Newsletter December 2009



Welcome to new member: Hilde Somerville

To print the web version this newsletter (3-4 pages), Click here.

Download the printed version of the newsletter (8 pages, more photos) as a 3.3-megabyte PDF file. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar program installed on your computer. Broadband connection preferable.)


The director of Alpine Recreation, Anne Braun-Elwert,talks about the ‘spiritual dimension’ of being in the mountains. (I thought this might be relevant for this Christmas season?)

Her article in the latest NZ Wilderness magazine laments the ‘busy-ness of our modern lives.’ She says ‘there are so many competing claims for our attention, for our time, despite labour-saving devices...’ but perhaps we should ‘get away from it all, get out of our comfort zone, pare things down to their bare essentials and focus on the things that really matter. It is this refreshment of the spirit that being in the mountains gives and which is lacking in our crowded urban lives...’ (NZ Wilderness, Dec 2009).

I have just finished reading Soul Survivor, the spiritual quest of Paul Hawker, who attempted to spend 40 days & nights of solitude in Arete Biv, during a cold Tararua winter. Cabin-bound, and surviving on rations, with no books or camera to tempt him into distraction, Paul was able to ‘focus on the things that really matter’. He returned a changed man.

A wee while ago, I myself set out on an ambitious solo tramp, lasting 11 weeks. I was seeking to purify my soul from the driven-ness of workaholism, evaluate my life to date, and set some goals. As a bonus, I managed to read right through the Bible from cover to cover. (And bag a lot of huts... Ha!–a hidden agenda!) I breathed fresh alpine air, and drank cool mountain water. (And ate about 80 sachets of pasta.)

When I returned home, my head was clear, my heart beat stronger, my spirit was indeed refreshed, and I was brimming with confidence. Most interestingly, though I was physically alone, I was never lonely.

So, these Christmas holidays, give yourself permission to take time out from ‘real life’. Slow down.Listen to the dawn chorus, the rain on the roof, the rushing brook. Look at the flowers, the Milky Way. Feel the soft earth beneath your feet, the wind caress your face.
Live the moment.
Stop doing. Be.

Raymond John Salisbury


Pat Holland1. Place of birth: Christchurch
2. Occupation: Scientist
3. Been a member for: 6 years.
4. How I have benefitted (from being a member): Made good friends & seen some great places.
5. Best trip: Ian Pavitt’s trip up Dun Mountain Walkway, over the Pelorus and Mount Fell – a 3-day North-South crossing of Mt Richmond Forest Park.
6. Worst trip: Being blown off Gordon’s Pyramid as the mist morphed into driving sleet, during the descent of Mt Arthur ridge.
7. Funniest moment: Slipping over in Hellfire Creek, filling my pack & camera with water, to the amusement of Ruth & Dion.
8. Scariest moment: Front-pointing over the gaping void below Belvedere Peak, as Mark Stevens floated down the mountain effortlessly.
9. Favourite tramping hut: Barker Hut, Arthurs Pass.
10. What wild place would I put at the top of my ‘bucket list?’ Scotts Creek route up Mount Sefton, or perhaps, the NW Ridge of Mount Aspiring.


Guest judge Don Pittham again entertained us with Irish jokes and inspirational wisdom in all things photographic. There were so many printed entries this year that table space was at a premium. Pat did well to edit our digital entries down into a manageable rolling slideshow, which we watched while we ate fruitcake. Don explained what he was looking for in a winning photo:
1. Compliance – does the shot actually obey the competition rules?
2. Competence – is the shot in focus, composed well, etc.?
3. Creativity – does the shot make him jealous, ie. why didn’t he think of that idea?
4. Communication – does the photo say or describe something?

First place-getters were given $15 vouchers to spend at a local photographic store. All in all, it was an enjoyable evening with a huge turnout.

Winners: 1. Landscape: Cloud on Mt Tyndall by Dion Pont.
2. Hut/Camp Life: Master Chef by Ruth Hesselyn.
3. Above The Bushline: Shadow High by Ray Caird.
4. Below The Bushline: Cobb Valley by Mark Graesser.
5. Nature: Taking Flight by Raymond Salisbury.
6. Historic
: Salisbury Hut, 1964, by David Blunt.
7. Humour: The Lost Cord by Margot Sym.

Two entries tied the People’s Choice awards: Dion Pont’s Cold Winter’s Day, and Mark Steven’s Sunrise, Te Ao Whekere.

The first six category winners will have their photos sent off to the FMC Photo Competition, run by Bulletin editor Shaun Barnett.

Winning photos are displayed in the Photo Galleries section, where winners from previous years' competitions may also be viewed.


Don Pittham invited our members to attend the National Convention of the Photographic Society of NZ. In 2010 the Nelson Camera Club are hosting the annual event.

Dates: 7-11 April in Nelson.

Speakers include: Graham Charles, Steve Parish & Rob Suisted.

TOPO50 & GPS > Warning to Buyers!

On 23 September 2009 the NZMS 260 Topographical maps were replaced by the Topo50 series.

Anyone purchasing a new GPS should be aware that it may not be compatible with the new Topo50 map land grid. Most (but not all) will work with the old map land grid. More recent models will probably eventually get a software upgrade.

Thanks, Jim Maxwell

NEWS & NOTICES > Upcoming Clubnights

7:30pm Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street. Gold coin donation.


Monday 8 February: Show & Tell evening. Book your slot now!
Contact: Lawrie Halkett by email.

The following dates have been booked at the same venue:

Monday 12 April

Monday 7 June

Monday 2 August

Monday 6 October

Monday 6 December

DOC UPDATES > Track & Hut Info

Richmond Forest Park:

Hackett-Starveall Huts route:
The normal track has had the windfall cleared recently.

New Red Hills Hut built by Christmas.


Nelson Lakes National Park:

Angelus Hut will be closed this summer while a new hut is being built. Booking system being considered. Limited camping available.


NZ Tramper:
This comprehensive internet site should be bookmarked and used by all keen trampers. Based on Web 2.0 technology, users can post route information, photos, or chat in forums about anything tramping-related. Advertise for walking partners, download GPS waypoints, search for 500+ huts – it’s all there under one virtual roof.

Peak Bagging NZ:

Modelled on the UK idea of ‘Munro-bagging’, an English couple have decided to introduce a similar concept to NZers.
On this web site, users can maintain their personal ‘tick-list’ of hills they’ve climbed, or debate in forums on the merits of mountains which could be included in the official list.

WORLD FAMOUS > Terra Nova Tents



Please state tramping club in address to qualify for discount.
Register your club or members to be in the draw for a QUASAR TENT valued at $999.

021 041 9766


Interested in the finer details of what our Federation are up to? View the monthly newsletter on-line below:

FMC Newsletter download page 

WANTED > Lively Tramping Photos

FMC would like to have fresh photos of our member clubs to use as banner photos across on the FMC website. (see example above.) If your club has a photo that you think might be suitable please email it to:

Shots must have a very wide format (croppable to a ratio of 4.3:1). We are looking for lively shots in interesting locations with club groups with four or more people!