Newsletter, April 2004


Welcome to new members: Christine Hoy, Gillian and Hec Arbuthnott, and Roger McMichael. We look forward to your company on our trips and also at our clubnights.

14 June 2004 - Sherp Tucker, SAR Co-ordinator, will speak about search & rescue operations in the Nelson area.
2 August 2004 - Andy Clark, will give a slide show on his walk of the Appalachian Trail, USA.

Queen’s Birthday Weekend Tramp at Mangarakau Swamp, Westhaven Inlet
Stay at Field Centre House, $10 per person per night and experience this largest remaining wetland in the Nelson/Marlborough region. Area has good tracks and you can also go off-track (bring gumboots or jandals for this). Climb Knuckle Hill for panoramic views, walk exhilirating west coast beach at Paturau. NOTE: The Field Centre House must be booked in advance, so contact Uta (545 0280) by 14 May if you are interested.

Gift: The Club has been gifted a 2-3 person Great Outdoors tent plus an ice axe. These had belonged to Lein Jobse and were kindly offered to us by Presbyterian Support who were aware of Lein’s love of tramping and his long-standing association with the Club. We are very appreciative of this gift.

New locator beacon: We recently applied for and received a grant to enable us to purchase a third locator beacon. As the Club now typically runs two tramps each weekend, we decided it would be prudent to acquire a third beacon for the longer club trips or private trips. The New Zealand Community Trust has kindly provided the $299 grant. Many thanks to Gretchen for initiating and processing the grant application.
Note: We strongly recommend that people doing private trips take a locator beacon with them. See Jim Maxwell.

You will have noticed in the last Newsletter that new members are to be supplied with the "Safety in the Mountains" booklet. You will notice on the back of the new Trip Programme a disclaimer by the Club. Although at all times trip organisers and experienced members will endeavour to help new members through any difficulties, ultimately everyone is responsible for the risks they take, and must assess them in the light of their own knowledge and experience. If you have not studied the "Safety in the Mountains" booklet, you should. Obtain your own copy through the Club or direct from the FMC on the order form in their magazine.

Our first two months under our new scheme are nearly over, and against all expectations we finally managed to schedule two tramps each weekend, although the day trips at Easter did not make the programme in time and had to be advertised through the Leader. Thank you to all those who volunteered or agreed to organise trips when asked. A couple of the trips were a little thin on the ground but the vast majority were well supported, which was very rewarding. I hope you are all getting the kind of tramps that you want. Remember, if there is a trip you would like to do, tell me. You won't be forced to organise it - only "leaned on". Again, thanks to everyone for their support.

Trip Gradings: We refined our trip gradings to four levels with a description of the expectations for each. Even so, any description is a bit vague and means different things to different people. Consequently wherever possible in the Trip Programme I am giving the distance to be covered, the distance to be climbed, and the track conditions. These are the three factors that have most influence on the degree of difficulty. I urge you to study these details and relate them to the tramps you do. With practice this will enable you to make your own assessment of the levels you are most comfortable with, and choose your trips accordingly. Our database is currently less than perfect, but with party organisers' feedback we will keep improving it.

Transport Donation: Note the description. It emphasises that we are not organising a fare-paying passenger transport service, but simply calculating what we consider a fair share of costs for car-pooling. In order to include a definite figure in our Trip Programme we have had to make some assumptions, and they are:

1. The rate per kilometre used will be the latest annual running cost figures published by the AA for a vehicle over 2000cc.
2. The cost will be spread over an average of three persons per vehicle.
3. There will be a loading of 50% for kilometres traveled on gravel roads.
4. The result will be rounded to the nearest dollar.
5. The total donations will be divided evenly among the drivers on each trip.

This will result in some "overs and unders" for drivers on each trip, but we believe this will be minor and average out fairly in the long run. The new figures have been applied for the enclosed Trip Programme.

At the April Clubnight, (attended by almost 50 people), we had an excellent Powerpoint presentation by Uta on her trekking adventure in Garhwal, the Indian Himalayas. Being a perceptive, inquiring and competent person, Uta treated us with beautiful photos as well as informative and interesting commentary. Thank you, Uta!

Mark Graesser has done a wonderful job developing our website and would now like to include photos in the “photo gallery” page. So, if you have a few really good tramping photos, please email them (in compressed form) to Mark at Do look at our website:

The shortest day occurs during our next trip programme, on 21 or 22 June. To some people that signifies we are entering the depths of winter, and they stop tramping. Consider a few facts.
On the shortest day there are 91/4 hours between sunrise and sunset. The daylight lasts longer than that. Plenty of time for a tramp.

We get more sunshine hours than wet hours even in winter.

All year you carry certain things in case of emergency - parka, overtrousers, longjohns, warm jersey, gloves, hat - or at least you should, just in case. Winter gives you the chance to put them on - that's what they are for!

If you keep tramping through winter you will be fit and ready for those spring tramps. No starting again!
So, get out and get tramping, despite the shorter days.

Jim Maxwell recommends: PSP spinnaker repair tape for a neat seam sealer or repair patch for nylon parkas. It is very thin and flexible and in several colours. $15.95 for a 50mm x 4.5m roll. At Burnsco Marine.

“THE OTHER SIDE OF EVEREST” - By John Gully, with slides by Daron Graham.
Fairfield House, Friday 11 June at 7.30pm. Admission $10. A fundraiser for “Friends of Tibet”.
Hear John talk about his involvement with the mountain and his commitment to Sherpa culture. John has managed expeditions by Lydia Bradley, Peter Hillary, Rob Hall and Gary Ball, organised the removal of vast amounts of rubbish from Everest Base Camp with his Youth for Everest programme and now runs a successful trekking company.