Marlborough Tramping Club

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                         SNOW GRASS AND SCREE

 APRIL 2018

PRESIDENT: Kerry Ph (03) 5788836                                   SECRETARY: Jane Ph (035787441

CLUB CAPTAIN: Murray Ph (03) 5724812

Photo Competition Blenheim School Hall this Friday night 4th May. 6.30pm

Approx 90 stunning entries have been submitted for Liz Davidson to judge for the Club Trophy.

Largest number of entries we have had for quite some time.

Bring your entries for Fun Classes and display them. (We will supply blue tac)

  1. Lakes and Tarns Disregard the “Taken since 1st November” .
  1. Tucker Time 3. My favourite photo

These three classes will be judged on the night

Pizza dinner- Around 7pm. $5. Bring along your own refreshments and glassware and we will provide tea/coffee and cake.

Plenty of time to look at all the entries, pick your personal choices, do a couple of puzzles and chat before the winners are announced. Liz will give a short talk and give some pointers about taking photos in the great outdoors. Come along and enjoy a good club get together

New Member. This month we welcome Kevin Wilson to the Club. Lots of good trips and good company ahead for you Kevin.

Next Itinerary runs from June to end of August. Think about what trips you want and talk to Jane and Sue now.

Remember that there is a lot of work involved putting it all together so make contact asap. so that it can go out by end of May. Jane 5787441 or Sue 5777001

Subscriptions. Many thanks from our treasurer Helen. Subs have been rolling in thick and fast which makes her job so much easier. A gentle reminder if you haven’t paid yet to please do so ASAP.

Trip Reports

Monkeying around at Monkey Bay Sun 8 April

After an absence of the best part of thirty years and in need of putting something a little different on the club itinerary I thought, wouldn’t it be good to dust off the rock climbing gear and pay a visit to Monkey Bay.

As I was a little rusty I thought it perhaps prudent to drag someone else in and the collective knowledge would mean that I could keep my unblemished record clean of not having lost anyone on my watch.

Steven Grant instantly came to mind as I knew he had been a very keen rock-climber before moving to New Zealand, the trick was going to be could I wrestle him away from indoor bowls for a day!!!

The morning duly arrived relatively clear and calm as Steven and I arrived an hour early to set up the belay points, firstly to beat the tide and secondly set up without onlookers confusing the issues. We were pleasantly surprised to see that someone in our thirty year absence had bolted three routes and bolted belay points at the top negating the need to use vegetation as anchor points as we used to.

Helmut by now had arrived at the top as Steven and I spread out our collective gear which we hoped was going to be enough to set up bomb proof belays. We didn’t install a lot of confidence in Helmut as we deliberated over everything that could possibly go wrong while installing back up slings for backups. I think age was making us overly cautious as we joked it was just as well we weren’t doing a multi pitch mountain climb because the day would be over before we got the first pitch in.

It was almost a case of paper scissors rock to see who was going to go over the side and test the anchors but I thought well the buck stops with me as I clipped a sling into my harness and a bolt and slipped over the edge to position myself to feed the figure of eight descender through the rope and clip it into the harness and then put a prussic on the rope and clip that into the harness as another back up if I stuffed things up while abseiling down.

By now a group was milling below eagerly anticipating the thrill of having very little between themselves and Terra firma far below, the ages ranging from twelve through to the mid seventies.

After a briefing on how to put the various harnesses on and how to tie the rope into the harness followed by how to attach the belay device and hold a fall and lower the climber we were almost ready for action. All that was needed now was to go through the various climbing signals, reiterate safety meaning every one do self checks on their partners harnesses, knots and making sure that at least the belayer was wearing a helmet but preferably the climber as well.

While the face looked quite daunting everyone got into the swing of things very quickly with Andy managing to get to the top while the rest of us had to be content with almost getting there. By around one o’clock we had worked up a huge appetite and thanks to Kerry bringing along his BBQ we were able to feast on sausages between climbing.

Many thanks to Steven Grant for taking some of the stress off my shoulders and Helmut Adendorff , Kerry Millard, Raffaela Dragani, Geoff Butcher, Jane Minto, Andy and Luke Petrie, Ling Knox, Bill Woollcombe, Mary Jobberns, Ross and Chris Beech for making the day a success.

 It has inspired Steven and I to do it again for we have some unfinished business and I’ve included some knots of which the figure of 8 knot, prussic knot, double fisherman’s knot, clove hitch and tape knot are quite important so you need to be proficient at doing them. All you need to do is pop into Bunning’s and buy a couple of meters of rope for a few dollars and practice in front of TV. I’m sure u tube will also show video on how to tie these knots if you get stuck.

Ben More. Plan B! !

Nine ardent MTC members set out from Horton Park on a fine cool autumn morning in two vehicles for the head of the Ure Valley.

We arrived at the wool shed of the Peters property at about 8:15am. After putting our boots on we set off straight up the hill, shortly arriving at the Peter’s cottage which we admired, after having recently seen it on country calendar.

Then on up the farm track and out to the right to the north ridge and up to about the 550m. where we had a leisurely smoko with a wonderful view down into Isolation gorge and a view of Blue Mountain to the north which is where we originally had planned to go. There were hunters going in there for the Roar, so that was out of the question. Heard a few red stags roaring at quite short intervals, before heading up to the rim of the eastern side of Isolation gorge, where we could hear more stags roaring.

We could just make out Isolation Flat hut down in the bowels of the gorge. It was easier to walk along the edge of the limestone crater like edge than to sidle around further down in the tussock.

The edge is curved in a semicircle before eventually heading south. At about 1000m. we headed up a ridge to the south before breaking out onto the gentle final ridge, which heads SW. before the top of Ben More 1224m. At about 11:55am there we a few calls of dissent from down below. So we waited until everyone was regrouped and rested before the final easy ten minute push to the top, where we were greeted by a fantastic 360 degree view, where we had lunch in the warm sun in the lee of the crest.

On heading down I suggested to the others to try and stick to the crater like rim until about 2/3rds of the way around before heading down a NE ridge to the top of the farm track. We all regrouped at the NE ridge before heading down onto the easy farm track.

Arriving back at the wool shed at about 4 PM. before heading back to Blenheim with an ice-cream

stop at Ward.

Those souls who joined me; Geoff Butcher, Peter Buttle, Murray Chapman, Stephanie Blackmore,

Sue McKenzie, Paulette O Sullivan, Allison Scobie, Kevin Wilson, Bill Woollcombe (scribe)

Anakiwa to Mistletoe Bay Sunday 11 March 2018

Bill, Geoff, George and I enjoyed the drive out to Anakiwa, via Havelock, on a beautiful day. Ross travelled from Picton and we met him at Anakiwa where the sea was a beautiful blue mirror with mist rising from it. We walked steadily up the track, stopping for smoko at the lookout spot where there are information boards, a table and stone wall seating. We carried on, meeting a few other people including a couple from Yorkshire who informed us that the first two days of the Queen Charlotte from Ship’s Cove were ‘boring’ because of the bush obscuring the views. We walked down to Mistletoe Bay for lunch. There were lots of people there, mostly guests from a wedding celebration the previous day, as well as people waiting for a boat at the jetty. We walked back up to the main track via the old bush route – steeper but a pleasant change. We then retraced our steps, stopping at the picnic table for a chat with a young Danish couple who had their nine month old daughter with them. Back at Anakiwa, at the end of our 27.4 km walk, we enjoyed ice creams before setting off back to Picton or Blenheim.

Bill Woollcombe, Geoff Butcher, George Arnesen, Ross McGerty and Jane Minto (Scribe)

St. James Walkway Sunday 25th March to Thursday 29th March 2018

Day 1 Lewis Pass to Ada Pass Hut via Cannibal Gorge 10 km

George picked up Bill, Geoff and me to leave town at 6.30am. The journey out via St. Arnaud and Murchison was very pleasant, with good views of cloud topped mountains. We called in at the Boyle Adventure Centre, where George filled in the requisite forms for leaving his vehicle there. Volunteer warden Bruce came with us to Lewis Pass and then drove George’s car back to the centre. The walk down through Cannibal Gorge was enjoyable. All the streams were flowing well after the rain earlier in the week but there were bridges across the main ones. After 7km we reached the 20 bunk Cannibal Gorge Hut, in a wide clearing. From there the track followed the very attractive Maruia River through beech forest and open areas before climbing up to Ada Pass Flat, and along to Ada Pass Hut. We shared the hut with two young women, one Welsh but living in NZ and the other from north Holland.

Day 2 Ada Pass Hut to Christopher Hut 11 km

Our two young overnight companions set off before us to climb up to a lake below Gloriana Peak, and then to decide whether to go further. They seemed confident and well equipped with a tent and ice axes. We had a lovely walk to Christopher Hut, through bush to start as we climbed up to Ada Pass (998m). The track then carried on down the other side. There were windfall trees to skirt, climb over or crawl under. Geoff and I caught up with George at the bush edge for lunch. (Bill had his collapsible fly fishing rod with him and was covering a greater distance than us by going up and down to the river to look for trout or salmon.) We were then in the wide open expanses of St. James Station flats. We passed the old Christopher Cullers Hut near the confluence of the Ada and Christopher rivers. It’s a two bunk hut built in 1956 for deer hunters. One kilometre further on we came to the 20 bunk Christopher hut, with bush clad hills behind and a wide expanse of grassland in front. From my first two St James trips, in September 1999 and December 2003, I had clear memories of seeing the St James’ horses in this area and my only disappointment on this trip was not seeing a single horse.

Day 3 Chrisopher Hut to Anne Hut 13 km

It was cloudy when we got up, with light rain in the air. At 8.40am we set off along the path heading down the valley, along the true right bank of the Ada River. We were still in the lovely open grasslands and for about 4km. we were close to the river before joining a vehicle track to the Henry/Waiau River confluence. Bill had his rod ready but the wind was making it hard to spot fish. On one of his side trips he spotted a salmon but as it was bigger than the weight allowance for keeping, he let it be and came back to join us. The track then went above the river, through matagouri thickets and occasional swampy places. We crossed a long and definitely swingy bridge to join the vehicle track to the new Anne hut. The hut was built in 2011 and is situated in the middle of a large grassy area, therefore it’s open to winds from all directions. (Someone had scratched ‘The most exposed hut in NZ’ on the DOC hut plaque.) A young Frenchman and two German men arrived at the hut shortly after us. We had briefly had our waterproof jackets on earlier for the light rain but it wasn’t until 4.45pm that the rain came down in earnest with strong gusts of wind. (Luckily the toilet was close to the hut!) Later on an English couple arrived at the hut well soaked. Apart from us, everyone at the hut that night was doing the Te Araroa trail. At least 80 % of the people who had signed the full hut book were also on the trail.

Day 4 Anne Hut to Boyle Flat Hut 17 km

This was our longest day so we were pleased that by breakfast the sky was clearing to a beautiful blue sky day with a few white clouds and a light breeze. Perfect! We walked along the vehicle track for 3km before crossing another bridge. It was pleasant, easy walking, including the short climb up to Anne Saddle (1136m). It would be harder coming up from the other side but it was an interesting track to go down. Parts of the track had been washed away so there were short detours. In places streams were flowing down the path after the overnight rain and there were swampy sections. We had a look at the old Rokeby Hut and decided that we would only stay there in an emergency. A swing bridge across the Boyle River led to Boyle Flat hut, which is in a good position. The sand flies thought so too! The two young German men who had been at the Anne Hut the previous night arrived not long after us. (Another man arrived later when we were all in our sleeping bags. He was still asleep when we left next morning.)

Day 5 Boyle Flat Hut to Boyle Settlement 14.5 km.

We crossed the swing bridge to join the track on the true left of the Boyle River which went across Boyle Flat, then through patches of bush. At times we were by the river, then climbing high above the river in the bush, with small creeks to cross. Every now and then we came across Bill’s pack by the track so knew that he had gone down to the river, ever hopeful of catching something, but nothing doing. We crossed another bridge, admiring the engineering that had gone into it, before going along river flats and through patches of bush – lovely, varied walking - before crossing the final bridge to join the vehicle track to the Boyle Centre and the end of the track.

A stop at a café in Murchison for a late lunch finished off an excellent trip nicely. Thanks to George for organizing it all for us!

George Arnesen (Leader), Geoff Butcher, Bill Woollcombe, Jane Minto (Scribe)

Dew Lakes

The Maungatapu track appears to be rapidly deteriorating and is now a fairly rutted and bumpy ride to the saddle, where we parked about 8.45, and set off on our second attempt to find the Dew lakes.

 Quite a steep climb through mixed bush to Mt. Maungatapu then along an undulating ridge through a mix of mountain Beech and areas of tussock, passed the point at which both map and GPS indicate the existence of small lakes and on to an area of open, scrub covered hillside (where we  ran out of time on our last visit), and into more Beech cover before finding a DOC sign saying `Dew Lakes – Eureka! (a good Kilometre beyond where we assumed they should be – perhaps recent earthquake activity has moved the South Island sufficiently far north to make GPS readings inaccurate!)

 The four Lakes/Tarns clearly dry-up at times but on this occasion were as full as they could be – albeit only about a foot deep. Photographs taken, trampers split into two groups, the more mature of us opting for a leisurely lunch in the sun while Murray`s young guns predictably headed for Dun Mountain summit before returning for a late lunch, a combined walk back to the Vehicles and a bumpy ride back to Pelorus.

Home around 6pm. A successful and enjoyable day in fine Autumn weather.

 Thanks for your company; Alison, Jane, Bill, Murray, Peter, Andy, Simon. Geoff.