Marlborough Tramping Club

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SNOW GRASS AND SCREE


AUGUST  2018



PRESIDENT Mary Ph (03) 5728762

SECRETARY: Jane Ph (03) 5787441

CLUB CAPTAIN: Murray Ph (03) 5724812

TREASURER: Helen Ph (03) 5728530



E-mail address [email protected]

NEW ZEALAND MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL

7.30PM 10TH SEPTEMBER - ELIM CENTRE – BURLEIGH RD

$15 adults $10 Students

Doors will open at 7pm and a slide show from Club tramps will entertain you until movie time at 7.30pm

We have a great selection of films for your enjoyment and

all proceeds will go to Nelson –Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

Excellent venue and plenty of parking right outside.

Please tell your friends. The list of films is on our website.

Sorry no eftpos available

The Elim Centre has very generously allowed us the use of their auditorium at no cost. This will mean at least $400 more for the Rescue Helicopter. We are hoping to have a representative from Nelson- Marlb Rescue Helicopter in attendance.


*A few weeks after I contacted Nelson-Marlb Rescue Helicopter about our film event we had occasion to call on them to pickup Peter who had slipped and broken his ankle on a very steep and slippery hill. He has several broken bones in his foot and is awaiting surgery. It will be sometime before he is back out in the hills. See Sue’s Tom’s Knob trip report.


Itinerary. Your new itinerary is attached. Thanks for the prompt response to the call for leaders for the new itinerary. There are some good outings over the next three months and I’m sure there will be something to suit everyone


Members. This month we welcome Rebecca Teonea to our ranks. I know you will make her welcome when she is out with you. They first met on a Club Trip to Julius Summit and now three years later Ashley and Jelena have announced their engagement. Congratulations and best wishes.


Wilding Pine You may remember Murray’s trip report from Mt Phillips a couple of months ago where he wrote about the serious invasion of the Wilding Pines in the area. He has always been hot on the topic as has the Club as a whole. At the end of the newsletter is a copy of the letter Murray has sent to Stuart Smith. We will keep you posted about the outcome. 


Books. In the new FMC Bulletin there is a review of "To The Mountains" a collection of 'trip reports' by lots of different trampers and  mountaineers.

One report is by one of our Club members, Brin Williman - an account of a couple of trips that he did in the Hopkins Valley between Lake Ohau and Mount Cook, one of them with Jo.  Great gift for Father’s day or just to treat yourself.


Intentions forms. Please email these to the club address from now on. Jane has taken over from Kerry recording names for the trophies. Remember to add any relevant details for future reference.


ARCHIVING

OF

CLUB RECORDS

As mentioned in the July newsletter, Helmut and Murray are in the process of digitising many of the club records.

As part of the process, the paper copies of many of these records will be sorted and indexed and then be placed in the Marlborough Archives for long term storage. At present there is quite a lot of material stored at the Archives, but unfortunately in quite an untidy and unsorted condition.

So, if you have any records relevant to the club that you would to like have sorted and archived, could you please hand them in to a committee member. They will be indexed and labelled properly before being handed in to the Archives, so that if at any time the club needs to access them, it will be much easier to do so.


TRIP REPORTS

Tom’s Knob

8trampers left town at 8am and picked up George on the way. We met the land owner at the end of long valley rd to unlock a gate and headed up to park near some very old farm buildings. We followed a farm track most of the way to the top of the south end of the property. We looked directly up to Mt Riley. We found a good log to sit on for morning tea. Two fallow deer appeared and shot up the ridge in front of us.

Several goats were also spotted. We had a great spot for lunch on the top of Toms knob with no wind and very warm. Several tuis, fantails, and grey warblers fluttered around creating lots of photo opportunities. After a leisurely lunch we headed back down a farm road and cut down a steep ridge towards the cars. I heard someone behind me call out and then heard a whistle blown. Oh no!! that didn't sound good. I headed back up to the trampers above me to find Peter had fallen and broken his ankle. I rang for the helicopter and they appeared about an hour later. Graeme had the co-ordinates on his gps and we were able to give them good info about where we were. They lifted Peter into the chopper using a sling as the chopper hovered above him. It was unable to land where we were due to the steep terrain. Graeme said we were only 500 mtrs from the cars but 300mtrs high. Peter was safely dispatched to Wairau Hospital. A dramatic end to an otherwise lovely tramp. Thanks to all those who helped. Trampers were Kath MacIntyre, Peter Buttle, Geoff Butcher, George Arnesen, Bill Woollcombe, Graeme McKay, Paulette O Sullivan ,Linda Le Sueur and leader and scribe Sue McKenzie.

Trip Report – Powder Valley – 5th August 2018

It was a scattered start from Blenheim early on Sunday morning as Alyssa and Rowan picked up Geoff and myself and Kerry headed up New Renwick Road to pickup Barry. We converged in Renwick at the Dairy meeting the balance of the party which was Nally, Paul, Jill and Murray.

We bundled into two vehicles and made our way up the valley with the weather seemingly improving the further we travelled towards Rainbow Skifield. We arrived at the lower Rainbow Skifield car park at 8:30. There was a bit of debate prior to the trip as to what the travel arrangements would be once we arrived at the bottom car park but soon decided to use Murrays ute. A quick ride up road brought us to the start of the track leading into Power Valley. We disembarked, sorted out crampons, ice axes and took the customary group photos. Paul led the way through the Beech Forrest and we had to avoid some windfall but this was not to be much of a hindrance. After a short walk we made it to a clearing at the foot of the valley.

The morning smoko was taken next to the first of the tarns in the valley. There were lovely views up and around the valley. It was decided to gear up so crampons and ice axes were weapons of choice.

We headed up the valley and on reaching the second tarn we had our first instruction from Murray. Recognising Avalanche Signs 101.

Murray pointed out some tell tale signs of what could indicate the possibility of an avalanche starting.

This was very interesting as some of us have little alpine snow experience. Kerry boldly led us on the next leg over the frozen tarn. I enquired if he thought it was OK? to which he replied “well I am going!”. That was good enough for us so off we went.

We made it up to the saddle at 12:30 and settled down to have lunch and to take a few photos of the beautiful scenery. We initially thought we might be fogged out at the top of the valley when looking at the forecast during the leadup to the trip but it turned out to be a lovely day. After lunch the second of Murray’s practical lectures was Self Arresting 101. With ice axes and crampons on we all had a go after Murray demonstrated the do’s and don’ts of self arresting. It was great fun.

We then headed up and traversed around the ridge where we had the view of the Ski field on one side and Lake Rotoiti and Robert Ridge on the other.

The third and final lecture from Murray was on spotting a Cornice and avoiding it.

We were lucky to have one on the ridge which he pointed out to us. We made our way down to the skifield Café and watched a very energetic bunch of skiers and snow boarders do their stuff.

A leisurely coffee was had in the afternoon sun and a moment was taken to reflect and enjoy the scenery. Geoff was a bit disappointed as there was not a cup of Earl Grey to be found.

It was a quick walk back down to Murray’s vehicle and in no time we were back at the bottom carpark.

Special mention should be made of Nally who baked some apple pie which we had before leaving for Blenheim. It was a real treat and capped of an enjoyable day.

The Team: Nally, Kerry, Jill, Geoff, Barry, Alyssa, Rowen, Paul, Murray and Helmut

Stats: approx. 9 km and a vertical ascent of 896m




Tapuae-o-Uenuku 17,18,19 Aug 2018

It was to be four seasons in one long weekend as Paul, Yves, Jill, Teleri, Andy, Marcelo and I geared up opposite the Hodder suspension bridge for an audacious assault on Tapy.

It had been at least thirty years since I had last traipsed up the Hodder river in the depths of winter and for good reason as I still had vivid memories of icicles hanging down and the water draining from running shoes freezing on the rocks before the said running shoes touched.

[[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]] That inner dread proved unfounded as I launched into the first river crossing following up behind the team. Either I had lost all feeling in my feet or global warming had taken the sting out of the water.

Anyway the whole experience was proving to be almost enjoyable?? as we splish splashed from side to side beneath the towering and somewhat earthquake ravaged cliff faces, outcrops of native shrubbery clinging on for dear life.

As is now common with modern everyday life we rounded a bend to find a little tyke happily perched in a little alcove while Mum and Dad had buggered off to do the grocery shopping, all that was missing was his device with a screen!!

With the confluence of the Hodder and Trail rivers now behind us the sky was beginning to darken to the south west and as we settled into lunch at the foot of the waterfall face a definite chill was making its presence felt.

The forecast was not brilliant with a southerly ripping up the coast Friday evening for a mid morning Saturday clearance. This of course had a few quizzing perhaps the logic of going at all but being an eternal optimist I was willing it to be a dry blustery one that just slid off and out into the Pacific ocean so pulling the pin was never an option.

With this chill in the air, lunch became a relatively short affair with all gleefully launching into the steep waterfall face, thankful that the steep yellow clay was dry although wishing for a few less Spaniards.

Once the face was scaled snow flurries began to swirl around us as we picked our way through the regenerating Totara to enter the Hodder River for one last crossing before following the true left side along a series of benches with a tight gorge beneath. On exiting a stand of Fuchsia there stood the two huts perched atop the terrace above, looking deceptively close as the snow flurries intensified.

Par for the course there was plenty of hands on knees as we grovelled up a mix of tussock and scree to plateau out beside the huts.

As the late afternoon drew in the snow flurries dissipated with the western slopes being lit up with a golden hue as the sun sank lower. Some discussion ensued as to whether this was our southerly having just passed through or was it just the tail end of the westerly. Only time would tell.

A semi alpine start of five am breakfast with boots on the ground by six was proposed as gourmet meals were prepared. There was certainly no accounting for some peoples taste as during the evening clean up Jill exclaimed “Well that’s my first and last beef pasta hotpot” Shame on you ,wash your mouth out with soap and water.

In the early hours of the morning the hut rigging began to sing and by the time five am came around you could feel little shudders going through the hut. It did seem a tad windy outside but thought OK I’ll just pop out and see if any stars were visible. Sadly no stars, just horizontal snow flakes illuminated in the headlamp beam so I rather despondently retreated back to the sleeping bag.

Eight am rolled around and it was looking decidedly brighter and restlessness was starting to set in. It had stopped snowing although the wind had given no thought to abating but we decided we were here and the general consensus was to have a look up staircase stream as the wind was so strong that the windward slopes may have been wiped bare making it relatively safe to have a go.

A quick breakfast was rustled up ,the bare essentials crammed into packs and we were walking by nine, Paul muttering under his breath “I’m feeling a breeze where I shouldn’t be feeling a breeze”

Well that is all except Marcelo who wasn’t having a bar of venturing out the door proclaiming “Why would you want to leave a perfectly warm dry hut??? Advice we may wish we had taken.

As we had hoped, the lower slopes had been swept bare leaving white ice necessitating crampons very early on. Apart from the odd gulley it was good cramponing all the way up to the base of the waterfall. On turning the corner there was around nine or ten centimetres of dry powder so a decision was made not to follow the slope up under point 2711 but stick to the ridge line above the waterfall to access the plateau at the foot of the south west ridge.

Surprisingly the wind had completely abated with the sun breaking through and burning off wispy rising valley cloud making for enjoyable climbing. Twelve thirtyish had us just under 2500 meters parked up against a small buttress, an ideal spot for lunch and time to suss out either side for the short steep climb back onto the ridge and the plateau.

Closer inspection found the slopes either side to be of the consistency of a bean bag filled with polystyrene balls with a coating of dry powder on top. Enough to make Yves and I very uncomfortable about going any further and the team weren’t arguing the fact.

A relaxed lunch was taken admiring Mts Alarm, Mitre and Gladstone to the west, comfortable the right decision had been made.

We quickly retraced our steps, the radiant sun softening the surface. Once the lower slopes were crossed the crampons were jettisoned and while bums were on packs I innocently pointed out a 1900 meter saddle across the valley giving access to the Trail Valley from the Hodder Valley making for an interesting return trip. ‘The seed had been sown”

We arrived back at the huts in good time but sadly the sun had left the picnic table so it wasn’t going to be utilised today. Whilst the air was still I thought it an appropriate time to tip Kerry’s two jars of carbon down the long-drops, this act if carried out on a regular basis is supposed to negate ever having to re-dig the holes. Am I sceptical, no way!

Late afternoon three wary climbers from Golden Bay crested the tussock terrace to a hearty welcome. Although after they outlined their plan of a three am start there was perhaps a little uncertainty as to how welcome they now were! As we were spread out over two huts we decided to rationalise, allowing them a guilt free early morning wake up.

Our wake up time was to be a far more civilised six am as the team were now warming to the idea of JUST nipping up and over the saddle to explore the Trail Valley and besides Marcelo had missed today’s views and I wanted him to experience what we had been treated to today.

Whilst the evening meals were being prepared we were entertained by a couple of Chamois mooching around the upper scree slope to the west of the hut before I again espoused the virtues of beef pasta hotpot. Our desert was indeed a treat, a bottle of Port with nibbles of exotically flavoured chocolates. Andy had lugged it up for the summit celebration but unlike Alyssa was not going to tip it out on the ground in a fit of exhaustion. This bottle had been lovingly nurtured by Andy for the last seven years having pressed the grapes in the family paddling pool with his daughter, she apparently eating more than she stomped. The stomped juice being fortified with the finest brandy money could buy. Well if the rigours of the day were not enough to put you to sleep then this was and very successful it was to for no one stirred to Paul’s snoring.

The shrill sound of the alarm shattered all sweet dreams and one by one headlamps burst into life followed by the hiss of gas cookers to begin breakfast preparation.

With breakfast eagerly consumed came packing and tidy up with Paul marshalling the troops around the hut interior while outside it was a wickedly crisp morning with the stars beginning to fade as the eastern horizon lightened.

A stunning vista greeted us as we picked our way for just over a k up the Hodder towards Mitre Peak before entering a snow filled gut to don crampons and listen to the crisp squeak of them biting into the snow as we rose quickly from around 1500 meters to just over 1900 meters. The air in the saddle was crisp and breathtakingly clear with the jagged razor sharp ridge of Mt Gladstone seemingly a stones through to the west while north the entire length of the Richmond Range laid itself out. To the east we could see three ant like specks on the huge face under point 2711 barely moving to the eye and where we feared to tread yesterday.

Maybe we were overly cautious but we doubted the afternoon and overnight conditions would have improved the snow pack to any real degree. The consensus was we didn’t want to witness a catastrophe unfold so dropped over the edge into a steep gulley on the western side of the Red Hills to gingerly crampon down an ice tongue towards the Trail Stream. The frozen tongue gave way to frozen scree which put everyone’s cramponing technique to the test all the while the thawing power of the sun was loosening the odd little rock which would come skittling past. Unfortunately one of these little missiles ricocheted off Marcelo’s axe shaft into his lower calf causing a fair bit of pain. As much as we desperately wanted to get off this slope, painstaking care was needed as we picked our way carefully down to have an early lunch on the far bank of the Trail Stream. With the inner man and woman satisfied the descent of the Trail valley began. You are just left in awe as you travel down the fluted upper reaches, the stream floor littered with what was presumed to be earthquake debris while to the sides little tussock basins were dwarfed by the mighty serrated north ridge of Mt Gladstone.

This eventually gave way to a steep sided mid section with a mix of native scrub and Totara clinging to the walls while the stream tumbled over some big boulder sections, again obviously the result of the Kaikoura quake.

Marcelo and I were dragging the chain a wee bit, coming across a rather despondent team sitting in the sun mulling over Andy's GPS position. It was still showing about eight ks to get out of the gorge and bugger all had been covered since lunch. There was a slow resignation beginning to set in that it was going to be a very long day and possibly night under the aid of headlamps. Whooohooo!!!!

I got out my GPS and hello mine only showed a k and a half to get out when Andy’s instantly jumped six odd ks across the map to correlate with my position. It is fair to say all were relieved.

That last k and a half of gorge was narrow with precipitous towering walls twisting and turning tightly, and with every turn we were expecting to exit into the Hodder Valley and in time we did.

It was a stark change when we eventually broke out into the open, relatively speaking Hodder Valley for by now a trudge down the river.

A slight gloom was beginning to set in as we came upon the lone willow marking the exit point from the gorge, to find the cattle track leading up to the farm track leading to the road end.

With the rest of the team somewhere out in front, Marcelo got a second wind and went into supercharge mode. I’m not sure whether it was the talk of shark and tatties or pizza for tea with a coke but I was being left in his wake, arriving back at the vehicles five minutes before a headlamp would have been needed.

Great company making for an awesome long weekend.



Arnst antics 14/15 July 2018

The rain that had washed out Bill’s trip up Mt Fishtail had dumped a fair bit of snow along the St Arnaud range which was then rained on, significantly raising the avalanche risk. As luck would have it, some very good freezes during the week stabilised the snow pack with a few centimetres of fresh snow being the icing on the cake.

It was all shaping up so well until YR and the Met service threw a spanner in the works with our anticyclone decaying to the east and a dirty north east storm moving over us around mid day Sunday.

Being an optimist I thought that’s still OK cause well be out of the Arnst and into the Travers Valley by then, all plain sailing, a piece of cake??? Obviously others shared my optimism for I had six takers including myself prepared to indulge in a little body trashing.

There was just a hint of dawn breaking as Teleri Meacham, Nally Lee and I cruised into the eastern end of Kerr Bay to rendezvous with Carly Rudder who resides in Nelson and Dad Andy and 10 yr old Luke Petrie who were returning from a school holiday trek into the Tablelands. With Carly’s car left on the shore of Kerr Bay to act as our shuttle vehicle on our return tomorrow night we proceeded up the Rainbow Valley road to reach the frozen wasteland of the Six Mile Creek car park at the bottom of the Rainbow Ski field access road just as the first rays of the morning were striking the tops far above.

I could sense I was just a bit of an inconvenience as I rallied the troops for my obligatory Face book photo as on exiting the vehicles the temperature change was like a huge slap in the face and all they wanted to do was get moving. With protests from the team of me avoiding the camera again, a bystander grabbed my camera and I was thrust into the picture to the delight of all.

With that photo out of the way, packs that were way too heavy and adorned with crampons, ice axes and shovels were shouldered making us look like the seasoned pros we were not.

Being alpine tramping purists rides were politely refused as we marched the access road to the strong smell of diesel fumes. That purist mindset was wearing a little thin as the sun rose in the sky and the layers were peeled back. Well, that is except for Carly and Teleri who on previous occasions had put me to shame by regardless of the steepness of the incline, they didn’t miss a beat in their chatter while I was gasping for oxygen.

Our timely arrival of around ten at the ski field café for an Atomic coffee or in Luke’s case a BBQed sausage was definitely the highlight of the day thus far.

Whilst the team were getting there caffeine fix I nipped away to track down the mountain manager to explain that when they locked the gates this evening, the two vehicles in the car park at the bottom did not mean they had inadvertently left people up on the mountain for the night.

With our intentions all sorted it was time for the adventure to begin as crampons were strapped to boots and ice axes drawn to the ready to fend of any kamikaze skiers who were foolish enough to cross our path. The groomed snow was perfect for learning to swing the legs a little wide so as not to impale a calf muscle with a front point or catching a gaiter which would ultimately lead to a slide, something best avoided. By the time the manicured slopes of the ski field had passed the team were all feeling pretty confident in placing ten crampon points and positively planting the ice axe to be in balance.

As was expected our cloudless morning had deteriorated somewhat with cloud billowing up and a sharp north westerly breeze sneaking over the crest of the range causing us to seek shelter in the lee and anyway it was an opportune spot and time for lunch. By the time lunch was dispatched with the top of Mt McRae to the south was shrouded in cloud. That was our first destination of the afternoon before a longish traverse of around a k and a half that would lead us into the saddle to reveal Paraumu Tarn, our final destination for today.

Of course all was going swimmingly until atop Mt McRae it was pointed out I only had one crampon and instantly I’m hit with that sinking feeling. At our lunch spot I had taken off the crampons as my old clip ons didn’t have anti balling plates and with every couple of steps I was carrying half the mountain under each boot. Distracted by composing that award winning photo I had only attached one to the pack and foolishly left the other on the snow. It’s not as if I needed the extra exercise but I was just going to have to bite the bullet and nip on back down. I’m sure the rest just surmised it was a cunning ploy to get out of plugging steps.

Once the saddle was gained the afternoon snow showers were dissipating and the faint outline of Paraumu Tarn could be seen a mere one and a quarter ks to the south tucked in a bowl with Peanter Peak rearing up behind. A quick descent, followed by wallowing across the basin in softish snow to a desirable camp site on the south eastern shore had us frantically going to work packing down three tent sites while Luke took to the ice with youthful exuberance chipping a hole through with a shovel.

With the tents pitched and the skies now relatively clear the evening took on a distinctive chill as we rugged up in everything we had to cook the evening meal. It was about now I decided I was getting too old to be doing this sort of shit and maybe in future winter destinations with a hut and accompanying pot belly stove would be more fitting.

Six pm and we were all tucked up in the sleeping bags being entertained by Luke’s “Dad” questions from one tent while Carly and Teleri were still catching up on lost time in the other.

In our tent Nally was still feeling cold and upon closer inspection discovered she had only relied on the self inflation of her mat which hadn’t left much air between herself and the snow. Something that was quickly rectified with some huffing and puffing. It still didn’t quite match the six centimetres of air between me and the snow with mine but as I was no longer a Knight in shining armour or for that matter was I ever??? Anyway, I wasn’t giving it up.

Sleep did come relatively easy once the digits had warmed up, due to the rigours of the day. The problem with going to sleep at six pm is I am accustomed to around eight hours sleep and come two am I was going to be rearing to go with still five hours of darkness in front of me.

On waking and hoping it was six in the morning and not two I rummaged for the headlamp. It was not quite my worst nightmare but close, it wasn’t 2 am but 2-30. “ BUGGER”

As it turned out Andy was in the same boat as me as we both drifted in and out of sleep for the next four hours listening to the increasing wind gusts with a little trepidation as to what the dawn may bring. Hunger eventually got the better of me as I consumed breakfast from the sleeping bag while the wind tugged away at the tent, the frosted interior glistening under the headlamp. Nally was somewhat taken aback when I offered her some caramel square desert to go with her breakfast. She didn’t refuse so I presumed she was coming around to the Kiwi mountain diet.!!

The weather gods were again on our side as the wind miraculously died for the dismantling of the tents, the north easterly storm wasn’t yet showing on our radar with mainly blue sky to the north east.

Unbeknown to us at the time a full scale search was under way at this time on the other side of the valley from us, for a tramper a day overdue. Unfortunately he was found in a snow drift on Robert Ridge that morning having died, not totally unexpected given the wind during the night and the exposed nature of Robert ridge.

The descent from the tarn into the valley was slow as half a meter of soft snow was hiding small streams and holes but we did have the advantage of following the early morning tracks in the snow left by the locals who had a pretty intricate knowledge of the routes around all the bluffs and gorges. It very quickly became obvious that the Arnst river was best avoided for the terraces above.. Carly’s eagle eyes spotted a couple of these locals grazing on tussock protruding above the snow below us. They had obviously ascertained we didn’t have fire sticks as they carried about their business reasonably unperturbed.

We stuck to the true right side of the valley and once in the bush the trails were a godsend with the pace noticeably slowing whenever we lost them.

We were turning the corner in the Arnst when it was decided to drop down into the river for water and lunch. With only five or so ks under our belt for the morning it had been a little slower than anticipated but we were still happy with our progress.

It had darkened considerably in the bush revealing that possibly the weather was turning as we stuck roughly to the 900 meter contour to avoid what I believed to be a tight bit before the Travers Valley, noted from past observations looking up. Once on the easy slopes of the Travers Valley we angled back up to cross firstly the Arnst and then the Travers River just above, very light rain just beginning to fall.

Surprisingly the Travers River was running lower than anticipated and after finding a suitable braid the thought was entertained that I may just about get across with dry feet. With the laces tightened and the gaiters circulation cuttingly tight above the calves I had an attempt at walking on water. Whilst I failed to walk on water I did manage to come out the other side with dry feet.

Spirits were high as we scrambled onto the Travers Valley track eagerly looking forward to being able to just walk without worrying where to plant the feet, our first destination being the swing bridge around three clicks down the valley. With the swing bridge behind us we set our sights on Lake Head hut a further four to five ks downstream. With the hut finally in sight it was all becoming a little tedious as with all huts atop a terrace they just never seem to get any closer.

On arrival at the hut we were welcomed in by the occupants who had the fire roaring. It was too much to resist for Teleri and Carly who decided to have a cook up while the rest of us just made do with our dry rations. Nally refused to come in, happy with a seat on the porch because she was worried if she parked up by the fire she wouldn’t leave until tomorrow morning.

Rested and fuelled up we donned the headlamps and bade the hut occupants farewell, heading out into the drizzly night for the final ten or so ks back to Kerr Bay. I knew it had been a massive day for even Teleri and Carly had stopped talking as we slipped into our own little worlds to silently battle pain and fatigue.

As is always the case it takes so much longer in the dark, the two and a half hours turning into three and a half as we stepped onto the Honey Dew Walk. With only minutes to reach Carlys car Nally exclaimed she had “reached her limit”. Funnily enough I’m sure I heard her utter those same words on Mt Philips a few weeks ago so I’m sure there more in her yet.

Thanks to all for the stellar adventure and for gutsing out a massive 33.42 ks on Sunday.

Trip stats 51.17 kms with a total vertical ascent of 1426 meters.

Mt Fishtail.

Mt Fishtail 22 July 2018

Early Saturday morning Bill was on the blower “Not looking good for tomorrow, wind rain, flooding, slippery muddy track, definitely not enjoyable so I’m pulling the pin but you can take it if you want”

Hmmmm... now this left me in a bit of a quandary for Bills list of participants contained seven enthusiastic disciples of pain and discomfort who now had nowhere to go but were all desperate to feel the full fury of a gale force wind interspersed with the odd snow and sleet shower, not to forget a muddy root infested track followed by an iced up south west ridge.

 As appealing as just sitting in front of the fire was I could sense their disappointment so what choice was I left with.

With now a guilt free feeling, Sunday morning found me at the Pine Valley road end with Paul Shipley, Marcelo Tamanini, Jill Spooner, Nally Lee, Jessica Stone and Andy and Luke Petrie gearing up amongst a rather obese mob of sheep for a bit of body trashing.

After last weekend I was surprised that Nally, Andy and Luke were even entertaining the thought but on reflection I just surmised this was only going to be a stroll in the park for them!!

The sheep accompanied us as far as the swing bridge before they decided only mad dogs and Englishmen partook in this frivolous sort of caper so we were now on our own.

We duly arrived at the stream crossing in the true left branch of Pine Valley stream. All being disciples of dry feet we had lugged up spare shoes for the crossing to be neatly tucked in the bushes on the other side for our return. Surprisingly considering all the rain the stream was very manageable and heralded the beginning of the business end of the trip.

Jill was out in front and tasked with finding a good smoko spot. The worms had been biting and we didn’t really care where it was. Luke turned out to be a hard task master as we were only five minutes into smoko when he reckoned we needed to be on our way.

Eleven am found us sheltering in the bush at the foot of the sou west ridge gearing up for all it could throw at us, all the while coming and going in swirling cloud. As we ascended the wind grew in ferocity, the rocks became coated in ice resulting in extreme care not to face plant.

The summit arrived around twelve thirty and it didn’t disappoint with one just able to stand while being peppered with the odd flurry of snow. It felt like minus ten and surprise, surprise, there were no objections to abandoning lunch atop and high tailing it down the nor west ridge and dropping over the edge of the basin to find the hut and eat in more convivial conditions.

We had settled nicely into the hut for the long haul but Luke wasn’t having a bar of that and gave us our marching orders yet again.

Sadly for us two of our more adventurous members were departing, Lukas being given a job opportunity in Germany he couldn’t refuse had already departed and Jess was following in a few weeks time.

Trip stats 23.32 ks return with a vertical ascent of 1563 meters over nine hours and five minutes


Mt Freeth

13 trampers left town to walk up Mt Freeth. We parked by the primary school and walked up to the quarry at the start of the property. After a chat on the intercom the owner arrived. We headed up the road and to my delight were accompanied by his Jack Russell called Jack who came all the way to top with us, running all the way. We had morning tea up near the top taking a few great photos on the way. The road had a lot of ruts, slips and damage from all the recent rain. We were back at the car about 11.30 so decided to go for a short walk up Essons valley. We stopped for lunch and then headed up to Barnes dam and could see why there was concern about it possibly being damaged during the 2016 earthquake. Certainly a huge amount of water if it ever was damaged.

Trampers were Paulette, Peter. Steven V, Jane, Geoff, George, Gordon, Jill, Linda, Roy, new trampers Neil Coalie and Sue Johnstone and leader and scribe Sue McKenzie.

Plus our guest, Mr Jack Russell. He forgot to bring lunch but I bet he didn’t miss out!