Trip Reports: September 2003

31 May – 2 June 2003: Hopeless Hut / Angelus / Cascade Leader: Roger Bruce

Day 1: Mt Robert Carpark to Hopeless Hut
With an average weather forecast, a party of 12 set off from the Richmond YMCA bound for Nelsonn Lakes National Park. Signing in at DOC headquarters and up to Mt Robert Carpark, we set off up the west side of the lake at 9.15am, bound for Coldwater Hut where a short snack and drink break was taken. We set off up the Travers Valley, stopping at the swing bridge across the Travers River for another short break, then on up the valley to the Hopeless Creeek turnoff and up through the bush to the Hopeless Hut, arriving at 4pm. (Hopeless Hut was opened by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1967.) All those who had tents to pitch did remarkably well considering the difficult terrain! After settling in we were joined by four other trampers for the night and after dinner some of us played euchre, which was a new and challenging experience for some and we had a great laugh!
Day 2: Hopeless Hut to Angelus Hut
After a leisurely start, we headed up to Sunset Pass. The first part of the journey was through native bush and up a scree slope, with many taking different routes. After reaching the tarm we had a well-deserved tea break. The day was misty with a very strong cold south-westerly blowing. We travelled onwards and upwards through patches of snow alth9ugh none of these required us to use our ice axes. The weather continued to be cold and the wind strong and blustery. 500m from the Pass, out of the low cloud and fog, emerged 12 members of the Wellington Tramping Club! After a brief conversation, we continued on our way up and over the Pass. We travelled on and down past the tarm until we met the Angelus, Mount Cedric Sabine track, arriving at the hut at 2pm, to a warm atmosphere as the hut was occupied by others. Only one member of the party decided to spend the night in his tent, with everyone else preferring the warmth and shelter of the hut. That night we had another game of euchre, with much table talk and more laughs.
Day 3: Angelus Hut to Mt Robert Carpark
The day dawned with strong cold southerlies still blowing and mist and fog covering the tops. Due to weathr conditions, the decision was made to forgo going down the Mt Robert Ridge, choosing the sheltered optio of the Cascade. After an uneventful trip down the Cascade, we arrived at the bridge over the Hukere, where we once again met the members of the Wellington Tramping Club and in one large party we descended to Coldwater Hut arriving at midday for lunch. After lunch, we farewelled our fellow Wellington trampers who were travelling down the lake by boat. We set off for the cars at Mt Robert Carpark, down the west side of Lake Rotoiti. After a short stop for running repairs on Steve’s boot, we carried on. When we got to the beach before the final climb up to the cars, a few hardy souls decided on a swim. Due to the coldness of the water, obviously this was short and sweet! The last leg of the journey was a short brisk walk up to the cars and we arrived at 2.30pm.

An excellent weekend was had by all, with lots of humour and lots of laughs. Thanks to everybody for an enjoyable weekend and making my first tramp as group leader stress free!
The party: Andy, Uta, Steve, Ruth, Mark S., Gretchen, Tony, Carole, Dion, Bob, Jeanette and Roger.

22 June 2003: Gordons Knob Leader: Ruth Hesselyn

The initial list of seventeen had dwindled by the time we left Nelson, two called in sick and two just didn't show up! So, after a delayed start, the remaining thirteen and a half of us bumped our way up to Inwards Lookout, where we set forth under summer time blue skies about 9.30am. Lunch and views were enjoyed in a sheltered spot near the summit, then it was a quick descent down snow slopes, tussocks, rocks and through bush to the saddle. As it was still fairly early, we made a slight detour up to the main ridge and those that hadn't been to North Peak before, had the chance to do so. The rest of us were lazy and relaxed in the sun. Then it was back to the cars and Nelson by 5pm after a very pleasant day. The fellow trampers were Andrew Hutchison, Andrew ?, Arthur Jonas, Dion Pont, Don Brooker, Gary Russell, Grahame Harris, Lesley Friend, Peter Wise, Roger Bruce, Uta Purcell and Yvonne Kyle, plus Skye Hesselyn.

6 July 2003: Fringed Hill Circuit Leader: Jim Maxwell

13 July 2003: Snowcraft - Mt Arthur Leader: Grahame Harris

Party: Roger & Anne McMichael, Gary Russell, Mary Young, Steve McGlone, Andrew Hutchinson, Andrew Stevenson, Mark Stevens, Jeanette Hansen

On a clear cool winter's morning we piled into two 4WD vehicles and arrived at the Flora Carpark. On the track to the Mt Arthur Hut we struck intermittent ice, starting quite low down. At the hut we had a brief snack and preliminary instruction on the ice axe. Then off to the higher regions, but just above the hut we struck snow packed hard on the track by myriad feet. It was slippery so we went to crampons immediately. Up on the ridge we did some preliminary practice in a small snowy gully, but then had to turn down the Salisbury track and go quite a distance up the Horseshoe Basin to find slopes firm enough and the right degree of steepness to practice sidling, climbing, self-arrests etc. At this point four fitter more experienced members formed their own party under the guidance of Steve,and sidled around under the bluffs before climbing a steep snowy gully to the summit. Mark said he was scared, but I'll bet he still grinned. Later the rest of the party also went direct up the side of the Gully to the track with their newly-learnt skills.

At the end of the day we gathered back at the carpark and headed for home, but on the way down we encountered a cow that had apparently fallen down a steep bank and was lying seriously injured by the roadside; one of our cars diverted to a nearby farmhouse to report the situation.

It was a pleasant group, including several prospective members of the Club. Several members expressed their enjoyment of their new experience. Thanks to Steve for helping with what was otherwise a rather big party for such 
an activity.

13 July 2003 - Cable Bay Walkway Leader: Gretchen Williams

A gorgeous day!! After a minor transport problem the start time turned into a more leisurely departure from the Glen at 9.30 am. We followed the walk way track, stopped at the top of the airstrip for a break and admired the views. The bush section is always great to be in and from there it’s not far to the saddle where you leave the track. It was decided to carry on along the track to Sentinel Hill so that those who hadn’t been there before could see down to Cable Bay and the beach. We had lunch there and admired the views. We went back down to the saddle, through the farm gate, across a slightly flat paddock veering left along sheep and goat tracks and then down the cliff via a couple of scree-type slopes to the beach. We boulder-hopped our way back to The Glen, investigated the remains of a ship wreck, watched the wildlife (shags and seals) and admired the views.
Group: Trish Hanna & friend Chris, visitor Sherie, Denis Parnell, Carl Horn, Lesley Friend, David Nielsen, 
Val Latimer, Uta Purcell

19 & 20 July 2003 - Begley / Hamilton Leader: Peter Wise

The weather forecast for this mid winter trip looked a little iffy with a cold front coming through and snow forecast down to 500 metres. As it turned out, the snow was just a few flakes and the front appeared late morning on the Saturday and vanished again some time Saturday night. Sunday was brilliant sunshine most of the day except for the cold valley shade in the Hamilton. Seven hardy souls set off from Nelson in three vehicles, leaving one car at the gate in the Rainbow and continuing on to the big bridge in the two 4x4’s. Shirley and Dion then did a car shuffle back to the Hamilton Valley where they left Dion’s 4x4. Having sorted the vehicles and the packs out we then set off up the Rainbow Valley which was fairly easy going and into a rather spectacular gorge just before the Begley confluence. This gorge had very impressive ice formations on its cliffs so plenty of photographs were taken before we continued on our way. We arrived at the Begley hut late in the afternoon. This hut has been well maintained and we had a good fire going but the door needed to be open if the hut wasn’t to fill with smoke! Needless to say, this hut wasn’t particularly warm. By morning our toes, fingers and boots were frozen. They didn’t defrost till we had gone some distance down the track toward the pass we were to cross. About mid morning saw us on top of the pass with the help of crampons and ice axes. A short stop here for a bit to eat and a rest then it was down into the Hamilton in the sun until we got lower in the valley. More river walking mainly in a dry river bed for the first hour or two then onto a track back to where we had parked Dion’s 4x4. Here we waited for about 45 minutes while Dion and Mike went to retrieve the other vehicle. A good trip with a happy bunch. Those who took part were: Dion Pont, Ruth Hesselyn, Shirley Arnst, Mike Drake, Carol Crocker, and Mark Stevens.

27 July 2003: Devils Creek Hut - Wakamarina Leader - Gavin Holmwood 
Party : Bob Janssen, Lesley Spedding, Grahame Harris, Shirley Gabrielsen, Trish Brettan, Bev Rotherham, Lindsay Twiname. 
We left Nelson at 8.45 and arrived at Wakamarina Road end to start walking at 9.45. The weather was drizzly (all day), and the track was boggy at the start (4WD track). This benched and graded track was originally cut in 1879 during the goldmining days. We walked for two hours and had lunch at Devils Creek Hut. We stayed there till 12.45 and then started back the same way, reaching the cars at 2.30. We then moved on to the Pelorus Bridge Cafe for coffee, tea and cake before going home to dry out

2 & 3 August 2003: Mt Stokes Leader: Roger Bruce (Scribe: Gretchen Williams)

We left Hira in two vehicles at 9am on Saturday morning – it’s surprising the stuff people bring on trips when they don’t have to carry it on their backs!! The closer we got to our destination the worse the weather looked. By the time we arrived at Titirangi Bay there were a few people who were a bit queasy from the winding road in and the vehicles looked like they’d been on safari. We arrived at about noon, pitched the tents in a fine misty rain and blustery winds, had lunch and went for walks along the beach, through a lovely patch of predominantly kohekohe bush and along the farm tracks. The camp area was buzzing with fat weka and pukeko filled with spring fever!
Just before dusk some of the less hardy members of the group decided to spend the night in the Lodge leaving three to fly the flag at the camp. And then the drizzle stopped and by morning it was fine and calm. We headed off up Mt Stokes at 9 am – a relatively steep ascent through lovely bush and were all surprised to pop out of the bush into the open and virtually at the top at 11 am. The views were stunning despite a small amount of cloud – 360 degrees. We could see Mounts Taranaki, Ruapehu, Tapuae-o-ue-nuku, Arthur, Owen, down into Picton with a couple of ferries and lots of different islands and sounds. We had lunch and explored for an hour before a leisurely hour and a half descent to the cars and another long and winding journey home. Thanks to Roger for once again organising a really successful and enjoyable trip.
Group: Ann & Roger McMichael, Ross Price, Grahame Harris, Tony Haddon, Dion Pont, Megg Hewlett, 
Gretchen Williams

10 August 2003: Mt Arthur Traverse Leader: Grahame Harris

Party: Peter Wise, Uta Purcell, Lindsay Twiname, Rosalie Horsfield, Steve McGlone, Jim Weston, Anita Robertson, Brian Renwick, Justin Annan, Lien Jobse, Grahame Harris.

It was good to see Lien out again, although he did not go up into the snow; neither did Twinkletoes Twiname in her sneakers. It was also good to see a number of prospective new members out.

We followed the usual route up to where the snow slope had to be traversed below the first big bluff. One member did not have crampons, and out of solidarity we all continued without them. The snow was hard and slippery, but with well formed footsteps. We successfully negotiated the sidle and followed with the more spectacular but easier final steep climb up to the summit ridge. The top was covered with a layer of crisp snow right to its northern edge, but there it ceased abruptly and completely. After lunch at this spot we went down the steeper but snow-free northern ridge to meet up with the Gordon's Pyramid track before crossing back across the Horseshoe Basin to rejoin the main track down. The descent included sections that were narrower and steeper than some party members had encountered before, but they were talked through them successfully and appeared pleased with their achievements.

The weather was sunny until lunchtime, but then high clouds obscured the sun and cooled things down a bit.

17 August 2003 - Holyoake Clearing Leader: David Blunt

A 9am departure from the Marahau carpark saw a party of 8 setting off along the Abel Tasman track in cool sunny conditions. After a stop for morning tea at the Tinline picnic area it was a steady uphill climb to the Holyoake clearing which was reached just before midday. An unexpected passing shower soon after arrival saw everyone scurrying from the outside picnic table into the Holyoake "Hilton" to finish off lunch. Fortunately the sun soon reappeared. The return trip was made via the track which comes down behind Torrent Bay with care having to be taken on some of the greasy granite sections of the track. Afternoon tea was enjoyed in the sun at Apple Tree Bay and we arrived back at the carpark at 4.30pm. A good round trip of 7½ hours with some excellent coastal views along the way.
Party: Members: Uta, Graeme, Dan, and David. Visitors: Trish, Ian, Bronwyn, and Rebecca