrer and Brian Renwick (scribe).

25-27 January | South Twin | Kahurangi National 

Park | Leader: Silvano Lorandi

 

The Twins are two rocky waves in the sea of green rolling mountains of the Mt. Arthur Range.

They are near the busy Mount Arthur track but have none of Mt Arthur’s busy popularity.

Neglected perhaps, because of their intimidating look, but hidden from view from Mount Arthur, there is a beautiful green ramp to the sky for the pleasure of trampers – the west ridge of the South Twin (1796m) .

It’s accessible from Loveridge or Paddys Ridge in two days with camping or, as we did, a three-day tramp using Ellis Basin Hut as a base.

Six of us set off from Flora car park, up the hill.Descending into the Ellis Basin involves a short, steep section that with mud and wet tussock cannot be underestimated, take care there !

We arrived with no hurry and we were lucky to have the hut for ourselves (for both nights).

I have never seen so little water in the stream.The water doesn’t even form the waterfall below the hut because it disappears in holes along the meadows. 

On Saturday, we set off early for what we thought would be the most challenging part of the trip. We got on a lightly-marked track that sidles around the Twins on the south-western side. After approximately one hour on a relatively good track, we emerged from the bush into the karst .

Here we were blessed and cursed by too many cairns marking different routes, so we opted for a low one. However, it was confusing and ended up splitting up the group. On our return we choose a higher option – this was agreed to be better.

After passing through the saddle at 1248m, the slope became steeper. We traversed above cliffs until finally merging into the valley directly south of the peak. We continued on to the main ridge at the start of the west ridge. Feeling summit fever, Andrea sprinted away, while others took it easier After about 15 minutes, we were all on the top of the world on a blue sky day, with endless views.

The return was easier because we knew the tricks of the route but slower because of the intense heat. By the time we reached the hut, all of us had run out of water.

During the night the weather changed to wind and light rain – definitely time to go home.

We were careful in ascending out of the basin. As we reached the ridge, we were hit by the strongest winds I have ever experienced. Suddenly we were thrown to the ground. The wind ripped off my rain cover. So, the real challenge of this trip was escaping the ridge in gale force winds.

We ended up walking four legged, stopping every 50m to regroup, holding each other for support. After a slow battle to gain metres we reached the main track below Mt. Arthur. Here, people were having morning tea in the calm of the bush while we appeared to have come out of a clothes dryer. 

We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the bush, returning to our cars and heading home happy after three intense days in the hills shared with a lovely group of people. Thanks.

 

Participants: Silvano Lorandi (leader & scribe), Andrea Cockerton, Anna Riddiford (new member), Philip Palmer, Gina Andrews (visiting from Wanaka), Myrthe Braam (visitor), and for part of the trip, Liam Sullivan and Brian James.

Times:

 Nelson to Flora Saddle car park: 1.5 hours

 Carpark to Ellis Basin Hut: 5 hours

 Ellis Basin Hut to South Twin: 4.5 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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