Trip Reports, July-August 2010


  1. Mt Campbell
  2. Whispering Falls
  3. Croesus Track
  4. Angelus Hut
  5. Mt Brewster
  6. Hacket & Browning Huts
  7. Club Night Reports

27 June 2010 – Mt Campbell – Arthur Range

Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

A partridge in a pear tree pales in comparison with kererus and a tui in a stand of native bush, such a treat for fourteen exuberant trampers about to meet the challenge of Mount Campbell. From the start of the muddy farm road it was onwards and upwards and upwards and upwards under an unseasonably warm sun, which necessitated an early disrobing session of warm clothing.

A brief respite was the meandering track through a stand of beech forest and then out into the open for the burst of energy required to reach the summit, its carpet of sparkling snow and Café Communications for our welcome lunch break.

What a stupendous view – with the scenery, sky and sea, stretching endlessly beyond, below, behind and in front of us.

On the return journey through the beech forest, Maurice’s keen eyesight spied a large Powelliphanta shell nestled in a bed of fallen brown beech leaves, but it couldn’t compete in size with the gigantic boulder being unearthed and manoevered by a bulldozer further down the farm access road.

A final clamber over a stile brought an end to muddy boots and a satisfying and enjoyable day.

Thank you to: Andy Clark, Annie Hill, Brenda Griffin, Dan McGuire, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Graeme Davey, John Faber, Katie Cloughley, Lou Kolff, Mary Honey, Maurice Cloughley, Sarah Vickerman, Ulla Norlander and visitor, Chris Louth for your enthusiasm and congenial company. 

4 July 2010 – Whispering Falls & Mines – Nelson

Leader: David Rae

Twelve people came on this trip on a fine frosty morning leaving from the Hacket car park about 10am. The trip to the waterfalls was mostly in shade with areas of frost passed through.

The river was reasonably full and one waterfall was going – a lovely sight. We went to the flat area above the falls and enjoyed a good panorama of the surrounding hills. We thought we identified Mount Starveall to the south – I’ll have to climb it one day and verify this!

Returning to find a lunch spot, we passed a school party – one of several enjoying the area that day. We enjoyed lunch at a sunny spot near the Miner Creek/Hacket Creek intersection.

After lunch most of us carried on to the chrome mine further up the valley. The area was bathed in sun and very still. The site is marked generally with a signpost but you have to know where the tunnel is: downhill, just off the track before the sign. Inside the tunnel we found some cave wetas on the roof  which reminded me of orcs scuttling on the walls of the Mines of Moria in The Lord Of The Rings.

We returned to the cars about 3.15pm after a social day in the hills.

Trip participants were: Beverley Muirhead, Nick and Ben Kirby, Gillian Arbuthnott, Emily Gee, Val Latimer, Annie Hill, David and Hazel Rae, Jo Pattison, Georgie Fisher and Hilary Burbidge.


10–11 July 2010 – Croesus Track, Paparoa National Park

Leader: Raymond Salisbury

welcome piccie

In a convoy of three, we drove for four hours to Blackball, a town frozen in a time warp. Nothing stirred, not a soul in sight. Our wheels turned slowly as we passed Formerly the Blackball Hilton, (on Hilton Street) with its own antiquated telephone box painted fire engine red.

We were also frozen, with the temperature an invigorating one degree above zero. We donned mittens, beanies, polypro, and headed up the metre-wide Croesus Track. This old gold mining pack track was a doddle; we crossed three wooden swingbridges to the second hotel site for lunch. [Time: 1:20 hours.]

A patch of sunlight filtered through the permafrost,  when we continued up the trail to Garden Gully Hut, a restored relic from the 30s. More mature members went on ahead to Ces Clark Memorial Hut to claim one of 16 mattresses – younger members visited the stamping battery, some 15 minutes up Garden Gully, which is aptly named and very beautiful.

Our party of eleven reached the huts in 3–4.5 hours, at their own paces. The sacking bunks in Top Hut ensured Ruth, Renee and Grant had a cold night’s knap. The coal fire and glazed picture windows in Ces Clark ensured the rest of us rested well, in relative luxury. This hut was named after a local ranger who worked hard to re-open the miner’s track, and died before the hut was completed.

Most of us did the obligatory climb of Croesus Knob (1204m) to shoot the sun setting over the Tasman Sea. Night fell and cold drove us down to lower altitude. Dion and I braved the wind chill to look out for Grant. I blew my whistle, Dion flashed his headlamp. Within minutes, Grant appeared, silhouetted on a tussock ridge. He’d managed to make a lightning ascent of Mt Ryall (1220m), three kilometres to the north.

Sunday saw some of us return to the Knob. While I shot the sun climbing over the distant Paparoa Ranges, Tony and Dion scouted about for old mine tunnels, tailings and rusted aerial tramways. Uta and Marie made a dash toward Mt Ryall whilst Ruth and Bev started for the cars.

By 3pm, our party was reunited. Blackball’s solitary shop sold us icecreams. Reefton’s tea house sold us, um, tea. A loo stop in Murchison, and we were home.

Happy customers were: Beverley Muirhead, Grant R. Standing (guest), Silvano Lorandi (guest), Dion Pont, Renee Visser, Raymond Salisbury (scribe), Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, Marie Lenting, Uta Purcell & Ruth Hesselyn.

24–25 July – Angelus Hut Nelson Lakes National Park

Leader: Dion Pont


A small but keen party headed up the Pinchgut Track in excellent weather. Surprisingly mild for mid-winter and we were all in a good sweat by the time we reached the shelter.

Mt Robert Ridge was virtually clear of snow and excellent time was made to a lunch stop under Julius Peak. Then a bit more softish snow through to Angelus Basin which was reached in five hours.

The new hut is magnificent but was cold with only three other occupants. Unfortunately, DOC had not restocked the firewood but a scavenging team found enough off-cuts for a small fire to just take the edge off. The water pipe was frozen and the lake ice was 20cm thick, so axe and ice-axe came in handy.

A wonderful evening with clear sky and full moon giving an awesome feel to the whole basin. Splendid bunkroom, but also some splendid snoring.

However, a keen threesome headed off early to climb Mt Angelus. This was successfully accomplished by the direct route without incident. Crampons secured and speeded the descent.

Then, final pack-up and off like a shot back along the ridge. Back to car park in four hours – time for coffee in St Arnaud. Another weekend stolen from winter!
Trampers were: Dion Pont, Mark Stevens, Pat Holland (scribe), Julie Marriott & Donato Romanazzi.

18–23 August 2010 – Mt Brewster & Biv – Mt Aspiring National Park

Leader: Dion Pont

Five hours’ drive took the party to Franz Josef, via coffee shops and antique dealers in Greymouth and Hokitika. The NZAC lodge provided basic accommodation for our tramping trio.

After a couple of hours’ drive to Haast Pass, they parked at Fantail Falls, and forded the Haast River, ankle-deep. Climbing a well-used spur track took them to the new Brewster Hut, resplendent in crimson, with 12 bunks, a wet-gear foyer, and double-glazed windows. A brief snow shower passed over, then the climbers settled in for the evening.

On Day Three, Mike and Ruth arose for an alpine start around 4am. However, route finding around to the top of the glacier proved difficult in the dark. More time was lost in roping over bergeshrunds.

Some time after midday, the intrepid NTC duo turned back, a mere 200m from the top of Mt Brewster. Time had run out. On returning to the hut, and Dion, who had his own adventures up Mt Armstrong, the party descended to the car by headlamp.

The third night was spent back in Franz Josef. As the party returned to Nelson, another glorious sunny day was enjoyed.

Climbers were: Dion Pont, Ruth Hesselyn & Mike Drake.

22 August 2010 – Hacket & Browning Huts – Mount Richmond F Park

Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

The sunshine at the ‘swing’ bridge was a welcome respite from the shade and piercing cold along the wet and muddy, puddled service road from the Hacket carpark. However, the crystal clear river was running fast and loud as we wended our way along rocky terrain and soft carpets of pine needles to the Hacket Hut for a welcome cup of tea – well, one never knows exactly what liquid one’s fellow trampers fill their vacuum flasks!

From here, two of the group returned to Nelson and the rest of us headed off onward and upwards through the ‘enchanted forest’ of dappled sunlight, gorgeous soft mosses and ferns, windfalls and more muddy patches to the Browning Hut for lunch on the warm, sun-drenched grassy area in front of the hut.

Sarah’s observation that the white, floppy object in the toilet was in fact somebody’s pillow and not a dead sheep was very reassuring; as you will all know there is not a lot of space for a human in that type of amenity, let alone sharing with a sheep, and a dead one at that.

The return journey necessitated more river crossings (four in total for the day), the pleasure of hearing tuis, the confirmation that according to the Irish, green does come in an array of forty shades and hues, and the opportunity to absorb the tranquility of nature.

Thank you to: Bernard Molloy, Beverley Muirhead, Dan McGuire, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Gretchen Williams, Kelvin Drew, Marie Lenting, Sarah Vickerman, Uta Purcell, Mike Locke and visitors Alison Arron, Georgina Rayner, Katie Greer and Peter Vella for a day of satisfaction and pleasure.

14 June – 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.

2 August – Club Night & AGM
Guest Speaker: Craig Potton

The legendary local publisher, photographer and conservationist Craig Potton entertained and educated a full house with his slideshow on Wild Rivers.

Before this, we slightly re-adjusted our committee for the next year. Craig said it was the shortest Annual General Meeting he’d ever seen!   



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