Newsletter, July 2011


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PRESIDENT'S COMMENT > Organised Spontaneity

Very rarely do things happen spontaneously, but when they do, they can be just magic. Most of our memorable moments involve activities with other people ... and most of these have involved people coming together to plan the ‘event’.

Be it a twenty-first, a 40th, 50th or 60th, a family reunion, or a much-needed holiday, engagement or a wedding, or for that matter, a tramping trip, the excitement and the anticipation builds as the planning progresses.

That’s exactly what happens in our tramping club. However, unlike spontaneous events, the club nights and tramping programmes are notimmaculate conceptions, but rather take plenty of conversations, encouragement and now and again (though very rarely) a bit of arm bending.

These club nights and tramps are the lifeblood of the club and are brought to the wider membership by a bunch of enthusiastic, hard working members, commonly known as ‘the committee’.

With regard to the club, it’s that time of the year when we on the committee look to other club members to step up and join in. In fact – the more the merrier. As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’.

Committee meetings are always informative, involve healthy debate and discussion, with dollops of brainstorming and of course, they are always rounded off by a sumptuous supper.

As an aside, I read somewhere recently that many successful people around the world put their personal development down to their non-paid employment activities. Like taking roles in youth groups, sports clubs, church groups, theatrical groups, etc. Even tramping clubs are fantastic places to hone one’s skills and grow as an individual, all the while giving something back to the communities in which you live.

So, when a NTC Committee member next rings you, don’t pass up the opportunity to be able to lend a helping hand, to learn more about the club, to give something back to your community, to grow as an individual and, most of all, have some fun along the way with a mighty bunch of people. Even better, like the blushing bride, say “I will”, even before you are asked!

Lawrie Halkett, President 

MEMBER PROFILE > Merrick Mitchell

1. Place of birth: Cape Town, South Africa.

2. Occupation: Tramper and student! No, really a bit of a jack-of-all-trades at this time of life. Veterinarian now retraining as church pastor. Spent time as a support worker for intellectually disabled before taking on role of medical business manager. House-husband.

3. Been a member for: Coming up four years.

4. How have you benefited from membership? Meeting lots of interesting fellow travellers. Wherever Lucia and I have lived in the South Island we have joined one of the local tramping clubs. Being an individual is important but so is belonging and contributing to a group of like-minded people.

5. Best trip: Always the last one! But some are special, like the Lewis to Nelson Lakes three of us did earlier this year; Mt Travers, also this year; Waimakariri Col in my 40th year, Tapuae-O-Uenuku in my 50th year; North Peak with my brother one summer; tramps with Lucia and our daughters and extended family. When we first arrived in New Zealand we lived in Southland and did some great trips around the Southern Lakes. As a university student I did some memorable multiday trips in the Drakensberg of South Africa.

6. Worst trip: Fading on Crusader a couple of years ago. Just not fit enough or fast enough!

7. Funniest moment: Bumping into my next-door neighbour in Angelus Hut and not recognising him!

8. Scariest moment: A climbing trip when we went off-route and ended climbing the wrong pinnacle, then got benighted, then trying to abseil down – we couldn’t see the end of the rope but we thought it was just long enough to reach the ground; and it was – but only just. Really scary stuff. It was a salutatory lesson early in my climbing career to be better prepared.

9. Favourite tramping hut: Always the next one! Don’t really have a favourite, but some are special, e.g. Woolshed Creek Hut near Mt Somers in Mid Canterbury; Red Gate Hut on Molesworth Station; Sabine Hut. I even like the Hackett Hut!

10. What wild place would you put at the top of your ‘bucket list?’ Trekking in Bhutan. I would also like to visit St Helena Island, in the South Atlantic, where Napoleon died and some of Lucia’s forebears came from.

11.Tell us something that others don’t know about you: My nickname is Mick – my father used to call me this sometimes. I recently started practising Tai Chi.



After the wettest Autumn on record, winter is finally here – hooray! Don’t you love the cold, crisp air every morning, and the smell of woodsmoke every evening? I do. And don’t you feel sorry for those tennis or cricket players who rely on sun for fun; who curse the cold, who burrow and hibernate over the winter months?

I was like that, once, a winter agnostic, if you like. Now I can’t wait for the snow to fall; that powdery white stuff that makes the mountains magic. To feel the steel of my crampon points bite into the ice. Can’t wait.

And there’s lots to cram into these shorter days...

Come along to next club night, where Martin Rodd from DOC will entertain us with his tramping epics. (Remember to get your nominations in earlier for the club’s Annual General Meeting.)

Also, there’s more courses on offer from Mountain Safety Council, including First Aid and mountaincraft; not to mention our own GPS and Compass Training Weekend in September at the Glover’s bach.

If you want to get fitter, try the 20 Summits Challenge. You can support our local rescue chopper, enjoy camraderie with other climbers, and recieve a really nice shirt as a momento.

Lastly, don’t forget to support your own club by participating in a real tramp. (See this month’s excellent Trip Programme, and set some weekends aside. Mark them on a calendar.)

Well, winter has arrived ... it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark: bring it on!

Raymond Salisbury, EDITOR

2011 CLUB NIGHTS > Put these dates in your diary.
7:30pm Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street. Gold Coin.

  • Monday 8 August 'AGM' > Martin Rodd, DOC officer & tramper
  • Monday 3 October > Marguerite V > Hiking the Inca Road & climbing volcanoes in Ecuador, PLUS Ray Salisbury > Cape To Cape Traverse across the North Island
  • Monday 5 December 2011 > Annual Photo Competition

SUBS DUE! > Membership Subscriptions Reminder

Membership subscriptions are now due and are important for the continuing expenses of running the club.A notice has been posted to you by the club secretary. Subscriptions are due 1 July.

Annual subscription fees are: Couple: $45; Adult: $30, or $40 if newsletter & programme are posted to you. (These fees include an FMC Affiliation levy of $10.00 per person.)

(The alternative to a differential was say $35 single sub for everyone which would have meant that the 80% would subsidise the postage for the 20%.)

Contact Pat Holland > Phone: 539 1340. E-mail:


20-21 August > Basic Alpine > Cost $TBA

This course is aimed at those with limited experience and are looking for entry-level instruction to mountaineering. (Pre-course evening=2 field days)

Pre-requisites: Certificate of Attendance from ‘Alpine Introduction’ or equivalent (e.g. has used crampons and ice axe on snow).

Outcomes: • Correctly fit a harness • Tie appropriate knots. • Set up snow anchors & belays • Use a rope effectively. • Understand alpine weather. • Basic knowledge of map/compass • Establish an emergency shelter. • Be familiar with transceivers.

Safety: the course is to be taught on non-technical terrain

13 August > Outdoor 1st Aid : Revalidation course > Cost: $85
Girl Guide Centre, Paretai Lodge, Lee Valley Rd, Brightwater.
Duration:8 hours

The The course is skills-based, ‘hands on’, involving scenarios and practicals, aimed at updating the holder of a current OFA certificate with the recent changes in protocol and to refresh their skills. Skill erosion is a recognised factor that develops if a first aider is not exposed to actual first aid incidents.

All participants must have an OFA certificate which is dated no less than two years previous.

10-11 September > Outdoor 1st Aid :Full course> Cost: $150 

Venue: Girl Guide Centre, Paretai Lodge, Lee Valley Rd, Brightwater.

The Outdoor First Aid course is designed to equip outdoor users with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage accidents and sudden illnesses in the outdoor environment for a minimum of 24 hours.

You will complete a minimum of six hours practical work in the outdoors treating, in a group, people injured in mock accidents.

Contact: Evelyn O'Neill
23 Coleridge Place, Stoke.
(03) 547 2426.

COMPASS & GPS TRAINING > for beginners and experts

Date:24–25 September

Leader: Mike Glover – Ph 544 7955

Location: Glover family bach, Tadmore

Times:Start 9.00am Saturday. Finish approx. 2:30pm Sunday.

The morning session starts around the table with compass familiarization, map reading and grid references. Put this knowledge into practice with a navigational exercise outside.

In the afternoon, learn to navigate using a map and compass – the easy way. Go outside to check if the theory works. Inside again, we begin a full navigational exercise, starting at a basic level and getting progressively more difficult.

A BBQ potluck tea is followed by GPS training. There are bunk spaces for six people, (or bring your own mattress or tent).

Sunday morning will be spent in the bush to find set way points. Back at the bach talk about the exercises and answer any questions.

This is meant for everyone – make time for it, join in, learn, experience, share. There are new tricks to be learned and people with experience can help teach the beginners. Bring a compass and GPS if you have them.

20 SUMMITS > Get Fit!

To celebrate the Summit Rescue Helicopter’s 20 year history, let’s hike or bike up our local hills.

You can walk one, five or all 20 Summits, and be a part of the largest ever community climb in this region. Either join the scheduled climbs, or do the challenge in your own time – you have until the end of 2011 to complete the challenge.

Register and pay entry fee at:


by Raymond Salisbury

We had a tremendous, encouraging turnout at our recent ‘Chew The Fat’ evening. Our trip leaders and committee members mingled over free pizza, then discussed a range of issues regarding the organisation of tramping trips, and the management of people.

My contribution to this evening was a PowerPoint slideshow based on some excellent material from Mountain Safety Council.

Here, I have adapted their diagrams for our club. In the past I found this theory helpful in making critical planning decisions. For example, if the weather forecast was dodgy, should we still forge ahead with the planned tramp? Or, should I accept a complete stranger onto a hard trip?


This graph (above) places the individual tramper into a matrix defined by two factors:
a) their knowledge, experience, fitness, health and training.
(i.e. their competence.)
b) the difficulty of the tramp. (i.e. track condition and marking, steep terrain, ice and snow, visibility, presence of huts and other people, etc.)

“The ideal is to match a tramper’s competence with the actual difficulty of the tramp. This is referred to as a PEAK EXPERIENCE.”

Tramping Legend > If the individual tramper is extremely experienced, most of the trips they do will see them ‘cruising’ or even in ‘play’ mode, where there is little challenge. This can tempt them to ‘drop their guard’, and make silly errors.
Novice Tramper > Conversely, if the indivudual tramper is a complete novice, then for most trips they will be ‘in over their heads’. They need to choose easier walks, then build up their experience slowly over time. However, if they are persuaded to tackle a serious expedition involving steep terrain and inclement weather, they will be severely challenged, or even suffer psychological distress. (Examples of this stress range from vertigo, paranoia, to getting put off tramping altogether.)

Diversity > Note that within each party, there will be a range of abilities. It is the responsibility of the leader to gauge the competence of each prospective member of his/her party. Also note that during a single tramping trip, a party might encounter very easy terrain on the first day, in pleasant weather, but very difficult conditions later on. They may move from being in ‘cruise’ mode, to ‘challenge’ mode.

In the chart above, a party of four (indicated by an X) are attempting an overnight tramp to Salisbury Lodge, in Kahurangi National Park. This is normally a 4-hour stroll over a wide, easy path, to a large comfortable hut – great for teenagers or novices as an introduction to the outdoors.

Note that one very experienced tramper is in the ‘play’ zone, perhaps the leader. He must be careful not to get too bored. The other three members of the party are ‘cruising’.

Choosing the right trip > However, if this exact same party attempted to climb Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku during winter, the less competent members would be seriously challenged, or even distressed – totally out of their depth.


Kahurangi National Park: 3 huts are being rebuilt on the Heaphy Track: Perry Saddle Hut, Heaphy Hut & James Mackay Hut.

Abel Tasman National Park: Anchorage Hut, built 1975, will soon be replaced as a 30-bunker.

Nelson Lakes National Park: Lake Angelus Hut was full 30% of the time. Bookings not needed in winter season (til 27 November.)

Mt Richmond Forest Park: Rocks Hut had a major upgrade.

Right Branch Wairoa is now painted orange in its new location on the Porters Creek Hut site.

St James Walkway: Anne Hut was replaced during May.

A full list of removed or destroyed huts can be downloaded from:

LIVING LEGENDS Todd Blackadder!

Living Legends will be planting around the Department of Conservation administered Whakapuaka Wildlife Reserve.

It’s located at the head of the Haven Estuary adjoining the Boulder Bank north of Nelson. Volunteers will plant 5000 additional native trees at this site.

The Haven Estuary is of national importance as a major feeding area for wading birds and fish.

To register, go on-line:



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