Trip Reports

24 June 2006 - Mt Robert Snowcraft Course . Organiser: Grahame Harris

When DOC advised that 4WD vehicles were stranded on the road up to Mt Arthur, Mt Robert became the alternative destination. Off we set, to hopefully slippery slopes to practise using crampons and iceaxes. At the Mt Robert carpark the group split, with the experienced people setting forth to do their own thing whilst the novices remained behind for the first (and most colourful) of Grahame’s instructions. A huff and puff up the Pinchgut, to our first practice spot just beyond the Bushline Shelter. Grahame efficiently demonstrated the self-arrest technique – including taking a head-long dive down the slope (one doesn’t always conveniently land on one’s backside). Only a few hardy souls were keen to imitate Grahame’s high dive, most did a crouch and bellyflop. After much slithering and sinking in the too-soft snow, we continued up to Relax Hut where we had a very pleasant lunch enjoying the novel feeling of sunshine. Then it was on with the crampons and more instruction and practice, before we were let loose for a wander up the ridgeline. An hour later we were heading back down, enjoying the grip of the crampons as we descended the Pinchgut track.

The experienced ones climbed to Julius Summit where everyone wanted to share Ken’s thermos of coffee and where they were joined by two members of the Alpine Club and two skiers who’d given up on skiing for the day. A great day in beautiful weather. Many thanks to Grahame for his excellent instruction in some very handy snow-tramping techniques.

Instruction party: Grahame Harris, Steve Beatson, Trish Bennett, Jocelyn Winn, Rosemary Weir, Lindsay Twiname (scribe), and visitors Ingrid Stewart, Shane Winterton, John & Blake Faulkner, and Steve Thurlow.

Summit party: Ruth Hesselyn, Andy Clark, Colin Duncan, Mark Stevens, Dion Pont, Bob Janssen, Ken Ridley, and visitor Mike Daly.
24 June 2006 - Wooded Peak Cancelled

2 July 2006 - Coldwater Hut. Organiser: Gillian Arbuthnott

Being cheerfully informed by the DOC Centre officer that an 8.8-degree frost had been recorded at 8.00am was no deterrent to nine tenacious trampers who eagerly joined the frozen track leading off the lower car park on Mt Robert Road. Once out off the scrubby vegetation and ensuing shade, we were rewarded with the sight of Lake Rotoiti’s silvery waters glistening in the winter sunshine and splendidly reflecting the snow-covered eastern peaks. Although relatively dry underfoot, there was evidence of either recent snowfall or strong winds judging by the debris scattered along the track once we had entered the beech forest. Rock hopping or stream splashing was the order of the day because of the ice-coated natural log bridges and a short diversion down to a stony beach provided ample opportunities for the end of year Club photo competition. Then off the track again to the marvel at the spectacular Whisky Falls before lunch in the sun at Coldwater Hut. A brisk return journey in noticeably colder but fine weather required a brief stop at the jetty opposite the Whisky Falls track to admire the view and once again bring out the cameras. Rather surprisingly there were no takers for ice cream at St Arnaud on the homeward journey.

Rotoiti Ramblers were Geoff Stevens, Gillian Arbuthnott, Grahame Harris, Hec Arbuthnott, John

Lammin, Ross Price, Sharan Foga and visitors Katie and Maurice Cloughley.
2 July 2006 - Ben Nevis . Organiser: Bob Janssen

Richmond 8.00am… 19 hardy souls gathered to share a flotilla of 4Xdrive vehicles. Wairoa gorge was full of ice, but the drivers pressed on, even charging up the last very steep bit of forestry road to the Ben Nevis tramping track, Many thanks to our courageous drivers and to Dion Pont for showing us a direct route to the track. By 10am we stopped for morning tea and then charged up into the bush, where much snow was about. Undeterred we pressed on and as we came to the edge of the bush there was a miserable cold strong NW wind. Getting to the top was then really tough but when the going gets tough the tough get going! At the top we had great views of snow covered Tappy, Gordons Knob and Rintoul before getting out of the wind (-3*C on top) for a quick lunch. Stormin Norman lost his bag, which rolled out of sight. Ruth Hesselyn showed up the men by chasing the bag for half a kilometre, then effortlessly running back up the hill in her usual “Superwoman” style.

We arrive back at the vehicles in record time.

A grand day and heroic effort by Ruth, Carole Crocker, Dion and Barry Pont, Sky the dog, Norm

Lovelock, Trish Bennett, Alison and David Nichol, Margaret Page, Rosemary Weir and partner

Steve, Steve Beatson, Bernard Molley, Mary Honey, Noel File, Peter Chapman, Dan McGuire (Scribe) and

Bob Janssen who did a sterling job as organiser.
8-9 July 2006 - Castle Rock. Organiser: Grahame Harris

Participants – Yvonne Kyle, Marguerite Verheul, Jocelyn Winn, Ross Price and Arthur Jonas. (Grahame was absent, being incapacitated)

Departed Marahau at 9am we made our way up the easterly inland track to Holyoake’s Clearing for lunch in pleasant sunny weather. We then continued on to the Castle Rock Hut, arriving at about 3.15pm. With various priorities hot drinks were made, kindling chopped, the Castle Rocks visited (by the ladies), clothing aired, a bit of sitting around in the sun done, until the temperature cooled as the sun set and we retreated into the hut and the fire. Unfortunately the temperature didn’t cool as much as we anticipated and we were soon shedding clothes, opening windows and even going outside for a “cool off” as Doris (the stove) did her stuff. That stove was so efficient – one log was used, for the kindling and the bigger stuff – that it cooked most of the meals, truly a “Little Corker”.

Lots of conversation, but we gradually took to our sleeping bags, at least, to lie on them while the hut cooled, but then the focus turned to the scratching in the wall behind the fireplace. Might have been a possum that took off when it heard Marguerite, the only person out of bed, on her way to sort it out. Or it might have been a mouse in the wall also apprehensive about what Marguerite in a sorting out mood might be capable of. More likely it was the brushwood in the woodshed being blown against the wall in the breeze.

The morning was pleasantly mild, not a cloud in sight. We returned to Holyoake’s Clearing for morning tea, then took the western inland track (very slippery in places) down to the Torrent Bay turnoff for lunch. We joined the coastal track to Marahau, meeting, passing or being passed by a number of tourist walkers, and getting some stunning views of the islands, deserted beaches and a glassy sea.
July 8 – 9, 2006 - The Camel (instead of Mt Paske) (1889m) Organiser: Mike Drake

Lots and lots of snow. David McEwen (Rainbow Station) painted a picture of deep snow, with big drifts, and a major expedition to reach Paske Hut. So a change of plan was necessary. I was reminded that the Alpine Club were heading up The Camel, so a quick call to my contact, and it was arranged.

However, the weekend weather forecast wasn’t great; showers on Saturday, and westerly winds on the tops. But having a lot of twitchy trampers wanting to get cold, the trampers went, and the Alpine Club decided to stay at home.

Saturday morning wasn’t great, but it was good to be out, with a pack on my back (did I say that?). Heading up the Hamilton River the tops were well and truly clagged in, with light rain in the valley. However, after a couple of hours up the valley a good camp site was found, tents erected, and the billy boiling. Further exploring up the valley, then down the valley, found a good spot to head into the bush. After some steep climbing a route was confirmed for the morning. Back at camp the pyrotechnic gene was in full swing, and a camp fire blazing away. After a gourmet meal, and further cups of tea we retired to our cold tents.

The next morning we retraced our exploratory tracks of the previous day, and headed up. Once out of the bush the snow was knee deep and progress was slow. As the day unfolded, clear sky emerged, and there were many furtive glances at the tops to look for any sign of the westerly winds mustering. The day remained calm, and the snow soft. Eventually sufficient height was reached to confirm our peak. I find that provided you place one foot in front of the other you eventually reach your objective. Mountains are not conquered but they slowly submit to patience and persistence.

However, with a certain member of the team scooting over the snow, making less indentation than the rabbits, while yours truly plunges into the snow, the two P’s have to be continually drawn on. At the top further digitisation took place, and then it was down. A member of the team did try a new descent method of tobogganing over rocks without a toboggan, but luckily only minor damage was done.

Back at the camp, billy on and tents down and then a fast march down the valley. Our torches were again required for the last hour in the bush. So, another peak has experienced the NTC boots, and with a dark-to-dark day, a full and good day was had by all. Thanks to the team for a very enjoyable weekend; Carole Crocker, Ruth Hesselyn, Pat Holland, Dion Pont, Mark Stevens.
15 July 2006 - First Aid Course:Tony Haddon

Second First Aid Course goes without hitch. Jolly whizz bang of a show we hear !
16 July 2006 - Ruby Bay. Lindsay Twiname cancelled due to lack of interest

16 July 2006 - Mt Meares. Organiser: Tony Haddon

Carole Crocker, Brian McLean, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Gretchen Williams, Dan McGuire, Tom Brown,

‘Twas a gorgeous & sunny day. We set off up the Hackett at a civilised hour and it seemed to take forever to get to Browning Hut (not visited) and morning tea. We broke out of the bush into the ultramafic country and could see forever! The colour of the vegetation was gorgeous in the low winter sun – burnt oranges, rich browns, gold and greens. We lounged in it during lunch and feasted on the views before setting out over the various ‘lumps’, wondering as we reached each one if this was Mt Meares. Then up, through the bush to the hut on Mt Malita, down the forestry road and back to the vehicles.
22-23 July 2006 - Angelus. Organiser: Mark Stevens

Yaaaarwhooooooo!!!!!!! It’s Winter I hear you say. Well a small select few were okay with it being Winter and with it a lot of snow on the mountain waiting to be walked over.

So the annual pilgrimage to Angelus Hut to climb Mt Angelus began with a visit to DOC at St Arnaud, to be told that there was deep snow in some places. The DOC ranger looked worried when this news cheered us up. Still smiling from the news of deep snow the group set off up Pinchgut Track in the warm morning sun and we reached Relax Shelter, then travel was good along the ridge. Julius Summit was reached and crampons and ice axes were used all the way to the hut.

A couple from the Wellington Tramping Club had brought snow shoes with them and tried to use them on the ridge – their comment on snow shoes was not glowing when sliding. With the hut reached and the snow dug out of the doorway, we settled in for a night of pasta for six, card games for four which involved a lot of cheating (you know who you are).

5.00am was the start time for the climb up Angelus and when the alarm rang, there was not a lot of movement. I must mention here that there was a strong wind blowing, but four hopefuls extracted themselves from their warm and cosy sleeping bags. A few gusts and cloud on the way up did not deter the four summiteers from reaching the top of Angelus and the views to behold and the sunrise on the mountains made it all worth while. Back at the hut cleaning was in progress, cups of tea drunk and packing done before the party headed back along the ridge with the wind pushing us along at a rapid pace. Threatening clouds didn’t bring any more snow, but it was a different scenario at St Arnaud where lattes were drunk by a happy group of eight trampers.

Thanks to Ruth Hesselyn, Dion Pont, Mike Drake, Marguerite Verheul, Pat Holland, Shane Winterton and Jocelyn Winn.
23 July Mt Duppa, Collins Valley - Organiser: Barry Pont

On a fine day 10 trampers in two vehicles left Nelson for the Whangamoas. Mt Duppa track is a steep short climb of close to two hours from leaving the carpark. The wind turned from a S/wester to a strong cold icy wind on top, which made it very unpleasant to go any further than the tops. A very good view of the snow covered Kaikoura and other eastern ranges. A short day trip ended back in Nelson around 3 pm.

On the trip were Uta Purcell, Noel File, Dan McGuire, Norm Lovelock, Gretchen Williams, Grahame Harris, Trish Bennett, Joseph Hippolite, visitor Trevor Hunt and Barry Pont.
31 July 2006 - Barnicoat Range. Organiser: Gretchen Williams

Dan McGuire, Tony Haddon, Uta Purcell, Barry Pont, Gillian Arbuthnott, Alison Nicoll, Geoff Stevens, Gretchen Williams & Ann Sheridan (visitor).

Just the right number for an easy vehicle shuffle between Nelson and Richmond! We set off from Cropp Place in Richmond and went up the gully to emerge just below the fire lookout an hour later. The gully is a real treasure so close to town – picturesque reservoir, creek, waterfall, nikau groves, tall tree ferns and large native trees. There were a few comments querying the easy classification of the trip but I thought the bit of a bush bash and clambering when we ‘lost’ the markers and the wire provided in the trackless part added a bit of excitement. We popped out of the bush to low mist and drizzle, donned wet gear and headed north along the wide and winding forestry road all the way to Marsden Valley. It was cold and windy and surprisingly there were no paragliders that day – just hardy (or fool hardy?) trampers and mountain bikers but we were treated to the occasional view when the cloud cleared and it was a very invigorating trip.
30 July 2006 - Mt. Royal. Organiser: Ian Pavitt

A group of 6 assembled on a rather dodgy day for this trip to Mt. Royal. Once reaching the road end all steamed off towards our first stop being Devils Creek hut where smoko was enjoyed. On starting up the ridge from the hut it soon became clear that the track was indeed maintained contrary to previous information. Who were we to complain? A good grunt with the loss of plenty of sweat was the order for the lower section of the hill. The wind rose and the rain got heavier as we climbed towards the summit, which was reached in fearsome conditions. Cloud, strong winds with passing showers meant time on the top was reduced to the bare minimum – real hypothermia conditions if one was ill prepared.

A quick bite to eat was had on our descent at the bush edge and a short time later had caught the 2 that did not quite reach the top. Devils Creek hut was again welcomed for a much-needed break and yarn on our return with dry shelter given from the conditions. A good walk out to the cars, with all enjoying the trip. Just shows that even with crook weather there is no need to cancel trips, as some are keen to do.

Those who enjoyed the wind and wet were Andy Clark (scribe), Grahame Harris, Ruth Hesselyn, Brian Mc Lean and visitors from Ireland, Sid Howlett and Conor McNally. (Ian was absent being incapacitated)
6 August 2006 – Boulder Bank. Organiser: Andy Clark

Another group of 6 was the final number assembled, after last minute cancellations from members concerned about the inclement weather. It did start to rain on occasions very lightly, but with no wind and the thought of a days walk with pleasant company, it was to be yet another great trip. Many ‘art’ objects were pointed out to the art ignorant amongst us of whom I was one, still has me baffled! Bach’s plus other odds and ends were looked at in detail on our way to the lighthouse. Having the key courtesy of Port Nelson was a bonus with access to the inside of the lighthouse a novelty for all, even with the stairs at the top being a challenge for some.

On to the cut for an explore and then back to the shelter of the lighthouse for a second lunch and further views from the top. An uneventful trip back to the cars with most pleased to rest the feet from the stones of the Boulder Bank.

Those who I’m sure enjoyed the trip were Andy and Nicola Clark, Karen Wardell, Grahame Harris, Uta Purcell and visitor Amy Tomberg.
4-7 August 2006 – Mt Paske. (Altered from Arthurs Pass) Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

Painful bottomless snow, high avalanche risk and IF you reach Barker Hut --- were just some of the commentsfrom Arthurs Pass. Hmmm! So after considering the alternatives, Mike and I came up with the non-original plan of rescheduling his Mt Paske trip, altered because of road conditions at the time.

Friday morning saw six of us parked at the end of The Rainbow, taking in tea and nibbles while deciding on who should carry the rope, a 4kg bonus. Being considerate people we decided on shared hour-long bursts, with Mike being given the first honour. Heavily laden with four days food, a tent (just in case) and all the usual winter paraphernalia, we plodded our way up the 15kms of riverbed, grazed tussock then snow to Paske Hut, a neat little six bunker beautifully stacked with firewood. Apparently the army had dropped this off after a training exercise.

We were up at 5am and an hour or so later crunching crisply along the valley floor, that is till we reached the bush where progress slowed as we ploughed our way through deep drifts to the basin above. Fortunately this isn’t a long section and we were traversing the slopes to the South East Ridge by sunrise. The weather was perfect, just a pity about the snow! After regrouping on the saddle, it was onwards and upwards with snow plodding being the order of the day.

A late smoko and discussion on progress was taken on one of the prominent knobs. Marguerite and Bob decided to stay put while they were still enjoying it and the rest of us pottered on around the corner to see if conditions were any better. They were, so we just kept going. A bit more steep loose stuff where Carole decided to call it quits and not long after this we got the rope out, though non-essential we decided it would be good practice. After this it was more step plodding, mainly by Mark with his mountain bikers legs to a sheltered spot not far from the top. A quick stop for food and while we were eating Mike plodded on by. I wasn’t too keen on the soft snow and lack of purchase for the ice axe nor or that matter the run-out, so I left them to it and enjoyed the views instead.

I’m sure it all seemed painfully slow to those waiting down the ridge and I guess it was. The top was reached about 1.30pm, 71/2 hours after leaving the hut, very slow considering it usually takes between 4-5 hours. Thank goodness the downhill was a lot faster and we were back at the hut with daylight to spare. As per usual, we ate really well with a joint ‘pot luck’ dinner cooked by Marguerite and desert by Carole.

Sunday dawned grey and overcast, good for sleeping in, so it wasn’t until 9.30am that we left for a look at Paske Saddle. The route is easy, mainly traversing gentle slopes with a bit of a climb at the end and by mid-day we were munching lunch on the top in cold blustery conditions. By this stage the tops were clagged in but we still had views down both the aske and Clarence Valleys, quite impressive. Back to the hut by early afternoon, so it was nice just to have time to relax and enjoy the space. Bob’s shower was even tried by some of the braver souls.

Monday it was back out more or less the same way, under misty skies, drizzle then rain for the last hour or so. Very lucky considering Nelson had had some pretty bad weather during that time. A good trip, thanks to those who participated --- they were:

Bob Janssen, Carole Crocker, Marguerite Verheul, Mark Stevens and Mike Drake.
13 August 2006 - Hartebreak Ridge. Organiser: Christine Hoy

On a very cool frosty morning, 13 trampers set off from the Hackett car park to walk the Miners Circuit - Heartbreak Ridge Route as it is generally known .

Turning off the main track to Whispering Falls, we puffed our way up through the frozen flax and shrub to the top of the ridge where we stopped for morning tea. It was still fairly cool, but patches of sun began to break through as we navigated our way along the ridge, deviating occasionally in order to find the route as it does seem to wander around a bit in places.

Arriving at the top of the range where the track meets up with the Rocks Hut-Totara Saddle Track at around midday, we stopped for our lunch break. Someone was heard to mutter that it would be more appropriate to call it the Heart Attack Ridge. Since it was quite cold we didn’t linger long over lunch. We followed the usual route down to the saddle and continued on down to Browning Hut where we took a short break. Parkas became the order of the day as a shower of rain began to fall at this point. Leaving Browning Hut we headed down the track back to the car park arriving there at 3.20.

Thanks to all who came and made it such an enjoyable day.

Margot and Peter Syms, Dan McGuire, Mary Honey, Grahame Harris, John Lammin, Geoff Stevens, Barry James, Dion Pont, Yvonne Kyle, Adam Womersley and visitor Sid Howlett.
19 August -Jenkins Hill Loop. Organiser: Mary Honey

Mary set up the trip but unfortunately could not come because she was sick. The rest of us got our exercise up the firebreak to Jenkins Hill, and then enjoyed the pleasant tramp through the bush round the head of the Brook Valley to Third House and down the Dun Mountain Walkway. Clouds and mist came down briefly but mainly it was fine and sunny, and we completed the trip in good time.

Party: Uta Purcell, Dan McGuire, Alice Patterson, Grahame Harris, and visitors Bernard Molloy and Val Latimer. (Mary was absent, being incapacitated)
Scotts Knob – 18-20 August – cancelled due to threatening weather forecast.

Private Trip Report(s)

Wow! Did it rain! – Grahame Harris

Having missed the Club trip to Castle Rock hut, I did it privately, going in on a fine Tuesday and coming out on a wet Wednesday. It started to rain (yes, real rain!) as it got dark on Tuesday night and was still going on my way home on Wednesday. The tracks on the way out were mainly streams; many of them ankle-deep racing water. Many streams crossing the track, not even noticed on the way in, were raging torrents on the way out. I arrived at the Holyoake Clearing shelter for lunch in the dry – except that the earth floor was flooded ankle deep. About half-an-hour from the Coastal track, an insignificant little cross-stream had become a raging cascade falling on the track. I had to grope my way with my feet while ignoring the water bucketing down on my head and shoulders. On the road home, many fields around Riwaka were flooded, and streams and drains were raging brown torrents, with some road flooding, and slips still happening as I passed on the Marahau hill. I haven’t had so much fun in years!