Newsletter, December 2016

mt fell party


Leah Parker, Friederike Schultze, Liz Henderson & Lynette Salisbury


Download the printed version of the newsletter (12 pages colour), as a small 2 megabyte PDF file. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar program installed on your computer. Broadband connection preferable.) Note: there is an error in the pdf re the MTB season for the Heapy Track. Next year it probably will become 1 May - 30 November.

PRESIDENT's PIECE | the Year in Review

Postman Pat











Whoops! Another year has slipped by and summer has arrived.

So, polish up your boots, check those maps and the club programme for some summer adventures. Perhaps you and family or friends might like to visit Mount Fell Hut which is now rejuvenated at its splendid new site, thanks to DOC and NTC efforts.

A special thanks to Silvano for leading the two key working bees. There will be another big push in the new year to finish – mainly a repaint.

A big thanks goes to all those who have led other club trips over the past six months. This is what makes the club function. We depend on the generous efforts of our leaders. We are always looking for more trips, so check the programme and contact Chris Louth.

This is Pat Holland’s third year on the Executive for Federated Mountain Clubs. He continues to be impressed by the drive and dedication of the president (currently Peter Wilson) and his team.

The Bulletin may be the most visible man-ifestation of FMC, but there are huge, on-going efforts in the political advocacy for our big outdoors. This involves submissions (e.g. on National Park Management Plans, and con-sultations at senior levels with DOC and other key decision makers.) Currently, the hot topic is getting better control of over-flying in National Parks.

A related issue is getting adequate funding for DOC to properly manage and protect all our conservation lands. This is becoming critical with the pressures of increased tourism. See the latest Forest & Bird magazine). FMC supports direct increases in government funding (e.g. from GST rather than levies or differential charging for tourists).

Getting better protection and access to our backcountry is a continuing theme for FMC. Key projects are the Forgotten Lands Campaign (better protection for S62 lands such as the Mokihinui and the St James) and the Remarkables Review where FMC is proposing formation of a large new con-servation park.

Pat Holland,

CLUBNITES: add to your calendar

CLUB NIGHT @ Nelson Intermediate School

Date: Monday 13 February. Place: Nelson Intermediate School staffroom, Titipahi Street, Nelson. Time: 7.30pm.
Speaker: YOU!


Bring a USB memory stick with some shots of your recent tramping holidays. 10 minutes each. Be prepared, and it will flow nicely!

Contact Ray Salisbury, Phone: 546 8060 for more info. 

PUB NIGHT @ Prince Albert

Date: Monday 6 March. Place: Prince Albert, 113 Nile Street, CBD
Time: 7.30pm

Catch up with club members and talk about upcoming trips.

Bring along maps and ideas so that we can fill the programme for the next couple of months.

Email: Kate Krawczyk for info.

BLAST FROM THE PAST | editorial from the archives

Here’s an evocative piece from the club president in the July 2000 newsletter:

Why Do We Go Tramping?

“I thought I would write a few lines on why I go tramping, mainly because I can only guess at your motivation. If I knew what you wanted, the itinerary would be easy to prepare and you would come on club trips by the busload.

Each trip I do contains some physical discomfort, usually coming on after the first hour or so, and is dependent on the shape I’ve knocked myself into before the trip. Such discomfort fades as the body accepts the workload, the natural high of the body’s endorphins cuts in and muscles adapt to the demands I’m making.

All this is far outweighed however, by the pleasure of being out there, going to places thousands of people will never get to see.

There are, almost always, moments of sheer magic that linger in the memory long after the trip is over: morning mist, glowing pink on a pink lake, lifting, shredding and dancing like demented candyfloss, as the rising sun huts the water; the scrunch of soft snow on a frosty morning, yielding to my boot like fruit sorbet to the spoon. Or sitting on top of a mountain on a calm day, surrounded by colourful insects and tiny plants, thriving among broken rock and patches of summer snow. There is never a feeling of conquering such places; more a feeling of being allowed to be there, a passing observer of an indifferent natural world.

I am well aware that without polyprop, gortex and my ability to get down from here, a weather change could have me in serious trouble by morning.

There is pleasure too, in reaching a distant hut and spending a night with a group of strangers (some definitely stranger than others) where a deep personal conversation can develop, and go on late into the evening, with someone you have just met. But, in the dim light of early morning, we pack and take our separate paths again. With time, all such memories blur at the edges, blend together and fade, to form a distilled essence of past experiences, the taste of which drives me to put on my boots and go back.”

by President Ross Nicholson, July 2000


TRACK CLOSURES [ as at early December 2016]

Marlborough Region

Since the Kaikoura earthquake there are many damaged tracks and dangerous waterways. For your safety, contact DOC for updated information.

“Visitors are advised to stay away from all DOC facilities & conservation areas in South Marlborough until further notice."

Report any safety issues to: 0800 DOC HOT

Here is a mere sampler of closed tracks & facilities:

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Mount Fell Hut has been recently renovated by our club, and the next working bee will see it opened in the New Year.

Wairoa Gorge
Left branch Wairoa Rd access closed intermittently from 20 October–15 December for forestry road upgrades.

Hacket Track/Alpine Route

From February to December the 1st km of the Hacket Track from the Hacket car park will be upgraded for logging operations and heavy machinery access.

The bridge over Hacket Stream to Whispering Falls has been destroyed due to flooding. The track remains open but caution is required when crossing the stream.

Nelson Lakes National Park

Thefts from vehicles

There have been an increase in the number of vehicle break-ins at track carparks. Don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle. A bag storage facility is available at the Rotoiti/Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre.

Kahurangi National Park

Cobb Valley

Since the earthquake, there is a large slip on the Cobb Valley Track, 10 mins downstream from the Tent Camp, between Chaffey and Fenella Huts.

The slip is difficult to cross because of deep mud and debris – not recommended for inexperienced trampers or small children. 



The Kaikoura earthquake on November 14th certainly gave us a big, prolonged shake in Nelson. Fortunately, damage to huts and tracks in the region appears to be minor. However, Marlborough was not so lucky and damage in the backcountry is widespread with slips blocking tracks and damming rivers. A huge slip has buried Barratts Bivvy in the headwaters of the Hapuku River and created a dam with a large body of water threatening the region down-stream. Several historic cobb cottages have been badly damaged (e.g. Acheron and Quail Pt.)

Loss of water tanks is widespread (e.g. Hodder Huts). Sawcut Gorge is okay, but access up the river has been compromised by slips. DOC staff are flat-out surveying and prioritising all the required work in the region. Check with DOC before venturing into the back-country regions of Nelson-Marlborough.


Large areas of plantation forest adjacent to the Richmond Forest Park have been sold to overseas interests. This may affect access to several important tracks and huts on the Marlborough and Nelson sides of the ranges. NTC, FMC and DOC are working with the Walking Access Commission (Penny Wardle based in Blenheim) to identify and fully document these for a submission to the Overseas Investment Office who can make access part of the conditions of sale.


The season for mountain biking on the Heaphy Track will be extended. This is the recommendation by DOC to the NZ Conservation Authority following a partial review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. The new period will last seven months between 31 March and 1 October.

Submissions from FMC resulted in a rejection of the initial proposal that included Easter). The change to KNPMP will also explicitly exclude E-Bikes. Hut passes will have the MTB Code of Conduct printed on them. DOC is only accepting bookings for the old period until the changes are accepted by NZCA (meeting in February).


The booking season for Angelus Hut (30 November to 30 April) will be extended to include Labour Weekend and perhaps other holidays. Last Labour weekend, there were 80 souls in the 28-berth hut. Also, DOC has recognised there needs to be a hut warden present for booking systems to be effective.

PHOTO COMPETITION 2016 : Entry Details

On Monday 5 December, nearly 30 souls
attended our annual photo comp - slash - social event at Nelson Intermediate School.

Thanks to guest judge Don Pittham, who entertained us with his quirky, off-beat poetry and cute ‘n’ cuddly movie clips. Here are the winning entries that Don selected:


1. Landscape (no people)

1st   – Ray Salisbury

2nd – Ashley Benck

3rd – Ray Salisbury

2. Hut & Camp Life

1st   – Pat Holland

2nd – Ray Salisbury

3rd – Pat Holland

3. Above The Bushline

1st   – Ashley Benck

2nd – Leah Parker

3rd – Pat Holland

4. Below The Bushline

1st   – Chris Louth

2nd – Ray Salisbury

3rd – Ray Salisbury

5. Nature (Flora & Fauna)

1st   – Chris Louth

2nd – Mark Graesser

3rd – Mark Graesser

6. Historic (pre-1980)

1st   – Pat Holland

2nd – David Blunt

3rd – Pat Holland

7. Open (Anything Goes)

1st   – Ray Salisbury

2nd – Pat Holland

3rd – Pat Holland

8. People’s Choice (Ruth Hesselyn Memorial Trophy)

1st   – Chris Louth

The first two placegetter’s have their images entered automatically into the national FMC Photo Competition. NOTE: Ray Salisbury needs the digital files. Send by email.

All winning entries will be hosted in a gallery on the club website in the new year: Here is the link: NTC 2016 Photo Competition Winners

FACEBOOK PAGE | Have your say | Publish photos

  • Share your photos / videos of a tramping trip
  • Share your opinions & trip ideas
  • Keep up-to-date with what’s happening

Remember, ‘sharing is caring’... so keep all your comments positive on this forum. Here’s the link:








Monday 13 Febuary

Show ‘n’ Tell

7.30pm, Nelson Intermediate

Speaker : YOU!

Bring a USB memory stick with some shots of your recent tramping holidays. 10 minutes each.

Contact Ray Salisbury, Phone: 546 8060 for more info. 


Monday 6 March

Pub Night 



113 Nile Street, Nelson CBD 

From 7pm onwards...

Catch up with club members and talk about upcoming trips.

Bring along maps and ideas so that we can fill the programme for the next couple of months.


Email: Kate Krawczyk for info.  

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