Trip Reports, June-August 2011


  1. Lees Valley, Raglan Range
  2. Railway Reserve / Grampians circuit, Nelson
  3. Mount Murchison, Buller District
  4. Copper Smelter & Mount Malita circuit, Aniseed Valley
  5. Drumduan, Cable Bay Walkway, Nelson
  6. Saxton Hill, Nelson
  7. Crooked River, Brunner District, Westland
  8. Peanter Peak, Nelson Lakes National Park

25—26 June 2011 – Lees Valley & Mangerton Ridge loop – Raglan Range, Marlborough

Leader: Ruth Hesselyn

In good spirits, we departed the Lees Creek carpark at about midday on Saturday, expecting good weather on Sunday, but not much snow. The three-hour walk up valley was scenic and leisurely. At Lees Creek Hut, the three ladies settled inside and the men pitched tents.

We woke on Sunday morning to start out at 7:30am under a fresh dusting of snow, with flurries still coming down. The walk up-valley in virgin snow conditions was chilly but exciting. Not wanting to stop for too long, we made our way up to the valley head to a half-frozen tarn. After stopping for photos and chocolates, it was ice-axes in hand for the final climb up the snow-covered scree to the 1930m saddle.

The views were spectacular on the saddle but, because of conditions, we dropped down the other side of the Mangerton Ridge to a warmer, more sheltered spot for lunch, dropping 800m in some 40 minutes. Upon reaching the bottom of the scree slope, we bush-bashed down to the valley floor where we picked up the track back to the hut.

After a hot cuppa, we gathered our gear and headed down the Lee Valley for a relaxing walk out. The circuit was described as a ‘snow trip’ and it was snow we got. Good times!

Trampers were: Mike Drake, Carole Crocker, Pat Holland, Miriam Jones (visitor), Liam Sullivan, Mark Stevens, Grant Standing (scribe) and our super-fit leader, Ruth Hesselyn.

26 June 2011 – Railway Reserve / Grampians circuit – Nelson

Leader: Katie Cloughley

A short, three-hour walk close to the winter solstice was a pleasant diversion on a sunny, wintry morning. Eleven trampers completed the circuit from Victory Square, along the Railway Reserve, up the Kahikatea Track to the Lookout on the Grampians.

With clear conditions, the city, Tasman Bay and the Mt Arthur Range showed their best faces to an appreciative audience. It was especially pleasing to ‘show off’ to the overseas visitors in our group.

A gentle retreat down the Ronaki Track and past Nelson College brought us back to square one (Victory Square).

The Sunday strollers were: club members Gillian Arbuthnott, Jim Maxwell, Brenda Griffin, Maurice and Katie Cloughley, (Scribe) and visitors (and hopefully soon-to-be members) Carol and Howard Donaldson, Pam Bennett and Carolyn Moore.

Last, but not least, were Canadians Eric Wells and Angela, spending a few hours in Nelson en route to further travels in the South Island.

3 July 2011 – Mount Murchison, Buller District

Leader: Gretchen Williams

After weeks of awful weather and lots of cancelled trips 21 people put aside their cabin fever on this gorgeously fine and frosty morning. Mt Murchison stood out in all it’s glory from various vantage points on the way. This time we drove through the farm paddocks and gates and parked at the locked gate, saving quite a bit of time and energy. We quickly settled into various fitness groups and were pretty spread out (going up and coming down).

Disappointment struck as we left the tree line to find it was cold, windy and cloudy. The brief but cloudless views to the north, west and south disappeared completely as we proceeded to the top. There we had an uncomfortable lunch huddled out of the wind behind a few buildings and amongst the tussocks, then retreated back down the road to the cars. As we drove home it was noticed that the top had cleared again.

Participants were: Gretchen Williams, Andy Clark, Maurice & Katie Cloughley, Gillian Arbuthnott, David Sissons, Chris Louth, Norah Flight, Raymond Salisbury, Sue Davies, Brenda Griffin, Ron Mailer, Lou Kolf, Uta Purcell, Tom Brown. Plus visitors: Beverley & John Mockett, Roger & Maureen Cotton, Dorothy Hay and Ruby.

9 July 2011 – Copper Smelter & Mount Malita circuit

Leader: Alison Pickford

Eleven folk expressed their intent to make an early start into the frost in the Aniseed Valley, but overnight rain and morning weather that did not look like the fine day promised, convinced me to cancel the trip. Whereupon the day brightened considerably, I began to feel somewhat wimpy ... but only until persistent wetness late in the morning.

10 July 2011 – Drumduan, Cable Bay Walkway – Nelson

Leader: Jim Maxwell

We set off from the Glen in marginal weather and arrived at the airstrip on the Cable Bay Walkway with rain and a cold wind. An urgent study of the map gave us an idea where we should be headed and we quickly got to the shelter of a track through thick gorse.

We were soon at the top of Drumduan and found the rocks which rise above the bush. The rain had stopped and the cloud cleared enough to give us a good view of the coastline. We tried to find another route back to the walkway from there but gave up and returned the same route after a stop for lunch in a sunny spot.

The walk back to the Glen gave us good views of the Boulder Bank and Nelson. A short, but worthwhile outing. Walkers were Gillian Arbuthnott, Jim Maxwell and two visitors, Helen and Lynn.

17 July 2011 – Saxton Hill – Nelson

Leader: David Blunt

A great group of 22 enjoyed this tramp. Richard Raine kindly gave permission for the club for us to go over his farm land where he has a milking herd and cattle in well-fenced paddocks. Our responsibility was to ensure all gates we opened were also closed.

We were lucky to have a warm and sunny day. Following the wet period of weather we have been having the grass and ground was still very wet and those with sneakers and long trousers had a bit of fun in the mud. We passed by the historic homestead, under wonderful oaks to then follow farm tracks for some of the time.

To get up Saxton Hil, the terrain became increasingly steep. Due to the gates issues we were mostly in a tight group, which was very social as it gave the opportunity to get to know others.

There was the option of following a forestry road through to Aniseed Valley, used to bring timber out.

Part of the group went up the grassy face of Saxton Hill and the rest went up the road with a rather steep and icy/frosty track. From the top there were great views back across Richmond, Tasman and to the airport. The view to the south showed us a good dollop of snow on Mt. Starveall, Ben Nevis and North Peak.

On the way up we passed the rock quarry. On the way down we explored a huge reservoir with high earth wall. Paradise ducks were enjoying this secluded spot. The outflow from the dam is controlled and a concreted overflow system at the edge may be the beginning of a stream known as Poor Mans Stream that flows on down to the sea. The creek was planted attractively with native reeds at source.

We came down in the early afternoon and the cows were on the way to the milking shed. The track became increasingly muddy and we took some evasive action over some grassy areas with the help of gallant David and Mike who held the live electric wires down with their rubber soled boots.

There were 14 members and eight visitors as follows: Jim Maxwell, Mary Honey, Mike Locke, Gillian Arbuthnott, Barry & Dion Pont, Alison Nicoll (scribe), Ruth Hesselyn, Beverley Muirhead, Robyn Walsh, Ken Ridley, Chris Louth, Merrick Mitchell, David Blunt and visitors Lyn Jowett, Henry Hsu, Roger & Maureen Cotton, Annette, Paul & Ben Nistor and Barry’s grandson Liam.

23–24 July 2011 – Crooked River – Brunner District, Westland
Leader & Scribe: Ray Salisbury

By Friday night it was becoming apparent that most of NZ was about to be obliterated in the coldest weather we’ve had for 16 years. Even Fringed Hill got its share of snowfall. A party member pulled out, leaving only two hardy (fool-hardy?) men to weigh their options.

The high route over to Lake Christabel was abandoned for lower climes on what we thought would be an easier valley walk, further southwest.

Early on Saturday, Dion manoeuvred his trusty Suzuki jeep on his favourite shortcut through the Nelson Creek region. Finding the track up Crooked River was frustrating, but we eventually discovered it 40 minutes up the farm road at the Evans River confluence. Old concrete piles are all that remain from the washed-out bridge there.

Dion’s new gaitors received a brown baptism as we skirted deep bogs on high terraces. Far below the Crooked River climbed up interminable gorges – in fact, the route seldom travelled beside the river. More than an hour elapsed until the first gorge sidle spat us out riverside, where whio whistled in the early evening. We were chasing the light over the second high sidle, hand over hand up vertical steps as the torturous track negotiated incised gullies and moss-laden rocks. We then boulder-hopped beneath the craggy face of Mt Alexander which towered above us.

Dusk saw us darken the door of Jacko Flat Hut after five hours on our feet. We were the first folk here in four months; the Visitor Book was 20 years old. An average of four parties per year frequented these parts, until 2009 when DOC re-cut and marked the overgrown trail.

On Sunday we embarked on a hut-bagging mission upriver. Tracking fresh deer prints across the frozen river flats, we reached the remote Top Crooked Hut in two hours. From here there’s an alpine route over to Lake Morgan – this will wait for another adventure.

It was snowing lightly when we returned to our gear, and headed back to the car, racing the impending darkness for five more hours.

A nine-hour day left us shattered, but the last two remaining pies at Reefton’s petrol station revived us. Everyone else had shut up shop; we got home to Nelson 11pm Sunday night.

31 July 2011 – Peanter Peak – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader & Scribe: Ken Ridley

Eight members went on this trip on a perfect day for being in the snow.Only one driver was prepared to drive to the Rainbow Ski-field, so we had to wait around while three people went up on the bus. So we had a late start.

Up the ski access road we walked, towards the tarn, then donned crampons. As we approached the saddle to Arnst Basin we realised there wasn’t enough time to reach Peanter Peak. We decided on an easier trip to Mount McRae.

From where we stood, there were three snow slopes leading to the top. We took the closest, middle route, which got quite steep. Near the summit, possibly due to snow balling under the crampons, one member slipped off, picking up another on the way down. We then had the two least experienced in the group sliding gently towards a run-out at the bottom. Others continued on to the summit, while we re-grouped and sidled over to the easiest route up, which I should have chosen in the first place.

We ate lunch atop the main ridge, enjoying great views. From the summit we had an uneventful walk down across the skifield to the carpark, bus and coffee.

On the trip were: Marie Lenting, Mark Stevens, Ruth Hesselyn, Christine Hoy, Jocelyn Winn, Mary Wu, Henry Wu and Ken Ridley.

14 August 2011 – Rush Pool, Nelson
Leader & Scribe: Gillian Arbuthnott

A marked absence of birdlife in this area so close to the city; however, the terrain is varied – gravel surface service road/soft cushion pine needles/and loose rock – as is the flora and scenery.

Gretchen was the sole intrepid adventurer through the pool to perch atop the Hard Rock Café, Rush Pool (look out for the t-shirt) for morning tea whilst the rest of us continued a short distance to settle in amongst the remnants of argillite at the old mine site.

A rapid descent to the carpark, then home for a relaxing Sunday afternoon watching the southerly blast track its way northwards.

Thank you to fellow Rush Pool Roamers: Beverley Muirhead, Brenda Griffin, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Gretchen Williams, Jim Maxwell, Mike Locke, Val Latimer and visitors Cherie Johannson, Gary Bassett and Hilary.