Trip Reports, May-June 2010


  1. Lake Daniells
  2. Lees Creek
  3. Castle Rocks Hut, Westland
  4. Tahuna Beach coastal walk
  5. Coppermine Saddle
  6. Olive Pick @ Frog's End
  7. Inland Track, Abel Tasman
  8. Mount Duppa
  9. Not the Dun thing
  10. Slaty Peak & Mt Starveall
  11. Craig Peak
  12. Club Night Report


17–18 April 2010 Lake Daniells – Lewis Pass area
Organiser: Ross Price

Only two trampers made their way to the Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut on the Saturday morning and tramped up to the head of the lake.

After staying the night in the hut and walking out the following morning, a visit was made to Maruia Falls on the way home. A stop off was also made at the Red Barn Restaurant near Murchison. Participants were Ross Price (leader) and Kelvin Drew (a recent addition to the club).

25 April 2010
Lees Creek – Nelson Lakes National Park

Organiser: Lawrie Halkett

On ANZAC Day, seven adventurous spirits left Richmond at 7.00am bound for Wairau Valley and Lees Creek. As we travelled southward in the early morning we realised the long, dry period gripping the entire country was breaking.

Picking up the gate key at Rainbow Station, the station manager said that they had had over an inch of rain the previous evening, which made sense of the very large puddles of water lining both sides of the road.

With the weather further up the valley looking decidedly stormy, we headed further south to the swingbridge across the Wairau River, leading into the Lees Valley.

In between the skirtery drizzle, we spied small patches of blue sky – several in the party promised the remaining non-believers that very soon we would all be basking in sunshine.

Well, the power of positive thought never won through, but the greyish damp day made for excellent tramping, all the more enjoyable by a very beautiful valley walk.

Lees Creek, for those that have not visited, is a beautiful valley. The walk to the hut through beech forest is punctuated by numerous expansive grassy clearings.

A lunch stop at the hut and stories from Uta and Jocelyn of interesting tramps further up the valley and beyond soon gave way to lunch and a hike back down the valley.

Despite the lack of promised sunshine, on reaching the car park, everyone declared it had been a most enjoyable tramp.

The happy hikers included Andy Clark, Graham Davies, Uta Purcell, Sarah Vickerman, Lou Cofft, Jocelyn Winn and Lawrie Halkett (scribe).

1–3 May 2010
Castle Rocks Hut – Westland National Park

Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

This trip was more challenging than anticipated, given that the description in ‘Weekend Walks’ was classified as MODERATE. Tthe lower sections of the Franz Josef Glacier offer straightforward travel on white ice”. I later found that in the updated version this had been revised to HARD and, of course, glaciers do change. A couple of phone calls to Franz Josef had given me a more detailed description: “Follow the obvious line of cut steps then head for the central moraine, continue past Cape Defiance, (a very impressive rock bluff) take a sharp right then climb to the house-sized boulder in the stream. Above this, follow a roughly cairned track up a steep gully to a poled route through scrub to the hut.” – yeah, right.

Saturday: A leisurely drive to Franz Josef, signed in at DOC, booked in at the Top 10 Holiday Park (deluxe cabin, $1 extra per person compared to standard) then stepped out for dinner at The Landing – great value. 

Sunday: 7.30am saw us following the tourist track to the glacier under crystal clear skies. Initially, the going was easy, cutting steps and little slots, then it became progressively steeper and more broken. One section had a fixed rope down and up out of an ice cave, a great photo spot. The steps eventually ran out and we continued on, zig zagging our way over various obstacles till “hmm, this looks a bit tricky”.  Mike got the rope out and established an anchor, I tottered across, set up another anchor and eventually everyone reached the other side and we continued on, but not far. Two more tricky slots were surmounted then some more easy travel. We finally reached terra firma around midday and lunched at the base of Cape Defiance.
It really is fantastic country: amazing ice formations, sheer cliffs, waterfalls, impressive peaks – but then there are the choppers! I would hate to think what the noise would be like at the height of the tourist season.

While we had been eating, mist had formed about the tops then erased all views as we climbed to the house-sized boulder. Failing to find any trace of the anticipated cairned route, and after consulting the map, we continued up the steep rocky creek. The best part of this section was watching three chamois bound away from us. Oh, to be so agile. Eagle-eyed Dion eventually spotted a marker pole high up in the mist – yippee! When reached, a narrow track through the scrub was followed to the little four-and-a-half-bunk hut, the half being a platform above the door.
It had taken us 7.5 hours to reach the hut rather than the anticipated 4, so the intention of exploring the area during the afternoon turned into a cup of tea and a snooze. In any case, we couldn’t see a thing.

Monday: 5.30am dawned clear and starry but as we left the hut the tops were beginning to disappear under thick cloud. By the time we reached the glacier the rain had set in, so it was a cold and soggy retreat. The main difference, apart from being wet, was noting that one of the slots had widened overnight, leaving the very large horizontal boulder that we had tip toed across at an acute angle and turning the slot  into something a little more daunting.
Late morning and we were back at the Top 10 Holiday Park, to collect some stored gear and have a shower. We offered to pay, but NO, we were not even permitted to change under the shelter of the barbeque area, so much for West Coast hospitality!  Back to the DOC carpark, the lads changed in the bus shelter, Mike got his shower by dancing in the rain (in his underpants) and Carole and I changed in the toilets.

Another visit to The Landing for lunch then it was the long drive home, arriving in Nelson around 9pm.

Thanks to fellow slot hoppers, Carole Crocker, Dion Pont, Mark Stevens and Mike Drake for a surprisingly enjoyable weekend.

22 May 2010
Tahuna Beach
–  Coastal Walk
Organiser: David Blunt

This was a pleasant coastal walk starting at the Lions playground with morning tea then following along the beach and shoreline to the end of the promontory opposite Oyster Island. Lunch was held here before returning along the western side of the airport and across the tidal creek to the camping ground. This has several exercise areas and we stopped at No 14 to do some sissy squats, one of which may be shown at the next photo competition.
Participants were Sue Locke, Beverley Muirhead, Val Latimer, David Blunt & guest Claire Marshall (squatter).

23 May 2010
Coppermine Saddle – Nelson

Organiser: Ken Ridley

Four club members went on this trip,starting from the Maitai Dam. It was a cloudy day with a comfortable temperature for walking. The Dun track from the footbridge through to the river crossing at the caves turn-off remains unchanged. From the crossing, the Nelson City Council has reconstructed, and in places, re-routed the Dun track with a new section going direct to Coppermine Saddle near the top.

All the work has been done to make a mountain bike route from the Brook to the Maitai valleys, via the old Dun Mountain railway. It’s a great ride and will be popular. We met a number of bikers on the way up, with no problem as the track is still quite rough and speeds are low.

We arrived at Coppermine Saddle a little early for lunch, so continued up to Dun Saddle. The cloud came down and it started to drizzle while we were having lunch at the big rock on the saddle. Parkas were donned and after closely examining the flora around the base of the rock, we returned via the Dun track to the dam.

On the trip were Annie Hill, Kelvin Drew, Uta Purcell & Ken Ridley (scribe).

30 May 2010
Olive Pick – Frog’s End

Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

A big hearty thank you from Peter, Rae, Ruth and Nancy at Frog’s End Estate to the large contingent of Nelson trampers who spent their Sunday assisting with the olive harvest. The weather finally played its part with warm sunshine. Soon many willing hands had stripped 1800kg of fruit from the trees and bundled it into crates ready for the olive mill. A wonderful  range of food was contributed to morning and afternoon teas and a relaxing lunch on the terrace.

Many thanks to everyone involved. The oil has been pressed and it looks as though the 2010 season is going to be a great pressing. We hope that everyone enjoyed the experience and we look forward to seeing you all again next year. 

by Peter (Brother in law).

Picker's Report

On a beautiful morning when the grass was washed fresh by the recent rain and the Waimea Estuary glimmered in the morning light, the scene was set for an idyllic day in Nelson’s version of Provence. After donning polyprop gloves we were taught the art of persuading the olive trees to give up their bounty.

Mike Drake was in charge of Rambo, a long armed device with a U shaped end and a chain saw type motor on the other end. Rambo placed it’s U end around an olive laden branch and fired away for about 3 bone shaking seconds causing the whole tree to shudder and olives to ping off in all directions.

Then we, the pickers, removed the Rambo resistant olives by rubbing our hands along the branches to send the olives scooting onto the nets which were placed around under the tree.

We were called in for frequent breaks with luscious food and drink on Peter and Rae’s front deck. There we could bask in the sun and enjoy the antics of the local fowl.

Working in a group and chatting away I enjoyed the comraderie of the harvest and felt that this was as good as any tramping trip I had been on. Then to cap it all off we were presented with a can of Frog’s End Olive oil on our way home. Thanks Peter, Rae and Ruth for opening up your home and letting us loose in your olive grove for a most enjoyable day.

by Jo Kay (NTC Member).

5–7 June 2010
Inland Track – Abel Tasman National Park

Organiser: Jocelyn Winn 

It all began with a walk toCoquille Bay to meet the Sea Shuttle by 9.15am. Rata still flowered near the shore. A patch of pink sunrise heralded our otherwise fine morning.

Once aboard the catamaran, we became tourists. We visited bays as passengers disembarked, mostly to walk parts of the Coastal Track. We paused at Tonga Island to observe seal colonies, also a starfish on a rock.

Then, over to Tonga Arches, the Cottage Loaf Rock, and later, we pulled in to Awaroa where many stingrays were in very shallow water. Seabirds were prolific - some saw a blue penguin diving.

Having landed at Totaranui, we then had to face the road bash up to Pigeon Saddle, which we did in a pleasing 1 hour, 20 minutes. En route we spied a derelict hut – an extra bonus for our three hut-baggers!
After lunch, we climbed steeply up Evans Ridge. Soon after Centre Peak, from a gorse clearing, we gazed out over Wainui Inlet to Farewell Spit.

Arriving at Awapoto Hut in about three hours, the first spatters of rain began. This torrential deluge lasted more than 30 hours.

Eventually more folk arrived, crowding the 12-bunker with 17 wet bodies. Some spilled out onto the verandah, some tented.

Sunday: Next morning, in parkas and pack covers, we departed for Moa Park. Later on, the sun made a feeble attempt to shine, but defaulted to more rain – the tracks were awash. The more ‘youthful ones’ had snow fights; the more ‘sedate ones’ walked in a little later.

Eleven bods and packs filled the Moa Park Shelter for a bite of lunch. Having just forded Table Creek, thigh deep & running cold, we were glad to accept Mike’s hot drinks.

Onward we went, leaving an American student to spend the afternoon repairing his pack. He had been relieved when Uta found his torch on the track.

No thoughts for dry feet, the track was mostly over our boots. Another cold, but not swift, stream was crossed. Smoke wafting from Castle Rock flue welcomed us – thanks, you fit guys! Inside, ten bods were comfortable in the eight-bunk hut. Drying clothing adorned all available places; packs and parkas were relegated to the verandah.

We enjoyed a cosy evening nattering, the younger folk ‘Bean Bashing’ at Dion’s expense.

Monday: Next morning dawned glorious, but a rather tardy start was made as down the track we sloshed. The streams had dropped considerably. Bush sparkled, sun filtered through, many fungi awaited our flashing cameras.

Lunch was a picnic near the new Holyoake Clearing Shelter. Further down the ridgeline, Lookout Rock offered views over Marahau mudflats and also to Adele and Fisherman islands.

The fast guys discovered some healthy freshwater crayfish in a small waterway. We caught them at Tinline campsite. From there it was a hop, step and jump back to the cars.

The ten bods were Mike, Deidre, Wade, Alice and Chelsea Glover, Raymond Salisbury, Dion Bean Pont, Uta Purcell, Jocelyn Winn and prospective member, Kristi du Bois.

13 June 2010
Mount Duppa, Bryant Range – Nelson

Organiser: Gretchen Williams

The trampers were Gillian Arbuthnott, Beverley Muirhead, Marie Lenting, Richard Talbot and Gretchen Williams. We were joined a little later by Dion Pont, Pat Holland and visitor Liam when Dion’s Cowin’s Spur trip was cancelled.

The overnight rain had stopped – it’s always easier to make the decision to go when it’s not actually raining – but in theory we were going to go even if it had been wet.

We had a civilised start at 9am, had lunch on top in the sun with good views and a bit of powder snow. We trotted over for a brief explore of the rock outcrop before descending back to the cars.

19 June 2010
‘Not the Dun Thing’

Organiser: Raymond Salisbury

On the strike of eight o’clock, three hardy souls were united in the common bond of tramping brotherhood. They drove up the mighty Maitai valley.
Donning polypro, boots and rainjackets, the trio disappeared behind a curtain of persistent drizzle.

A couple of hours’ steady climbing brought our intrepid adventurers to the ‘new’ track. This route is now of Great Walk standard, and links the old track up to Dun Saddle with Coppermine Saddle, neither of which wasattained.

They reached an impasse, a swollen stream. Winds were gusting and the track itself was being flooded. The decision was made to retreat –they hadn’t done Dun.

Four hours of determined grunt saw the party back at the Maitai Dam carpark, none the worse for wear. The trio were: Dan McGuire, Christopher Louth (guest) & Raymond Salisbury (scribe).

26–27 June 2010
Slaty Peak & Mt Starveall – Mount Richmond Forest Park

Organiser: Pat Holland

A group of six packed into the two Suzukis, plus the Glover family in their ute, made for elven souls heading up the Lee Valley/Lucy Creek forest access for the start of the easy route up to Mount Starveall.

Despite a dubious forecast, it was mild, fine and calm as we headed along the ridge, reaching the hut for an early lunch in a regulation 1.5 hours. Grand views were had of the Rintouls, which were well-capped with snow.

Up the steepening ridge to Starveall summit with lots of stops for views and photo opportunities in 15cm snow. Everything looked splendid, but the wind from the South was stronger and nippier.

So, off down the ridge into the welcome shelter of the bush. We followed an excellent track to Slaty Hut which we reached mid-afternoon.
Unfortunately, the six-bunk hut was already occupied by two layabouts who had choppered in the day before with booze, a viscious dog and tiny puppy.

The owner would not put the big dog outside, as he had no chain and the weather was packing up. So, it was tied to the bunkpost under a sleeping bag and sat upon by the owner, emmitting snarls and snores for the next 15 hours!

However, we all settled down by evening with two sleeping on the floor and the Glovers tenting outside as snow began to fall. The trip leader was very unwell with a chest cold so our club President was ousted from the bunk he had bagged.

After a moderate, stormy night with 10cm of snow, we arose to a fabulous morning. Departure was a fashionable 9:30am and, shortly thereafter, we dropped packs to climb the ridge to Slaty Peak. We enjoyed spectacular views all around with Old Man well-plastered with snow. Tapuaenuku gleamed high in the background.

Our return to the vehicles via Starveall was very pleasant in mild, sunny conditions. Donato and Raymond reached the high peak on Starveall while we lunched in the sunshine, with Tasman Bay at our feet.

It was another great weekend in the hills stolen from winter.Intrepid trekkers were: Pat Holland (leader), Mark Stevens, Raymond Salisbury, Dion Pont, Marie Lenting, Glover family (Mike, Deidre, Chelsea, Alice, Wade), & Donato Romanazzi (guest).

Late June 2010
Craig Peak – Westland National Park

Private Trip Report by: Mike Drake

With no significant tramping for some time, except for a stroll up to Angelus (by one), two trampers were following the weather maps closely. A weather window was looking good down south, and having savoured Franz Josef in May, we thought Mt Fox and the ridge beyond might be interesting.

During the walk up the steep tree rooted track I smelt petrol - the 'O' ring on the stove container was missing. Various options were quickly reviewed; cold food, camp in the bush, or find another 'O' ring in Fox Glacier. Fortunately none of these options were necessary as my spares kit had a replacement 'O' ring. This $3 part could have changed the trip from very enjoyable to miserable (I now have another two spare 'O' rings).

Reaching the ridge we were on the lookout for a campsite. A flat area with sun, a view and water supply (frozen tarn) looked pretty good. But be careful if your tent frontage happens to be icy; ice skating with mountaineering boots doesn't work! Whilst having a mug of tea we realised that the sun would set behind a hill. Very shortly we were walking back along the ridge with all our dinner gear, to find a spot to watch the sunset over the West Coast. What a great spot it proved to be - clear skies, great sunset, moon rise over the mountains, and not a breath of wind.

For our early start the next day the full moon again came in useful. An hour into the walk we came across hunters (rifle outside) still in their tent! I guess with the heavy boots stomping by they probably decided to roll over since the deer would be scurrying in all directions (we did indeed come across some fresh tracks further along the ridge).

After many ups and downs and without any difficulties we eventually found our peak. The mostly ankle deep snow, clear skies in a windless terrain and little helicopter noise, made for a pleasant, but long, meander along the ridge. Then it was back to the camp and a rather late lunch. We'd rather underestimated the travel time and both left our lunch back at camp.

The prospect of the wood fire back at base camp (Porter Lodge in Fox Glacier township) and warm showers had us packing up camp at 15:30, and starting the slow descent of the steep, rooted track, much of it in the dark. At 20:00 we eventually popped out of the forest onto the road, after a 13.5 hour day. I guess we achieved our objective - stretching our legs.

Climbers were: Ruth Hesselyn and Mike Drake (scribe)

14 June 2010
Club Night

Guest Speakers: Mike Drake & Ruth Hesselyn

Mountaineering gear was spread all over the  room; ice tools, poo tubes and rope. The projector warmed up and soon we were enjoying magnificient scenes of rock and snow. Mike and Ruth had recently done an alpine course on the Sealy Range in Mt Cook National Park, and eagerly explained many of the things they had learned.

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