Newsletter, June 2004


A very warm welcome to new members: Ricky Harris, Hisa Matsuo, Shirley Arnst, and Rosemary McCallum.
UPCOMING CLUBNIGHTS(Note in your diary!)

2 August 2004 - "Yak-less in Bhutan". A slideshow by Uta of her three week trekking adventure.
4 October 2004 - Andy Clark, will give a slide show on his walk of the Appalachian Trail, USA.

JUNE CLUBNIGHT: Many thanks to Ian Watts for an excellent talk on Search & Rescue in Nelson, including details of the incredible rescue of two young men last year up on Rintoul. Sherp Tucker was unavailable for this scheduled talk and we are very grateful to Ian for his willingness to step in at the last minute and help us out.

HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY! Yes, we are now 70 years old! Seventy years ago, on 17 June 1934, 40 people undertook the first tramp of the Nelson Tramping Club, going “up the Dun Line and round the bush track over Jenkins Hill”. A familiar trip for many current Club members but I wonder how different were the scenery, the bush, even the attitudes of the people on that trip. They certainly had different attire: trousers, shirts and jackets for the men – perhaps not too wildly different from today - but for many of the ladies SKIRTS! And of course no high-tech packs, just big floppy looking rucksacks (a bit like those things you like to carry, Jim!). The first “overnighter” was in August 1934, to Mt Arthur. Fifteen members motored to the Graham Valley and took 3 hours to walk to the Flora Huts (note huts plural – male and female quarters). The following day the party got to a height of 4,300ft, surrounded by snow, and unable to proceed further due to the mountain top being enveloped in a snowstorm. The Nelson Evening Mail reported that “although no peak was conquered, valuable experience was gained. Those members will benefit greatly by the training for without first hand knowledge of such conditions, future trips of this kind would be more difficult”. Very true! It seems the Nelson Evening Mail published a substantial report of each weekend’s tramp, which today provides us with a very handy historical record (take note all you trip report writers!).

Trips: Unfortunately some cancellations lately because of bad weather, but those trips that have taken place have been well supported. On several weekends we have had over twenty people out on the tracks. We had the first (unplanned) "snow trip" of the season at Mt Luna at Queens Birthday. Our new programme shows several more - on the basis that even if half them have to be canceled we will still have a good serving for those who want to experience winter in high places. There are still plenty of trips for lowlanders.

Organisers: Thanks to all those who have agreed to organise trips on the new programme. Again we have managed two each weekend, including a combined level trip on 24-25 July. The exception is on 28 August, when we hope our "Big Guns" will mingle with the minnows on an Open Day easy walk to celebrate 70 years of the Nelson Tramping Club. I am now filling in the weekends from September to December and already have quite a few in place. Don't be too shy to tell me what you would like to see, or even organise.

Christmas/New Year Holiday Trip: If anyone would like to do and plan (or help to plan) an extended Club trip of several days, perhaps outside the Home Turf, I will certainly help you plan and publicise it. It would be best to at least announce it in the next Newsletter.

Grading: Inevitably some trips hover around the fringes of two grades and their classification is debatable. Some of the trips have been graded from past recollections (always a bit unreliable) and could be inappropriate. In time we should correct any mistakes, but this is dependent on feedback from our Organisers; please let me know whenever a change is needed.

We grade tramps, not trampers. It is up to the individual to assess what they can do. Most people will find that they can comfortably tramp across two grades at least. Just remember that if you normally tramp at grade 3, for example, and you decide to do a tramp at grade 2, you may be tramping with people who cannot match your fitness and ability. Adapt yourself to the lower level. Do not tear off and leave them feeling embarrassed or unwanted. On the other hand, if you find someone has over-rated themselves and is struggling in a grade too high, be sympathetic and helpful the first time they make that mistake. Tramping in a Club is a social activity as well as exercise and adventure in the great outdoors.

Training: The Committee would like to offer members the opportunity to receive training in areas of vital interest for trampers, for example: bushcraft, leadership, river crossings, first aid. Training may be organised inhouse or may be formal courses held by FMC or other organisations. At the moment we are looking at initial feedback from members on what training YOU would like – let a committee member know! Notification of training/courses will be given.

A new committee for the 2005 year will be elected at the November AGM. Nominations must be received prior to the AGM – further details will be published in the August Newsletter. If you are interested in becoming a committee member, talk to a current member to find out more or alternatively come along to a committee meeting. Committee members of clubs typically feel that by contributing to their respective club, they actually get more out of their club. Also, clubs benefit from having a large pool of people contributing and providing fresh viewpoints.

The Club has 3 beacons and they are available for private trips (though Club trips have precedence). A member sent in a newspaper article on a couple who got to test their own beacon when the man dislocated his shoulder in the Taipo Valley. Their comment of “it’s really worth it” is a good reminder.

1. Pests in Parks: Pigs. Many people are reporting increases in pig numbers to DoC but they don't seem to believe it. If you see pigs or fresh pig rooting, report it to DoC.
Other Feral Animals. Report any sighting of deer, goats, stoats or ferrets, wild cats, wasp nests to DoC.
Dogs. The last friendly weka at Kerr Bay, St Arnaud, was killed by a dog that had just been let out of a car. 
Kerr Bay and West Bay are parts of a National Park and dogs are prohibited there - not allowed in the bush, on the foreshore, in boats or even in cars. If you see anyone with a dog there, point out to them that there are signs prohibiting dogs. If they give you two fingers or similar come-uppance, try to get their car number and report it to DoC. We don't want to see the newly released kiwi go the way of the last weka.
2. Pests in Town: If you are troubled by possums, stoats, wild cats etc. around your property, contact the Tasman District Council. They can advise you and may even be able to help you with traps. They also manage pest control in Nelson City under a joint management plan.

From: Safety in the Mountains Field Guide

You never have to cross a river.
Moving water can shift a person long before floating occurs. Think: have you found a suitable crossing place?
· Are there good exit points?
· Would you be able to backout; is there safe runout, and suitable recovery area in case footing is lost?
· Can you see the bottom? No holes,snags, or large boulders.
· How fast is the water flowing? Not faster than walking pace.
· Is the river swollen? Not discoloured, no floating debris, no sound of rocks rolling.
· Are you fully experienced in the skills needed?
River Crossing:
· Keep boots on, remove baggy clothing. Pack gear in plastic bags.
Crossing with mutual support:
· Strongest experienced person upstream; weaker members downstream.
· Move into the river under command of upstream person
· Keep party parallel to the current.
· Shuffle feet, maintain as many feet as possible on river bottom.
· If crossing too difficult, retreat by backing out.
Pack Strap Method:- * Undo chest strap
* Reach behind adjacent people’s backs, grasp far packstrap (or clothing if no pack)
Pole Method:- * Use a strong pole (held in front at hip/waist level). * Link arms before grasping the pole.
Solo Crossing:
· Use a strong pole (e.g. 2 metres x 5cm) and hold diagonally into the river bed, about 1 metre upstream.
· Use as a third leg, to ensure two points of contact when moving.
Safety in the Mountains Field Guides: These can be purchased from the Club ($3.50). Strongly recommended. 

This has to be the simplest way to adapt a basic Silva compass to use grid bearings without having to convert to magnetic every time they are used. Align the N mark on the "adjustable dial" with the index line and draw a mark with a permanent marker pen adjacent to the 23 degree (magnetic variation for Nelson) position on top of the baseplate. When a grid bearing is set to this new mark the "direction of travel" arrow will point in the direction of this bearing when the compass is used in the normal way. Foolproof! 

· The new 24-bunk Upper Travers hut was opened during Anzac weekend. It replaces a smaller 43-year old hut which was at risk of being hit by an avalanche.
· Warning: thieves/vandals have recently been active in carparks in Lewis Pass area including Rahu Saddle.
· The licentious, er um sorry, Licentiate Peter Wise is no longer a Licentiate, but an Associate of the Photographic Society of NZ. Well done, Peter! Another rung up the ladder of photographic importance….
· For the politically correct: Trampers do not “get lost”, they “investigate alternative destinations” !