Newsletter, February 2009

Welcome to new member: Gail Malinosky

UPCOMING CLUBNIGHT: Monday 6 April 2009 (Put it in your diary!)
Show & Tell Club Night

In view of the interest shown at the last “Show and Tell” evening the committee have scheduled another opportunity for you to bring along a few slides or DVD photos of trips you’ve done which you think may be of interest to others. Many members have good photographic records of some really interesting trips, and this is your chance to tell us, and show us, about those trips, or simply to come along and watch and listen. Generally the presentations will be of about five minutes each covering, say, ten slides. There will be a chance for questions and comments during the time it takes the next presenter to set up their slides.

Contact Lawrie (Ph 5444096 or email ) by 25 March to book your slot.

Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street, 7.30 pm, gold coin admission. Pat Holland Ph 5391340

Club Night 9 February 2009.

Dirk de Groot gave twenty five members and guests the opportunity to have an insight into some back country China as he shared his 2007 cycling trip starting in Nanning, gateway to South West China. Facing the North Vietnamese border, the area was a fascinating mix of modernity, with even young children having up to date cell phones, and rough and ready basic living conditions. The photos of the hills in the area were reminiscent of classic Chinese paintings and etchings. The massive road works as the new highway was being put in, and the many sights evocative of a society of contrasts, generated a great deal of interest and later discussion. Thank you, Dirk, for an entertaining and educational evening.

PS. Your surplus and unused gear may be of use to someone else, so bring it along for the Club Night “Sale Table”


Possum Control on and around Mount Arthur

An aerial 1080 operation covering approximately 15000ha.of river valleys, mid to high altitude beech forest and alpine tussock tops will take place between mid April and mid June 2009. The area being treated extends, on the western boundary, from Mt Gomorrah in the south to Mt McMahon in the north, along the top of the Arthur Range. The eastern boundary is generally the eastern edge of the Kahurangi National Park.

As with any 1080 treated areas the following rules should be followed to eliminate risks.

  • Do not handle any bait.
  • Do not allow children to wander unsupervised.
  • Do not bring dogs into the area.
  • Do not take animals for eating until the caution period lapses (4 months, or 2 months and 100mm rain)

NZ Food Safety Authority does not allow the sale of game meat from within 2km (for deer) or 5km (for pigs) from any poison operation.
Warning signs will be in place at access points and remain in place while toxic baits are present.

Hints on Safety

After 1 February 2009, the only distress beacon frequency monitored by satellite will be 406MHz. If you have one of the old style PLBs you should take it to the NZ Police for disposal.

Also on Safety

For up to date information go to DoC website . phone DoC 03 5469335, or call in to their offices.

Extracts from FMC Newsletter February 2009

St James Conservation Area

Your FMC Executive has made a submission to DoC on the management of outdoor recreation in the St James Conservation Area. It recognizes its high potential for remote tramping and climbing and supports managing the St James Walkway as a low-key tramping experience with new camping areas at the trail ends. FMC also recognizes the potential for other carefully managed outdoor activities in the eastern sector such as horse riding, four wheel driving, and mountain biking. Inclusion of the area into the Lewis Park National Reserve is favoured, with integration of recreation in the eastern area being linked to recreation planning in Molesworth.

Molesworth Conservation Area

FMC Executive member Tony Haddon has met with other recreational interest groups and members of the Molesworth Management Committee to progress how to improve the recreational opportunities in the conservation area. Your FMC Executive will be preparing a submission and welcomes recommendations from individuals and member clubs. Contact:

Mokihinui – Lyell: Track and Hut Proposals
… also see below re “Old Ghost Road”

A submission to the Buller District Council has been prepared by Executive member Quentin Duthie in support of proposals by a local Trust for the development of old mining walking trails in the Mokihinui-Lyell area on the West Coast. The first project is to clear and restore the Lyell dray-road for walkers and mountain bikers. DoC has agreed to allow a helipad on the saddle. In addition, the Trust has begun marking a route down the South Branch of the Mokihinui River. The second stage plan is for two, 6-bunk, huts on the saddle, and a tramping track down the South Branch to the Mokihinui Forks Hut. The huts will be built and maintained by the Trust, open to the public and administered under the DoC hut fee system.

Tenure Review Progress

Submissions are currently being prepared for Braemar Station near Lake Pukaki, Riverslea and Shingley Creek and the branches in the Upper Shotover. Your FMC is also involved in preliminary assessments of other leasehold properties entering the tenure review process. These include: Emerald Hills (Rock & Pillar Range), Cluden (Dunstan Mts), and Cambrian Hills (St Bathans). The current review of the Mt Gladstone Lease has raised issues regarding the future of the Hodder Huts and public access to Mt Tapuae o Uenuku and your FMC will be monitoring this closely. If you have any access or conservation issues to be addressed, please contact:

Mountain Safety Council EPIRB Research

The MSC is conducting important research into public awareness about the new generation of emergency personal locator beacons that became operational this year. You are invited to participate in a short online survey that will take approximately five minutes to complete. If you would like to participate in the survey, please click on the link below: (Please cut and paste this link into your web browser if the link doesn’t automatically take you to the start of the survey).

FMC 2009 AGM

A reminder that this is being held at the Brentwood Motel, Wellington, on Saturday 20 June 2009 and that nominations and notices of motion must be lodged with the Secretary by 30 April 2009. Members and representatives of Clubs from outside Wellington are also reminded to make any accommodation bookings as soon as possible. (Ph 04 920 0400, or e-mail

“The Old Ghost Road”
Marion Boatwright, Chairman of the Mokihinui - Lyell Backcountry Trust.

We are engaged in an effort to reinstate the old gold mining pack track from Lyell to Seddonville as a tramping track for this and future generations. We're calling the proposed track "The Old Ghost Road". We are at the stage of the project where we, and DoC, are eager to collect feedback from stakeholders ... you, for instance. We certainly recognize the issues in re-establishing access to this amazing corner of The Coast. Hence our commitment and determination to proceed only in the most thoughtful way possible. That's where you come in! Our vision for the project evolves with each thoughtful stakeholder conversation. We do believe we're closing in on a gentle, staged approach with broad appeal. We've also carefully defined the scope of our Trust ... For more information, or a copy of the Trust document, contact or Ph 03 782133

Topo50 Map Series Project

The Topo50 Map Series project will produce a 1:50,000 scale map series to replace the current Topographic NZMS260 map series. The new national map series will be launched in September 2009. Go to for full details.

At Basecamp we have a supply of the NZMS260 topo maps covering the top of the South Island which are now available to Club members at $7.50 each, so here is an opportunity to fill in some gaps in your map collection. Contact details as per the Editor’s Comment section.

Contributions from Club Members

A Slip on North Twin, Monday 29 December 2008
Margot Syms

Start of day: Ellis Basin Hut, 6.00am, another perfect day. With anticipation the four of us breakfast before leaving on a day trip to “have a look at North Twin”.

End of day: Nelson Hospital, some late hour. I drowsily come to in the orthopaedic ward with an ankle full of metalwork.

We looked at North Twin and flagged it not too far from the top and set off back towards the little swampy basin.

What I did wrong: Misjudged a steep grassy slope, slipped and accelerated (none of this slow motion theory) into a wee cave, about six metres below. One leg broke my fall, and the fall broke the leg.

Where I was lucky: The cave had a sloping earth floor with a lower opening for easy exit. No part of my body touched rock.

What we did right: We worked as a team. I held booted foot in the correct position helped by a crude splint. Husband Peter comforted me emotionally, mentally and physically. Ex head ranger Peter organised all with his experience, his cell phone and an efficient outside world. Friend Brian provided support and wore my rescue-orange parka on the best chopper perch. Rescue team did a marvellous job.

The Irony 1: I was inside Nelson Hospital in under two hours from the ill-fated step, while my elderly hospital ward mate, who fell and broke her hip alone in her kitchen in central Nelson one evening, took sixteen hours.

The Irony 2: A couple of hours before said ill-fated step, I had told the team that I was going to write a private trip account for the Club Newsletter. The envisaged theme bore little resemblance to this.

Strongest emotion: Gratitude to others.

Suggestions: Take a cell phone in case you have a mishap in sight of a “Mt Campbell”. Take a beacon for when it happens down in the valley. Don’t be mean when the annual Summit Rescue Helicopter appeal hits your letter box.

So if you are on an easy track later in the year and you see a “little old lady with sticks” ahead, pause as you pass and take a look. She may be a motivated acquaintance.

PS Thanks to all the club members who visited me in hospital. It was great to see you.

Offer from Ruth Hesselyn
Olive Oil : Great 'End of Summer' special.
Our 2007 Frog's End Blend for $20 per litre with your own sterilised and dry container. Otherwise, $30 per litre with container provided. phone Rae on 544 0570

Private trip 11- 14 January 2009 Mt Adams - 2208m
Scribe: Mike Drake

Cancelled, delayed, delayed, then all go. The trials and tribulations of trying to catch a weather window on the West Coast, to ensure more than white is seen from the top! Water was the other issue - would there be too much in Dry Creek, and where would we find water at base camp?

Sunday night found us in the Hari Hari Motor Inn bar, carbo loading and hydrating. We opted for accommodation away from the sandflies, mozzies, and having dry tents in the morning. Morning brought cloud cover, but we were here, and confident that the cloud ceiling was low and that this would be repeated tomorrow on our summit bid and we'd be above it.

Walking started after a short ride up a farm track north of Dry Creek. A walk across a paddock, then through bush brought us to Dry Creek, and it was anything but dry. The second crossing had us all wet to above our waists. After two hours of boulder hopping, following side creeks and tracks found us at the start of the Spur. Here we left our soggy boots and socks and on with mountaineering boots.

Another treat was in store - hauling on tree roots and twisting and turning to disentangle heavy packs with axes and crampons through the West Coast bush. A steeper section was assisted with old wire rope. After three hours we made the bushline.

Our plan was flexible – camp near water. We carried extra water, but not enough for hydrating, dinner and breakfast. At the first camping spot at 1545m there was no water. We headed on up, aware of another camp at approximately 1700m. Nearing the campsite our first accessible snow appeared. The campsite was perfect - a dried-up tarn in a rocky hollow, with access to water below. With a number of mugs of tea under our belt, followed by Ruth's gourmet meal, we watched the sun disappear and patches of coast appear as the cloud dispersed.

The following day we made the summit by 08:45 after climbing for 2 ¼ hours mostly on loose rock and scree. Crampons were used for a short distance and the summit was reached by scrambling and climbing up more loose rock. The insignificant summit is offset by spectacular views of the West Coast, Mt Cook and a panorama of mountainscape. Cloud masked some mountain views and parts of the West Coast, but we were far from disappointed.

Back at camp it was decision time. Do we stay another night and enjoy peace and tranquillity of our terraced campsite with stunning views, or head on down, back through the mist, to the hustle and bustle of Hari Hari and beyond. We headed down, arriving at the Hari Hari Motor Inn well past dinner time. After some sweet talking by Mark, fish-of-the-day was accepted instead of pizza, and it would be ready shortly – no time to shower. On the go for fourteen hours, sliding down muddy slopes and crossing waist deep water didn't enhance our appearance for the bar. The barman said we would blend-in, no problem, and we did! Thanks again to Ruth for finding the elusive weather window and thanks Ruth and Mark for an enjoyable trip.

 Editor’s Comment. On the Trail of Hut Etiquette

A wide range of travellers use the huts and, as such, etiquette is very important. Visitors to the huts are asked to respect other users, and to ‘squash up’ to make room for everyone who arrives. You should not stay longer than 2-3 nights in any one hut – they are intended as temporary shelters for trampers, not long-term lodgings!

When using a hut, please:

  • Sign the hut book on arrival and departure.
  • Respect the comfort of other occupants, and assist in keeping the hut clean and tidy.
  • Note the location of the fire extinguisher and how to use it. Note the locations of the fire exits and be familiar with any hut fire plan posted on the wall.
  • Bury toilet waste. If there are toilet facilities nearby then use them, if not bury your toilet waste in a shallow hole well away from waterways, tracks, campsites and huts.
  • In huts where a warden is present, give him or her your fullest cooperation. Any occupant not behaving in a responsible manner may be directed by the warden or a Department of Conservation Officer to leave the hut.
  • Before leaving a hut, please:

    • See that no perishable food is left behind either in cupboards or outside the hut as rats, mice and flies will be attracted to any free meal you leave them.

    • Carry out your rubbish. Do not leave any rubbish behind when in the wilderness, instead carry it all out. Do not burn your plastic waste as some types will create ozone harming gases.
    Litter is unattractive, can be harmful to wildlife and can increase vermin and disease.

    • Leave ample firewood for the next party. Cut no live trees. Securely fasten all doors and windows.

    • Check that all fires are extinguished.

    • Sweep floors, clean benches, prop up mattresses.

    • If on private land, respect the Run holder’s property - do not disturb stock - leave gates as found.

Contributions and comments to the Editor, Hec Arbuthnott by email fax to 548 1710, mail to 10 Wiltshire Place, Stoke or hand in to Basecamp at 295 Trafalgar Street. NELSON.

REMINDER: Club members receive a 10% discount from Basecamp, Altitude and Rollo’s