Trip Reports

1 July 2007 Parachute Rock – cancelled. Weather Organiser: Gillian Arbuthnott
1 July 2007 Basic Snowcraft – cancelled. Weather Organiser: Mike Drake

8 July 2007 Pupu & Takaka Hill Walkways – Organiser: Ross Price

We started our walk with a steep climb up to the transformers, with beautiful views over the Takaka Valley and out over the Cobb, which was under snow. There was no snow around Sylvester Hut at all. Then a circuit of the Loop Track, finishing along the 4WD track and back to the car. Following the recent rain the Pupu Walkway was quite wet and the water was running fast. Great views out over the bay where the Tarahohe wharf had several boats alongside. The weather was sunny throughout and after a brief stop at Motueka for Jin to do some sightseeing we were home well before dark. Trampers: Ross Price and visitor Jin Mizimisha
8 July 2007 Happy Valley – Organiser: David Blunt

A fine frosty morning saw sixteen well wrapped up adventurers setting off on the Happy Valley 'Tour of Discovery'. Leaving from the start of Maori Pah Road at Cable Bay it was not long before the peaceful calm of the valley was shattered by the sound of gunfire from a nearby rifle range leaving the smallest member of the party badly shaken. Fortunately there was some temporary respite from this unexpected and unwelcome intrusion as the track left the river flats and started climbing up through the bush. A short detour was made near the top to inspect a giant Matai tree and soon after we arrived at the Skywire which was taking some thrill seekers across to the other side of the valley and back. None of our party could be persuaded to join them! Instead we had an extended morning tea at the Tree Top Cafe enjoying the view, but not the gunfire below, before carrying on at much the same level for about an hour to the lookout point above Delaware Bay. Here we had a relaxing stay for lunch before returning to the vehicles on a more direct route.

A very pleasant day was concluded with a stop at the Happy Valley Adventures Cafe for refreshments.

Participants were : Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas & grandson Daniel, Ruth Hesselyn & Skye, Mark Stevens & Bronwyn, Katie & Maurice Cloughley, Phil & Matthew Ruffell, Alice Patterson, Dan McGuire, Rosemary McCullum, David Blunt & visitors Barbara Bond and Kathy Harrison
14 July 2007 Family Group – Mt Arthur Hut – Organiser: David Rae

This did not go ahead as the scheduled family outing after the withdrawal of the trip organiser. Instead Kathy Harrison plus two of her friends and myself made our way up to a snow covered Flora carpark with chains having to be fitted to get there. It turned out to be quite a pleasant stroll up the track to the hut and ridge beyond for views over the Tablelands. On the way down we encountered an optimistic couple of people with their skis. The carpark was full when we got back to it. Scribe: David Blunt.
14-15 July 2007 Angelus Hut (& Mt Angelus) – Organiser: Marguerite Verheul

To say we started off at the crack of dawn on Saturday 14 th July would be a Benson-Pope; rather, after a pre-invigorating hot soup in the Mt Robert car park following the arduous van journey, five gallant souls, Uta, Ruth, Mike, Adam, and I, John JP McCartin (my English teacher said never say 'me') set off up the Pinchgut just before 11 am. In trepidation, unsure of my abilities and fitness, and still petrified by my stubbornly newish boots that seemed to ever resist all attempts at molding to my feet, I plodded.

The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky or a rain molecule on its way or a puff of wind in any direction except out of my mouth. Yet again I realised that the odd ramble on Rabbit Island is no preparation for respirating on Robert Ridge. After counting thirty zigs of the zag, (going back to re-check I'd got the number right), I plugged on, appreciative of tail-end-charlie Mike keeping a friendly eye on the newcomers. I soon realised that I'd over packed yet again; why I even bought the coffee machine I'll never know. After a comparatively slow trip along the roof of my world, I finally enjoyed falling down the snow slopes into the Angelus Basin. There are many definitions of bliss, removing one's pack and boots is one of them. There was just enough light left to allow me to set up my sleeping quarters, hide the coffee machine in espresso embarrassment, and plant myself behind the dining table. It was not cunningly schemed that way but I found it a good posie to watch Marguerite and Mark go about cooking all the pasta, fasta than I could do it anyway. Even though they had set off three hours after us they should have beaten us to the hut. They were always grinning so much that I don't know why they didn't win by a smile. Anyway I was hungry - there was food, I was thirsty - there was drink, I was lonely - there was company, I was apprehensive - there was encouragement, I told a bad joke - there was laughter…. of sorts, I shut up - there was relief. It's a very personal thing trying to convey the angle of atmosphere, the slant of salubrity around those candles but I felt welcome on this my first real tramp with the club. Somewhere between the tantalizing tastes of Mike's Bermudan rum, Adam's Irish whiskey and Ruth’s Pak'n'Save gluwhein, all partaken in genuinely modest amounts, we attacked the next mountain in front of us, the plastic plates piled high with perfectly palatable parmesan pasta. The next day did not dawn bright and early. In fact we beat it by setting off from the hut by 6 am. Not long into the climb we faced our first major decision; go left with Mark or right with Ruth. In true Peter Dunne if not mountaineering fashion they split the decision and we went up the middle. Adam and I were mere boys following the higher powers higher. It was good it was too dark to see where we were going because we were soon pointing on all fives, fours or threes or whatever it's meant to be in the manual. It was that sort of situation where I'd have given my right arm to be ambidextrous. Nevertheless we were soon back on all two's, in time to pickup the earliest sight fragrances of pink. Yes you could almost smell the view it was so primeval. After re-appreciating the difference between 1 in. of crisp squelch on the snow and 1 ft. of sinking sludge, I found myself on the summit of Angelus Peak, or Mount Angelus to me, just before 9 am, miraculously on the same day. After allowing Mike the privilege of claiming the true peak about 30m away, admittedly from which he took some great photos, we retreated. Replenishing ourselves back at the hut I lugged my legs back up out the Basin confident that in setting out a little earlier I was ahead of everyone. All of a sudden a reincarnation of Ruth was there ahead of me sitting on the Saddle. To this day I refuse to accept that she passed me unseen. She floats but never gloats. In the tired tramp back behind that Ruth of the surreal world I simply put one foot after the other, fighting back against the fierce stillness and clarity of everything around me. My resistance crumbled when it came to the warm coffee in the warm shop in the company of my fellow warm mountaineers.... I had arrived....after 30 years and three attempts to get into that coffee shop. Thank you one and all. Climb every mountain and all that music sort of stuff. Scribe – John McCartin

And for the gaps in John’s story :

For the stragglers, Mark & I (Marguerite Verheul), we left a very full Mt Robert car park, aware the rest of the crew were now up on the ridge. All going well they would be enjoying a late lunch at Julius Saddle, in the sun with extensive views. The climb to Relax Shelter has never been a favourite and with Mark as the speed dial for the day, there was a silent alarm ringing inside, was I mad for offering to do a late start? The climb had to be done, and every time we passed a group or two, I’d mentally tick a car off in my head. Mt Robert ski field must have held at least five carloads of day trippers and it soon became apparent that not so many had headed for Angelus Hut. The ridge was covered in easy walking snow, and the conditions purrrfect. Not a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind. By 5pm the sinking sun and its end of the day rays played a colour symphony with the ice and snow. It really was an exceptional day to be in the mountains. The hut was not full at all, even with the unexpected addition of Dion, who had joined the earlier team somewhere along the ridge. The evening passed in a very civil manner with only a brief mention of the next day. For the few of us that chose to sleep in, a leisurely start was followed by an even more leisurely stroll back to the car park, joined at little later by the successful summit team; Mike Drake, Ruth Hesselyn, Mark Stevens, Adam Worsely, and John McCartin. The rest of the team; Dion Pont, Marguerite Verheul and Uta Purcell.
15 July 2007 Red Hills Plateau – Organiser: Gretchen Williams

Nine trampers, over half of whom hadn’t been to the Plateau before, set off across perma-frost paddocks and icy streams to wind their way up the farm road, past large hanging icicles and over solid ice wheel tracks. A keen wind was blowing when we left the Red Hills Hut and walked through the tussock and rocks and smattering of snow left from the heavy falls the weekend before. But the sun was out and the views up the Wairau were just as Grahame had advertised in his email earlier in the month. The odd snow drift gave some the opportunity to frolic. We found a big rock formation to shelter behind and have lunch before descending to meet the Porter’s Track and head back to the Hut.

Half the group headed down via the alternative route – the intention being that the vehicles would pick them up down the road. Not to be – car trouble meant one vehicle (and occupants) spent the next few hours in the shaded, windy and rapidly re-freezing paddock while the other vehicle went to St Arnaud to summon the AA. Thanks to David Blunt, Carole Crocker, Jocelyn Win, Margaret Page, Gillian Arbuthnott, Jenny Revell and visitors Kathy Harrison and Jin Mizimisha and also to Dion Pont, who was returning from the Angelus trip, for their help, patience and good humour during the ‘drama’ and their company for the day. Scribe: Gretchen Williams.
21-22 July 2007 Slaty Hut – Organiser: Lawrie Halkett

The Starvell / Slaty tramp turned out to be marvellous even though there were plenty of misgivings about the weather leading up to the weekend.

Certainly gaining road access through Lucy Creek / Hancock plantation estate encouraged a good turnout of club members: Alice Patterson, Ann Sheridan, Carole Crocker, Uta Purcell, Arthur Jonas, Dion Pont, Lawrie Halkett, Tony Haddon and visitor Aucks Hoogeveen.

The tramp itself was a breeze; the real challenge was in getting to the start of the track! The first snag was the key we were given could not unlock the gate so we had to go awaken a near neighbour / gate keeper. Having overcome that obstacle the next was finding our way through the maze of forestry roads and intersections to the start of the track. Dion won the prize as orienteer extraordinaire, and guided us to the start of the track.

The tramp to Starvell and Slaty was pretty uneventful, arriving early afternoon at Slaty Hut. After a brew we all wandered towards Adda and Old Man for a late afternoon view. The cloud magically parted at the appropriate moments so we had great views of Mt Richmond, Fishtail and the Wairau Valley.

That evening Tony elected to try out his new Karitane coloured tent and Lawrie braved the woodshed, allowing the remaining party to more comfortably spread around the hut. After dinner we enjoyed each other’s company, sharing stories among kindred spirits. The men folk in the group were blessed to have such a strong contingent of women and much of the evening was spent with the women generously imparting many a tip about “survival skills” to us blokes; not so much was it about braving the elements but rather on how to spoil the fairer sex. There was a lot of laughter and a promise among the lads to go home and try out their newly acquired “survival skills” on their partners. (Note: I will not provide any further details on these skills because Alice is going to write a book and then all you fellas will know how to treat a lady).Sunday dawned beautifully fine and all enjoyed a pleasant stroll back to Mt Starvell, with some heading due south to claim the true summit of Starvell. Lunch at Starvell Hut then out to the road end. Of course we had to cap the trip off with the odd wrong turn on the way down through the pine plantation to the locked gate, but again Dion proved his real worth exhibiting traits similar to that of a homing pigeon.
22 July 2007 Sharlands Lookout – Organiser: Shirley de Groot

A group of thirteen people met at the Botanical Reserve on this fine crisp winter’s day. Once beyond the Centre of New Zealand we enjoyed lots of sunshine and panoramic views. A large herd of cattle feasting on their breakfast of hay made an interesting diversion as did the cute little kid rescued from their midst. We stopped of at the site of an old house for morning tea and pondered as to where this building came from. En route to the lookout, David suggested a possible detour via Kaka Hill for our return trip. A chance to enjoy views and warm up that seat a little was taken at the lookout itself. Some melodious birdsong was heard as we continued on down through bush to the junction of the Rimu, Matai and Supplejack Tracks. From here the lower road led us to Kaka Hill area and with a hop’n step over fences we came out onto a grassy knoll which made a very pleasant lunch spot. On return we rejoined the main track and continued on, inspecting the charred remains of the gorse fire on the hillside of Walters Bluff, before arriving back at the Reserve at 3.00pm. An enjoyable trip was had by Susan Ledingham, Dan McGuire, Grahame Harris, Denis Parnell, Katie and Maurice Cloughley, Gillian Arbuthnott, Val Latimer, David Blunt, Mary Wu, Shirley de Groot and visitors, Julie Sherrat and Margaret.
28 July 2007 Mt Robert Loop – Organiser: Mary Honey

Despite a poor general forecast, the weather gurus reckoned Robert Ridge would be fine and it was! We meandered up past Bushline Hut through a bit 'o snow to lunch on the ridge with views of the lake. Our after lunch "extra” to the next ski field faded into mist as we approached. So we turned tails and headed for coffee and ice creams in St Arnaud. Us happy trippers were Graham Harris, Gretchen Williams, Jenny Revell and Marys Wu and Honey.
28-29 July 2007 Mt Dora – Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

Nine people in three 4 wheel drives headed up the Rainbow, armed with shovels and back up plans. Fortunately, neither the warnings of an impassable road or bad weather eventuated. From Island Gully Hut the various groups headed forth, the following are reports from two of the forays undertaken.

Three of us set off from Island Gully hut at midday for the head of the Wairau Valley in open cattle grazing country. Two hours later we were directly opposite the side stream leading to Mt Dora from where Jo and I climbed up to a snowy saddle on the Crimea Range while Beverley remained back in the valley to enjoy the open spaces. Upon reaching the saddle at 3pm we were rewarded with good views into the Clarence and a glimpse of Lake Tennyson immediately below. The main peaks to the north of us were mostly covered in clouds, but Mt Maling, not far above us, was in the clear and looked very inviting so up we went in rather softish snow for Jo to achieve her first climb of a snowy peak using an ice axe. The descent was much quicker and after a short stop with Ruth's party near their campsite we headed off back down the valley in fading light arriving back at the hut in darkness assisted by a full moon and the flashing lights of Dion's and Beverley's vehicles. Next morning after a cosy night in the hut we left Dion to try his luck with some 4wd attempts on nearby hydro roads while we headed up behind the hut to a prominent knob at 1595m which provided excellent views all around although Mt Dora was difficult to pinpoint. Then it was back to the hut for lunch to await the return of the triumphant climbing party with their crampons, and the Crimea Range solo traverser with his gumboots! A very satisfying weekend well organised and timed.

The Mt Dora team, plus one (Tony) eventually dragged ourselves away from the hut (with fire) and headed up the valley, from the forecast expecting wind, rain, and snow. Three hours later home was established, three tents, and a kitchen. The afternoon was spent inspecting Tony's finely made DIY stove, and perching on top of a boulder seeking out the saddle summiters (Dave and Jo). A near full moon, no wind and clear sky resulted in “let's go now” at 02:43. After the application of sanity, and some tent discussion, a 04:00 wakeup was agreed. At 05:08 four head torches proceeded up the valley. A keen head torch was seen heading directly for Mt Dora, a few exchanges, and the head torches were back “in-line”. A head-of-the-valley boulder provided a good rest stop before the ascent. Crusty topped soft snow saw the step plodder change frequently. At 09:30 the summit was reached. Excellent views were digitally frozen. However, there was no sign of gumboots proceeding along the ridge back to the hut. Thanks to my fellow step plodders (Carole, Mark, and Ruth), Tony and the hut team for an enjoyable weekend. Scribe Mike Drake.

Beverly Muirhead, David Blunt, Dion Pont, Jo Kay, Carole Crocker, Mark Stevens, Mike Drake, Tony Haddon and Ruth Hesselyn
5 August 2007 Rabbit Island Circuit – Organiser: Trish Bennett (Substitute Grahame Harris)

The day started with several showers and sunshine, but eventually it cleared and we headed up to the Waimea Inlet end of the Island. We noted a large group of sea gulls (in a conference) but we got past without disturbing them. We walked on around the head and up to the western side until we came to the end of the sandy part of the beach and had to go up amongst old stumps and pinecones etc. Stopped for lunch after finding a stump to sit on and saw a kayak pass with a couple of people in it and as the water was so calm it looked so tranquil. The wide open space was quite amazing and seemed so quiet. We then decided to walk through the trees rather than out on the open road. We saw several roads we could have taken, but remained on the one nearest to the water. We eventually turned right and headed back to the main beach. Noticed that there were quite a few people around on the main beach and also up in the grassy area where barbeques were smoking away. A good day enjoyed by us all. The trampers attending were: - Grahame Harris, Denis Parnell, Katie and Maurice Cloughley.
5 August 2007 Lyell Walkway – Organiser: Barry Pont Cancelled Weather

12 August 2007 Ben Nevis – Organiser: Tony Haddon

12 keen types braved the forecast and received their reward, a beaut day up the hill with the usual view to die for, and enough snow to have lunch in.

The rewarded: Uta Purcell, Grahame Harris, Gretchen Williams, John Faber, Beverly Muirhead, Gillian Arbuthnott, Maurice & Katie Cloughley, Dan McGuire, Tony Haddon and visitors Julie Sherrat and Ant McNamara.
19 August 2007 Wainui Falls & Whariwharangi. Organiser: Ross Price

Cancelled: Lack of numbers.
 19 August 2007 Billies Knob. Organiser: Andy Clark

8.30am had feet inside four pairs of boots at Courthouse Flat ready for an assault on Billies Knob 1648m. It was decided to take the ridge track on the way up and the bush track on our return to complete the loop. A good steady pace ensured that we were at the top of the Staircase by 11.00am and ready for Billies Knob proper. Snow was around in patches and grew more widespread the higher we got, but was soft enough to kick steps with ease. The wind was cold and after the shaking of hands and taking of photos we descended to the saddle for another lunch during which a snow shower passed through. Views were had of Mt Owen, Cullifords Hill and many other snow capped peaks of the region.

The descent through the bush allowed us time to visit Blue Creek Resurgence and still arrive back at the cars by 4.30pm. A good solid workout was enjoyed by Andy Clark, Pat Holland, Jo Kay and Jin Mizimisha.