Trip Reports, January-March 2011


  1. Lodestone, Kahurangi NP
  2. Mount Starveall, Mt Richmond FP
  3. Captain Creek Hut, Mt Richmond FP
  4. Mount Alexander, Athurs Pass NP
  5. Maitai Valley, Nelson
  6. Cable Bay, Nelson
  7. Mount Travers, Nelson Lakes NP
  8. Parachute Rocks, Nelson Lakes NP
  9. Scotts Knob, Leatham Conservation Area
  10. Pearse Resurgence, Kahurangi NP
  11. Mount Patriarch, Mt Richmond FP
  12. Wainui Hut, Abel Tasman NP
  13. Hartbreak Ridge & Miner River, Mt Richmond FP

2 January 2011 – Lodestone – Kahurangi NP

Leader: Uta Purcell

We started the New Year by bagging a peak, small, steep and close to home: Lodestone. Our five-member team represented New Zealand, New Foundland, South Africa, People’s Republic of China and Germany. Undeterred by a cold, strong wind, we scaled the summit in two hours, briefly taking in the panorama of Kahurangi National Park from a different angle. We were happy. Descending, we had to pay attention to our footing through the rocks and loose stuff. How surprised we were that the entry to the bush was still marked with a big, ancient, rusty disk. The sky was blue, the wind dropped, we lunched on the track, mossy and welcoming. Mark, the raconteur, entertained and surprised us with stories of Nelson history and its pioneers. Passing through Flora Hut clearing we encountered many people. When we left the Mt Arthur carpark early afternoon, it was totally full.
The tramp was enjoyed by Emily Gee, Mark Graesser, Mary Honey, Dongrui Pang, and scribe Uta Purcell.

8 January 2011 – Mt Starveall – Mt Richmond FP

Leader: Dan McGuire

Four trampers arrived at Hackett carpark at 8am for an assault on Starveall.

Enjoying some great views, we arrived at the hut at midday. After lunch we continued to the summit, just as it began to partially cloud over.

We still had some good views from the top, then raced down to the carpark.
Participants: Dan McGuire (leader), Kazu Yamamoto, Christine Hoy, and Dr. Penny Mitchell (visitor and hopefully soon to be club member).

15 January 2011 – Captain Creek Hut – Mt Richmond FP

Leader: Alison Nicoll

A super day to be out and about beside the beautiful emerald pools of the upper Pelorus River. The trip had a rather hesitant beginning where tunnel vision seemed to prevent two groups of participants from seeing each other, firstly at the church steps and then again missing the sign post of the beginning of the actual track. I can only put this down to good company as a babble of conversation was inclined to take our minds off the task at hand!
The diverse group became quite spread out and not everyone made the hut. However, those that did were rewarded by a great swim in Captains Creek and the slower ones enjoyed a swim at the Emerald pools. Alison reported to DOC on Monday of two tree falls on the track since the big flood of 28 December. We were able to scramble around them without much difficulty and also reported seeing a black cat close to the hut. Altogether, it was a very enjoyable tramp.<
Walkers were: Alison Nicoll, Jocelyn Wynn, Christine Hoy, Pat Holland, Debra Fish, Petra Bolitho, Kelvin Drew, Merrick and Lucia Mitchell,  Richard and Mary Talbot.

8–10 January 2011 – Mt Alexander (1958m) Kaimata Range, Westland

Leader: Ruth Hesselyn

The club programme stated that a climb of Mt Alexander ‘would give stupendous views but require a massive effort’. Correct on both counts, though fortunately the effort wasn’t too bad.

We arrived at Camp Creek a week later than scheduled (due to the weather) and discovered that instead of the ‘overgrown and frequently misleading track’ it was clear and well marked, easy going for the three hours to the hut. This was another surprise, as the ‘locked Landcare Research Base’ is now a DOC hut, complete with outside bath if you feel the need for one.

The next section was more or less straight up. Initially through podocarp forest with smatterings of impressive rata which merged into dense, gnarly alpine scrub. After pushing through this we reached the fascinating rock-festooned ridge, then headed south to a string of tarns. These are somewhat off-route but our info said they were definitely worth visiting. As it eventuated, it was probably not the best choice for a campsite.

I’m not sure whether the depression these tarns lie in form a natural wind tunnel or whether the forecast for fine and calm conditions was inaccurate, but it turned into a sleepless night for most!. Brian probably fared the best, lying low in his bivvy sac, Carole thought she was going into orbit in her lightweight tunnel tent and David had wind whistling past his ears all night as he lay under a fly. Mike and Silvano managed a few hours sleep in Mike’s robust tent while I was secure in my well pegged Microlight.

Dawn eventually arrived and by the time we had packed and retraced our steps to the poled route, the wind had eased. We stashed most of our gear here, shouldered day packs and headed for the summit. The first section was an easy climb up rock, tussock and flower-strewn slopes to the shoulder peak at 1795m. The summit, though only 160m higher and about 1.5km further on is interesting, rock scrambling with the odd exposed section. We finally reached the 1958m peak around mid-day and yes, the views are stupendous – we could even see Mt Cook.

The descent was via the same route, with a relaxed evening being spent in the comfortable shelter of Camp Creek Hut

Day Three and two hours of walking saw us back at Brian’s trusty van, enjoying the cold beer that David had stashed in the creek. Thanks, David.

Fellow climbers were: Brian Renwick, David Blunt, Carole Crocker, Mike Drake & Silvano Lorandi.

23 January 2011 – Maitai Valley – Nelson (3 hours)

Leader: Brenda Griffin

A leisurely start under cloudy skies made a pleasant walk up Atmore Terrace and down to the Water Treatment Station. Leading down to the Maitai River by the camp and walking back to Nelson. A very social and enjoyable morning was had by all.

The morning walkers were: David Blunt, Brenda Griffin (scribe), Val Latimer, Uta Purcell, and Sara Vickerman. Visitors: Rachel Smith, Mary Stebbings, Debbie Fish, Barbara Curtis, Pip Grear and Paddy Johns.

29 January 2011 – Cable Bay Walkway – Nelson

Leader: Ross Price

Under overcast skies, four enthusiasts turned up for this walk. We left The Glen and climbed up to the lookout. There were only a couple of boats on the turquoise sea below. We continued on the track, as Ross had a barbeque date and we had an appointment to see The King’s Speech film.

Suprisingly, few people were on the track – only a group doing the walk in reverse. We lunched at the Sentinel, viewing Peppin Island and the coast below.

After an enjoyable but windy trip, we returned to Ross’s car. Walkers were: Val Latimer (scribe), Ross Price, Jocelyn Winn & visitor Hilary Pearson.

29–31 January 2011 – Mt Travers Ascent (2338m) Nelson Lakes NP

Leader: Ruth Hesselyn

Ken (the oldest) led eight brave souls the seven-hour hike into John Tait Hut. He then fell asleep, prompting Marie to check whether he was dead.  After all he had been stung by wasps on the way in. So had three others. They were brave but they lacked the instant sleep gene.

Anyway, Ken was quite frisky the next morning. Along with all but one (the youngest) we headed for the summit of Mount Travers: good views but cold.

The ascent/descent  took us over ten hours. Without the spaniards, tussock and scree we would have done it in half the time.

On day three, the weather wetted down for the walk out. Our fine leader, Ruth, again demonstrated her bravery by copping another couple of wasp stings.

The consensus was that her bright yellow and black parka was very provocative to the natives. A giant invading wasp  must be attacked – even in the rain.

Eight wet, happy trampers were glad to welcome the water taxi and the quick trip across Lake Rotoiti to the cars and home.

The brave souls were: Ruth Hesselyn, Ken Ridley, Renee Visser, Kelvin Drew, Marie Lenting, Merrick Mitchell, Donato Romanazzi and Ray Caird (scribe).

6 February 2011 – Parachute Rock – Nelson Lakes NP

Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

Rain splashed the cars’ windscreens about ten minutes before St Arnaud. From our starting point at the Lakehead Track at Kerr Bay it was ‘rain jackets on then into the bush and dripping beech forest of the St Arnaud Track.’

In an unofficial humidity level of 99.9% it became a ‘jackets on/jackets off’ scenario until ‘what the heck, a wet t-shirt or shirt is a better option to a dripping jacket.’

After a steady and unrelenting climb, we emerged as Children Of The Mist from the beech forest to be enveloped in low swirling cloud and buffeted by a chilly wind at Parachute Rock, where the white gentians glowed amongst the tussock grasses.

Andy and Petra disappeared from view into the cloud cover to sprint up the remaining 300m to the ridgeline whilst the rest of the group retreated to the shelter of the beech forest for lunch.

The weather eventually cleared and a rapid descent brought us back to our regrouping point at sandfly-infested Kerr Bay. From here we beat a hasty retreat to St Arnaud for coffee and ice-creams.

Thank you for your camaraderie and enthusiasm: Andy Clark, Brenda Griffin, Graeme Davie, Jo Kay, Katie and Maurice Cloughley, Richard Talbot, Sarah Vickerman, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe) and visitors Deborah Fish, Guilda Tegg (WTC member), Karen Smith and Petra Bolitho.

11–12 February 2011 – Scotts Knob – Leatham Conservation Area

Leader: Ruth Hesselyn

On Friday evening six club members left the comforts of civilisation behind and headed for the Leatham Conservation area. The intention: to tackle Scotts Knob, a prominent peak in the Raglan Ranges.

After a three hour trip, we arrived at Greigs Hut, a relatively palatial building, recently renovated, and located at the end of a 14km 4WD track running alongside the Branch River.

An early start on Saturday saw us departing the hut at 6:30am, crossing the suspension bridge over the Branch and following a track up the Scott Stream, then boulder hopping up the stream for the next few hours.

Further up the valley it became obvious that the clouds enveloping the top ridgeline were not going to disappear. Still feeling energetic, we climbed to the 1600m saddle at the head of the Scott Stream instead, where fine views of the nearby ranges, and steep valleys were had, despite the overcast conditions.

With time up our sleeves, rather than return the same way, we decided on a loop back to Greigs via Siberia Hut.

From the saddle we sidled across the scree-covered slopes to the ridge dividing Little Siberia and Siberia Streams. After some reconnaissance and a bit of back-peddling, we managed to negotiate our way down, avoiding many bluffs, following Siberia Stream, boulder-hopping and bush bashing towards the Branch River.

On nearing the Branch, we intersected a new DOC track not shown on the maps which followed the true left, leading us to the welcoming site of Siberia Hut. Only two members of our party had avoided wasp stings during the bush-bash and reading the hut entries revealed a few other trampers incurring the same fate.

After lunch at the hut we followed the Branch River back to Greigs Hut, ten hours after setting out, and a welcoming, reviving hot brew.

Stopping at a stream crossing on the way back out, the clouds lifted enough to reveal the impressive peak (surely deserving a better name?) of Scotts Knob. Those who had not scaled its summit slopes before vowed to return.

Trip members were: Ruth Hesselyn, Carole Crocker, David Blunt, Mark Stevens, Silvano Lorandi & Liam Sullivan (scribe).

13 February 2011 – Pearse River Resurgence – Kahurangi NP

Leader: Mike Locke

We were to be a small, select group anyway, but a SAR callout dropped our numbers further. Consequently, Gillian and I decided to carry on down to the Resurgence on our own. Having to cancel this trip last year due to bad weather it was great to have perfect Goldilocks weather this time; not too hot or too cold.

Lack of recent rain also meant that the river was as friendly as could be for the numerous crossings.

We extended the tramp by parking at the forestry road intersection to avoid the last kilometre of deteriorating road. Recent logging has transformed how it looks in this area with huge stockpiles of logs.

Being such a small team we made good time and morning tea was at the seat that has been installed in cut rock high above the river. This provides a great view looking down onto the river and across to the Sugar Loaf.
At the Resurgence for lunch, it was good to find that the onga onga that was growing around the area had been cut right back enabling us to have a good explore.

Looking down into the uprising water it is hard to imagine how teams have managed to explore this to 182 metres in depth.

We had a steady tramp back except for one lost track episode caused by checking out ripe blackberries.

The dynamic duo was Gillian Arbuthnott and Mike Locke.

19 February 2011– Mt Patriarch (1656m) – Mt Richmond FP

Leader: Raymond Salisbury

Licorice Allsorts provided by the driver ensured the three-hour drive up Northbank, Top Valley and Staircase Roads was less wearisome. An overcast sky and light wind made the dusty, barren tops more bearable on this late summer’s romp along the ranges.

We discarded our wheels in a layby near the end of the maintained road, donned boots and walked the rest of the road which skirts the ridge between the Goulter and Wairau Valleys.

While it looked possible to negotiate this 4WD section, we felt it would be cheating, and did not wish to wreck our vehicles.

Where the trail ends, and the true adventure begins, we re-gathered for lunch.
Katie and Maurice followed us further until the ridge narrowed. Huge gendarmes stabbed into the sky, necessitating some minor scrambles up and over them.

Nearer to the summit, several gullies had to be crossed on unstable boulders and steep screes – nothing too gnarly, but enough to keep us on our toes.

About three hours put us atop Mt Patriarch for a photo by the trig. A total of five hours walk saw us back at the cars. (Ironically, there was actually more time spent driving to this remote location than walking.)

Intrepid climbers were: Jocelyn Winn, Patrick Holland, Katie  Maurice Cloughley, Ron Mailer & Raymond Salisbury (scribe).

20 February 2011 – Wainui Hut – Abel Tasman NP

Leader: Ken Ridley

The leader was the token male in this small group of five walkers.
It was a perfect day for tramping through the beech forest to Wainui Hut, where we had a short rest.

We then proceded up to Evans Ridge to look for a lunch spot. We then proceeded to Moa Park and wandered around in the alpine vegetation.

Then it was back to the ridge above the farm park and down through the farm to the car park – a very pleasant and easy day.

On this trip were Annie Hill, Mary Honey, Emily Gee, Val Latimer and Ken Ridley.

27 February 2011 – Hartbreak Ridge & Miner River – Mt Richmond FP

Leader: Tony Haddon

I am always amazed at the start of this route – straight off the Whispering Falls track after the first wee bridge and straight up. It was a bit of a scramble and the going quite slow but the route was mostly easy to follow although getting a bit over grown in places (and with some gorse at inconvenient spots).

At Point 598-ish we headed off into the scrub, north towards Mt Malita, down the ridge to the Miner River bed. It was nice and low and we were able to progress down the valley boulder hopping and wading back to the second bridge on the Whispering Falls track. There was a huge variety of rock sizes, shapes, colours and textures to keep it interesting and the water was very warm with what could have been didymo in it.

Some of us had a swim back at the Hackett Bridge and we all had a cuppa and wedding cake when we dropped Mark back at his place.

Trampers were: Mark Stevens, Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams, Tony Haddon (leader) & Chris Louth (visitor).