Trip Reports, June-August 2017

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  1. Cedar Flat Hut | West Coast
  2. Pepin Island | Cable Bay, Nelson
  3. Red Hill & Hunters Hut | Mt Richmond FP
  4. Lake Sylvester Hut | Kahurangi NP
  5. Mount Murchison | Buller District
  6. Mount Stanley | Marlborough Sounds
  7. Rocks Hut | Mt Richmond FP
  8. Golden Bay walks | Golden Bay
  9. Snow Skills Training | Rainbow Ski-Field

03–05 June 2017 | Cedar Flat Huts | West Coast
Leader: Ray Salisbury

Two cars with nine souls made the long journey from Nelson to Hokitika, revelling in the chance to explore new terrain further afield during Queens Birthday weekend.

From the road-end, grassy farmland provided a decent hour’s warm-up, before some serious boulder-hopping ensued. This tested our senior members, who struggled with balance and footwork beside the Toaroha River. One member slipped while being assisted up a low rock step. Marie Lenting did the first aid, then we penetrated the forest up a steep ridge, thankfully zig-zagging not climbing direct.

Hours slipped by. It was nearly nightfall when we crossed several V-shaped incisions in the valley wall. Here, David slipped backwards off a big boulder into the stream, bruising his chest badly.

These minor incidents served to slow the party down to a crawl. Eventually, I made the obvious but difficult decision for Ian to nurse David, making an emergency overnight camp on the track.


Dion and Wade assisted me in escorting the main party - by torchlight – the final two kilometres to Cedar Flat. Here, the mountain cedars presided over the historic hut (2) and newer hut (12). Being a long weekend, albeit in the depths of winter, the hut was already full. Nevertheless, kind-hearted souls made room for the ladies. Spacious clearings were used for the younger members to erect tents in the frigid air of an unforgiving winter’s night.

On Sunday we relished a sleep-in, read Wilderness magazines, and played a quick version of Scrabble, which I’d brought. In the afternoon, I took three of the women to soak in Wren Creek, where two hot pools sit above the river. These proved to really hot, and worth visiting. Meanwhile, Dion and young Wade made a half-hearted recce on the ridge above us, but failed to find the old hut in the headwaters here.





On Monday, we returned alongside the Toaroha to be greeted by a cheery David and Ian. They had walked out on Sunday, and visited the old house which Ian had lived in way back last millennium.

Trampers were: Mari-Anne Hermsen, Marie Lenting, Madeleine Rohrer,  Ian Morris, David Cook, Dion Pont, Wade Glover, Ray Salisbury (scribe) with Colleen Shaw.

04 June 2017 | Pepin Island | Cable Bay, Nelson
Leader: Kath Ballantine

Five trampers joined in the Hira Fire Brigade Fundraiser walk on Pepin Island. At 09.30 when we set off there was already a large crowd of people. When we reached the top at lunch time, saw how this had swelled to a huge crowd judging by the number of cars in paddocks and lining the roads.

We were directed to start in an anticlockwise orientation, (bikers going clockwise) and once we reached the east side, began our ascent to the summit, a steep climb in places. The day was warm and very calm. We got good views out to the bay. At the summit we enjoyed a leisurely lunch sheltered behind a row of pines, before descending steeply back to the start point, arriving back about 1.30pm. At morning tea we met Pat Holland and his wife, and at lunch Leah Parker and her family.

Credit goes to the Hira Fire Brigade, for the great organisation – the parking, coffee and cake stations, toilets, directions, and the separation of the bikers from the walkers on some parts of the track. I hope they raised a good amount of money from the $10 pp entry fee.

Participants: Sue & Paul Henley, Kate Krawczyk, Susan Jenkins (visitor) & Kath Ballantine (scribe)

10–12 June 2017 | Red Hill | Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Pat Holland

This trip was the idea of Nina Dickerhof, our visitor from Christchurch. A three-day trip was necessitated by the short winter days.

Day 1: The eight of us drove to Inwoods Lookout. The road is in bad condition so we had grave fears for Barry’s old Nissan station wagon, but it arrived safely, as did Kate’s Mazda 4WD.

We decided to leave behind ice-axes and crampons (no snow on Gordons Knob). It was a cool winter morning with strong breeze. We stopped after 20 minutes for lunch at a sheltered sunny spot just before the bushline.

We then scurried up the ridge track past North Peak, plunging down into the forest. A good track descends directly down the ridge 850m into the valley of the Motueka River, Left Branch. Here the hot-heads ignored their beloved leader and decided not to follow the marked track on the true right but headed up the bouldery river bed.

Fortunately, the river was low so feet remained dry after the several required crossings before the track was regained near the junction with the Te Araroa Trail.

Hunters Hut, (some 15 minutes and 100 metres above the river), was reached at dusk, after 5 hours.

We neatly fitted in, although Andrea and Simon tented on a slightly illegal spot and Barry decided to sleep on the porch. Mike demonstrated to good effect his upside-down fire-lighting technique. Soon we were toasty before making dinner.

Day 2: Up at 6am; away at 7:15am.

It was a glorious clear, calm morning with the full moon setting. The unmarked route to Red Hill goes directly up the long broad ridge behind the hut. We started along the track to Porters Hut for 200m, quickly leaving behind the stunted scrub for easy travel on snow grass and red tussock. This vegetation petered out as we reached the saddle at 1650m, where there is a large tarn (unmarked on the Topo 50 map) - good potential for camping.

The ridge to Red Hill peak then heads hard left as a 5km rocky cirque with minor peaks leading to the final ridge. The travel was not difficult, staying mainly on the ridge.

The sky was clear, the cool breeze not strong  and the only snow was in rocky clefts. Eventually, the low peak of Red Hill was reached and some decided this was enough, although most went along the further gnarly 300m to the high peak (1791m).

We had an enjoyable lunch in the sun with excellent views all around, including the Arthur Range, Mt Owen, down the long, bare valley of the Motueka River (Right Branch) across to the ranges of Nelson Lakes,  Mt Alarm and Tapuae-o-Uenuku.

But the day was progressing so we returned via whence we came.

The party regrouped at the tarn where water bottles were replenished and good sport was had with rock-skipping on the mainly frozen surface. The final descent to the hut on the tussock ridge was interspersed by conservation efforts at removing wilding Douglas Fir seedlings.

Mike’s Leatherman mini-saw was put to good effect, although eyes had to be averted from some large specimens. The hut was reached at dusk by the last of the tired crew. (10 hours return).

Day 3: The wind had risen during the night and cloud was gathering on the tops. So, off we scurried back down the river track. Then, onwards up the forested ridge track. We had been rather dreading this, but the bushline was reached after two hours of slog... one step after another.

Low cloud and strong wind made it a relief to get off the tops and reach the shelter of the bit of bush above Inwoods Lookout.

We then pressed on to the vehicles where it was calm and sunny. The party became very spread out but the average time from the hut was 4.5 hours.

We were back in Nelson by the early afternoon for the Club Night that evening, where Nina gave an outstanding illustrated account of her much more demanding adventures in the Olivine and Hooker Wilderness areas further south.

Climbers were: Pat Holland, Kate Krawcyzk, Barry James, Andrea Cockerton, Simon Garton, Sue Henley & Mike Drake. Visitor: Nina Dickerhof

View Nina’s excellent photos of this trip here.

View her Smugmug web-site. It has amazing images from her many other alpine expeditions.

24–25 June 2017 | Lake Sylvester Hut | Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Andrea Smith

With falling snow and hail, the mid-winter gathering at Lake Sylvester Hut was appropriately seasonal. Seven hardy souls hunkered down for the weekend. Not to be thwarted, they donned five layers and headed out into the maelstrom.

Ian, Marilyn and Brian arrived during lunchtime on Friday, and breathed fire into the burner. Once cranked up, they enjoyed the cosy hut and e-mailed for supplies of whisky, Christmas cake and a dish scrubber. Supplies arrived on Saturday with Sues’ home-baked Rocky Road.

The pot was boiling when the advance party returned from their morning ramble to Iron Lake. The only excitement was Brians upturned legs after a tumble whilst searching for the memorial plaque for Mick Allison and his wife, laid to rest in a favorite place of theirs; remembered by their artistic grand-daughter.

With the advance party defrosted, Sue, Chris, Debbie and myself headed around Lake Sylvester  and onto the ridge south of the hut to a beautiful campsite near three tarns overlooking the Cobb Valley. [Warning: in summer, they may be completely dry].

When Brian’s jokes dried up, the evening was spent learning the Maori world-view of the disposal of wastewater products, as Debbie dutifully marked her student’s assignments.  We studied pictures of bio-solid retention tanks on Rabbit Island and mourned for the student who attained 23%.

Staying on topic, we played several rounds of Shithead, Brian being proud to be the last man standing! We ate well, and the resident Wekas got even fatter.

Sunday dawned to the sunrise over Hoary Head and Crusader. Initially, waiting for the weather to settle we then hit a window of opportunity and took off, a rainbow arching over the lakes to the south.  It was short lived and soon we were in hail and then snow, buffeted by the wind. After climbing up the north ridge some headed back, Brian checking out the route to Diamond Lake. Others continued over the ridge dropping down to Iron Lake.

All back safely and cheerful, we regrouped and trotted back to the cars. It was a success for the trip leader who had not lost or stranded anyone. Improvements indeed, some may say!

Festive folk were: Ian and Marilyn Morris,  Brian Renwick, Sue Henley, Chris Louth, Debbie Hogan and myself, Andrea (scribe).

09 July 2017 | Mount Murchison | Buller District
Leader: Michele Cunningham

It was a chilly winter morning when a group of 14 trampers assembled at Richmond Badminton Club. The drive to the road end took us through fog and descending temperatures, but by the time we drove through a farm just before Murchison and got out of the cars, the sky was clearing.  “Road end” is probably not really the right word, as the 4WD road continued on all the way to the top of Mt Murchison. 

The first step after leaving the cars was to climb over the locked gate, where a multitude of different techniques were used.  Everyone made it safely to the other side one way or another, and after that it was a long steep plod all the way to the top
– a 1100-metre climb over 6.3km (according to Carole’s iPad).

The walk was mostly through bush, but it became open towards the top. It didn’t take long to get warm, and good company, conversation about chocolate brand loyalty and price (among other things), and increasingly impressive views kept our minds busy. Snowy mountain ranges with clouds hanging in the valleys made for some good photo opportunities.

We arrived at the top to find a multitude of communication towers, complete with warnings not to sit directly under the towers in case of falling icicles! And indeed some falling icicles were seen but no near misses were reported. The views were well worth the walk: 360 degrees of clearly visible mountain ranges. The snow-clad Mt Owen was particularly impressive. Other features identified included the 1000 Acre Plateau with Needle and Haystack, the St Arnaud Ranges, and the Lyell Range where the Old Ghost Road threads through.

An alternative view was that of one red shirt and one green shirt hanging on the trig belonging the our two Italians present (Silvano and Massimo). With a piece of snow placed in the middle we had the resemblance of their national flag.

After lunch and the obligatory group photo, we began our descent.  I’m sure the down was harder on the legs and feet than the up, but somehow the change of perspective made the scenery interesting all over again. We noticed the bush more, and the birdsong was  fantastic. We were out in good time, so some of the group stopped for coffee and some delicious snacks at the Flat Rocks Cafe in Kohatu. Thanks everyone for a very pleasant day out.

Trampers were: Chris Louth, Rod and Carole Lewis, Sue Henley, Ian and Marilyn Morris, Sheelah McCambridge, Denise Glover, Grant Derecourt, Graeme Ferrier, Silvano Lorandi, Massimo Nember, Peter Phipps and Michele Cunningham

23 July 2017 | Mount Stanley (971m) | Tennyson Inlet, Marlborough Sounds
Leader: Silvano Lorandi

Promises, promises. We return to this trip with the NTC after four years.
It was June 2013 when four of us ventured on this hill and discovered a reasonably well-marked track past the Nydia Saddle and a DOC research hut on the main ridge. They were nice surprises but we missed the view from the top.

“Our reward of a beautiful panorama of the sounds will perhaps be gained the next time we venture again up here because on this occasion an unfortunate cloud lingers on the top,” I had wrote on the report.

But this time it will be good. The weather forecast looks positive and the day before the trip was a beautiful sunny and clear winter day. Ahh... promises, promises.

It's a strong and lovely group of 12 of us on a Sunday morning. Two people  have come along for hutbagging purposes.

We are very fast in reaching Nydia Saddle and from there its still a reasonably well marked track to the main ridge. Unfortunatelly the hut was gone. Does a building platform and a water tank count as a hut?

We continue along the ridge, the track is wet and slippery from the mist that engulfs the tops and we take longer than expected to reach Mount Stanley.
No chance of a view, its misty, cold and lightly raining.
Amazingly, Andrea pulls out a homemade birthday cake from the pack to celebrate the birthday of a member of the group. What an amazing display of friendship.

We are not disciplined in leaving the top and we almost lose a member of the group on the way back. Lesson learned there. We retreat in mist and light rain and make it to the carpark in a reasonable time but in the dark.

The promise of a view didn’t eventuate. We’ll have to go back.

Participants: Silvano Lorandi (leader and scribe), Andrea Cockerton, Mike Drake, Grant Derecourt,  Graeme Ferrier, Simon Garton, Mike Glover, Wade Glover, Chris Louth, Leah Parker, Dion Pont, Liam Sullivan.

29–30 July 2017 | Rocks Hut | Mount Richmond FP
Leader: Leah Parker

Eight keen starters on this frosty July morning. Parking in Brook Street, we were ready to follow the predator fence of the Brook Sanctuary then join the Dun Railway Trail. We knew the first part of the track was some of the steepest ground we had to cover. It was a tricky balance of our layers, between standing around freezing and the quick warm-up to follow.

Off we set around 8.30am. Joined by two newbies to the club, we introduced ourselves. It wasn’t long before the first stop to strip off the first layer and snap the first group photo.

A nice cruisey pace set the tone for the weekend. We were all fairly relaxed and we didn’t need to rush to the hut as we had plenty of daylight.

We reached Third House at 10.20am – perfect timing for morning tea. The sun had reached the clearing and the picnic table, albeit slightly damp, was welcoming. A few scantily-clad runners with bum bags passed through as we redoned our packs.

We were treated to historical facts from the knowledgeable Ian and Gavin who knew about the mining in the area. We checked out ruins and found the odd brick scattered beneath the trees, plus the remains of a kiln. They served as a reminder of the hard times of the past.

Mikayla shared a great riddle with the group which had some of us stumped, (and more than a little frustrated well into the following day!)

As we reached Windy Point, the temperature had dropped; the slight breeze reminded us it was still the middle of winter.

Around the back of Wooded Peak, the icicles were frozen solid. At Coppermine Saddle, we sheltered from for a quick lunch stop. Passing Dun Saddle, we headed towards the hut. The trail was drier than usual, but any moisture was frozen and slippery.

Upon arriving at the hut around 3:00pm, we all set about collecting firewood before settling in for the evening. As the temperature plummeted, droplets of tap water were freezing on the bench outside at 4.30pm. There were issues with the flush toilets. Thankfully, Ian set about fixing the loos into working order in the afternoon... then again in the morning when the overnight chill caused the water to freeze again.

Afternoon tea merged with dinner and then finally, steamed pudding. It did take over an hour to heat in the water-filled basin on the fire, but it was worth the wait; soon gobbled up with a pot of warm custard and caramel sauce.

It was a crispy start on Sunday morning. Before we knew it, we were ready to pose for the obligatory group photo, before visiting the lookout. ‘Twas another cracker day and the morning sun was welcome relief from the frost. We took in the views and shot more group photos.

Upon reaching Dun Saddle, we spotted Grant waiting to join us, as planned. We dumped our packs and shot up Mt Dun for a little side trip before returning to the saddle for lunch. Heading back down the valley we discovered a dilapidated hut just off the track.

As we reached the cars at Maitai Dam, we said our goodbyes. What a great weekend with a lovely group in fantastic weather.

Trampers were: Leah Parker (scribe), Liz Henderson, Kate Krawczyk, Michele Cunningham, Peter Phipps, Ian Morris, with visitors Gavin Scandlyn and Mikayla Wright.

11–14 August 2017 | Golden Bay walks
Organiser & host: Brian Renwick

Pupu Valley Walkway

Saturday dawned fine and, after a leisurely start from the too comfortable accommodation, we drove to Pupu Hydroelectric Power Station, at 250kW, not one of NZ’s mightiest, but on a lovely site. A short climb through bush took us to the intake dam and the water race which we followed to the source at Campbell Creek. We could see the potential for an exciting ride the length of the water race for an adventurous child on a boogie board, preferably in summer, and wearing something warm! The loop to the power station was completed along the gravelled track.

Participants were: Michele Cunningham, Peter Phipps & Brian Renwick (scribe).

While we were away, Chris Louth turned up and wasted no time checking out the coastal scenery, beaches and estuaries of Rangihaeata on his mountain bike.

Hadfield Homestead & Awaraoa Inlet

The rest of the team arrived and, after lunch on the deck, we all drove to Awaroa Inlet and followed the track under John’s careful guidance to the old Hadfield Homestead at the head of the inlet, a beautiful setting. The home and outbuildings appear to have been left to decay gracefully. Sifting through the debris, we found various old newspapers and items of yesteryear.

On our return, we socialized in front of a roaring fire, and enjoyed a lovely shared dinner from the various contributions. And that was the end of the golden weather in Golden Bay.

Participants were: John Whibley (guide), Kate Krawczyk, Liz Henderson, Chris Louth, Ian Morris, Pat Holland, Michele, Pete & Brian (scribe)

Aorere Goldfields & Kaituna Track

Sunday dawned wet and windy. Undeterred, Chris set off early with his mountain bike to negotiate the slippery trails of the Aorere Goldfields surrounding Druggan’s Dam. The four wheel drivers had got ahead of him and churned the track into mud.

The rest of us drove out to The Naked Possum cafe which was closed. Kaituna Stream was found to be in high flood. Lucky for us, we slipped into a window of dryer weather for the walk just as far as the Forks, the stream not being safe to ford. We checked out the gold workings and admired  local botany.

Sure enough, we got back to The Naked Possum just as the rain started again, and made good use of their covered outside dining area to eat lunch.

 On return journey, we investigated NgaNga’s artworks, drank coffee, saw the beach at Collingwood, plus the impressive plantings and track system at Milnthorpe.

Wharawharangi Beach via Taupo Point

Ian and Pat stayed at Rangihaeata with Brian on Sunday night, the rest having high-tailed it back to Nelson for work.

Only three of us drove around to the Wainui road-end on Monday morning. The car-park was huge, but we had the only vehicle. So, off we went along the beach-front track and headed for Taupo Point. The weather was fair, mild and calm, with the odd light shower amongst sunny patches. The tide was only just  turning so we did not have to use the high route and just boulder-hopped.

Reaching the famous Maori canoe-landing site, (the sandy strip between boulders), we headed up onto the Point. The old terraces are all thoroughly overgrown with native tress and shrubs. There is a large matai tree which might have been a seedling in Abel Tasman’s time. The only view-point gave splendid vistas to the northwest.

There were heavy, dark clouds over the Western Hills and Farewell Spit. However, we decided to take our chances around the point towards Whariwharangi Beach. Initially, this was easy boulder-hopping. There were many seabirds with large flocks of shags, mainly pied but some spotted. Also some fur seals, mostly young.

However, at one point our progress was blocked by a very large beast; perhaps a sea lion. He was not going to move and seemed rather threatening. So, we had to climb a small bluff to bypass him.

About one hour from Taupo Point, we reached a headland. Here, the only option would have been to swim (or perhaps wade if it had been very low tide). We climbed onto some sketchy goat tracks that led around the point, did a scrabbly traverse on a crumbling cliff, then dropped to the coast. A couple of other more minor bluffs and one short wade were negotiated to reach Whariwharangi Beach, where we took lunch.

We returned to the Wainui carpark via the standard route past the hut and over the saddle beneath Gibbs Hill. The weather held. This is a good little circuit either direction (4–5 hours not counting stops), but advisable to time the low tide  for when you are halfway between Taupo Point and Whariwharangi.

Participants were: Brian Renwick, Ian Morris & Pat Holland (scribe).

20 August 2017 | Snow Skills Day | Rainbow Skifield
Leader: Debbie Hogan & David Cook

This was a great day in the mountains. While the weather wasn’t perfect, the ‘newbies’ still had fun. Organised and run efficiently by tertiary tutor, Debbie Hogan, and aided by secondary teacher David Cook.

The wind was blowing, especially on the ridge. So, the advance party found it too unpleasant and so only ascended Mt McCrae, played around, then retreated.

Debbie’s party did some serious skill training in the basin next to Rainbow ski field, as it was still windy on the ridge. They then  followed the first party uphill, climbed Mt McCrae, slid down the front face...
... all other slide-able slopes they could possibly slide down... all good fun!

Back at the cars by 3.30pm, Debbie modestly said she “didn’t lose anyone”. The ‘newbies’ learnt some useful skills such as how to self arrest, kick steps in the snow, slide down slopes, and walk with crampons. They did very well.








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