Trip Reports: November 2003

Scotts Knob – 23 & 24 August 2003. Leader: Peter Wise
This was the third trip to this particular peak for leader Peter, but his fitness level had slipped a little since the last two trips so he didn’t make it quite to the top this time. Five trampers set off in two vehicles early on the Saturday morning, with Peter leaving his car at the river crossing in the Branch. Bryan got his 4x4 across with ease after which we all crammed in for the 15km trip to the hut. We ended up parking the vehicle about 3kms short of the hut due to a heavily rutted side stream crossing so had to walk the rest of the way and then up the valley towards Scotts Knob for about two hours to set up camp. With the valley feeling very cold and chilly, Bryan and Peter decided to explore a plateau high up on a nearby sunny ridge. Although here was water up there, the site didn’t shape up as well as it looked from down below. We all had had experience of sleeping with snorers so on this trip most of us had a tent each.

Sunday morning started with a steady climb up the valley and on up the gut before having to find our way out of that and on to the adjacent ridge then on up to the rocky bluffs and into the snow. Here we fitted our crampons in fine weather before plodding on. Bryan and Carol soon tramped on out of sight followed by Giselle and Grahame. Peter stopped near the bottom of the shingle slide for a rest. A short time later, Carol and Bryan re-appeared followed a little later by Giselle and Grahame. They had gone the wrong way and time had run out by the time they had realized so returned to where Peter was. Here we had lunch and a little photo session before continuing on down to the camp. Packed up camp about 4pm then carried on to the hut and back to the 4x4 just on dark.
Those on this trip were Carol Crocker, Grahame Harris, Giselle Clements, Bryan McLean, and leader Peter.

Happy Valley – 24 August 2003. Leader: Jim Maxwell
From the carpark at the bridge on Maori Pa Road we followed a farm track across the river flats and up the road which leads up the valley to the new sky wire attraction. Onn the way, we inspected the large matai tree and continued on to the sky wire terminal where we had our morning tea. Next was the lookout which gave us a great view down to the Maori Pa area and Pepin Island. Over Blue Hill we had to make choices, which roads we would take, and stopped for lunch at a clearing in the sun. The road was getting overgrown with gorse right along this ridge. Soon we could hear traffic on the main road which is only 300m away at its closest point near the Whangamoa Saddle. A short distance on we passed a young bl9oke doing some earthworks with a digger who assured us we were on the right track. Back at the cars at 3pm. A sunny calm day and an interesting walk.
Participants: Anita Robertson, Dave Blunt, Cheryl Nicol, Dan McGuire, Gretchen Williams, Uta Purcell, Tony Haddon, and leader Jim Maxwell.

Parachute Rock (Nelson Lakes National Park) - 30 August 2003. Leader: Uta Purcell
After recent snowfalls and a brief clearance in the weather, it seemed just right to head for the mountains. Eleven trampers of all fitness levels started their steady climb up to the St Arnaud ridge at 9am. Sunlight filtered through the beech forest. After morning break the well-defined and marked track became a zigzag. There was little wind. The advance members of the party were waiting at the rocks till everyone had arrived. Nobody was prepared to leap and fly but most made a dash up to the ridge before the weather deteriorated to cloud cover and a fresh breeze. There was even the odd snowflake travelling past. The views were great: thin snow patches in the basins and of course snow on all distant tops. The track between the rocks and the ridge was either frozen or muddy but ably negotiated by everyone. We had climbed approximately 1,000m. It took us 5.5 hours, some legs were more tired than others. 
Out to enjoy the day, the exercise and the views were: David Nielsen, Lindsay Twiname, Bob Janssen, Carl Horn, Grahame Harris, Joan Meek (visitor), Arthur Jonas,Yvonne Kyle, Beryce Vincenzi, Anita Robertson and leader Uta. 

Wooded Peak – 7 September 2003. Leader: Dan McGuire
A fine day saw Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Andrew Hutchison, Jim Maxwell, Neil Thomas, and leader Dan make record time on the tramp up an uncharted ridge and down Wells Ridge and over Sunrise Ridge. We stopped midway up Wooded Peak for morning tea and wonderful views, then again near the top for views of the Mt Richmond Ranges. All trampers showed exceptional fitness and may be recruited for an assault on Manakau in the Seaward Kaikouras this summer.

Ben Nevis - 14 September 2003. Leader: Roger Minchin
The forecast was for a rough night with heavy rain but clearing during the morning. The first part of the forecast was correct and it had stopped raining at 7am; 13 of the original 21 who intended to come turned up including 2 at Brightwater. Four of us, Tuesday walkers, had been up Ben Nevis in the last couple of months since the new access had been opened but we still missed the turn off up Boundary Road – 2.5 km after taking the new way to the right. After some sightseeing we got back to the correct road and carpark at about 10am. It was cloudy but looked to be lifting. However this proved to be an illusion and at the normal morning tea stop, coats were put on. 

As the bush got lighter and thinner the weather got wetter and colder. My Christchurch visitor was not handling conditions too well so I excused myself from climbing to the summit and was joined by a few others. Seven of the party braved their way on but did not stay long on top. They claimed it warmed up a little after leaving the bush. We all had a good walk. The forestry roads were in the main in good order with no slips but parts of the road just above the Wairoa river had recently been topdressed with heavy rough metal that I for one did not like driving on.
Party:- Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, Roger Bruce, John Caird, Elma Vangule, Grahame Harris, Jim Maxwell, Christine Hay, Michael Beatson, Arthur Jonas, Jim Western, Dave Blunt, and Roger Minchin.

Mt Angelus – 20 & 21 September 2003 - cancelled due to poor weather.
Harris Hill to Centre of NZ – 28 September 2003 - cancelled due to poor weather.
Robert Ridge/Prospect Ridge – 4 & 5 October 2003 - cancelled to due poor weather, however here is leader Grahame Harris’ report of the recce he and Arthur Jonas did prior to the planned Club trip.

It was intended to climb to Bushline Hut, grab bunks, have lunch, then explore Christie Ridge. Next day descend untracked Prospect Ridge to Whisky Falls. However, snow was forecast, and happened, down to Lake level. 
However, Arthur and I went down the Thursday before, during a brief break in the weather, to recce the Prospect Ridge upwards. After some difficulty getting started we found a good line leading up through the bluffs near the bottom and found the going straightforward after that. However we encountered snow on the ground among the trees little more than halfway up. By the time we cleared the bush we were in fresh snow and very soon clouds rolled around us restricting visibility while a strong wind blew squalls of sleet and snow at us. Our only indicator of direction was that we had to keep going up. Eventually we reached a point where we could ascend no further and we could discern through the mist the old dunny, with the vague outline of the Prospect Shelter behind it. The snow was piled against the shelter door, which was frozen shut and needed quite a heave to open it so that we could go in for lunch.

When we emerged the weather had improved slightly and we were able to follow the track marker poles. As we descended the ridge past the whistling pole, the wind was extremely fierce and cold, but by the time we reached the Bushedge Shelter conditions had eased and we met day-trippers. Snow lay on the track all the way down the Pinchgut to the point where it left the trees. Quite an exciting tramp - a bit different.

Kahikatea Track, Grampians – 5 October 2003. Leader: Robyn Walsh
The day was clear and sunny, or so it seemed, when my party of 6 met at the southern end of The Grampians in Clifford Ave, Bishopdale, at 9am. It evolved into a day of passing snow-shower clouds and cool windy moments alternating with warm sun. We were soon zig-zagging up the well-bushed, shaded gully, passing a magnificent kahikatea specimen surrounded by a very expensive new boardwalk. Halfway up, a dark cloud that had been hovering in the south-east brought us 10 minutes of hail. We sheltered under the trees until it had passed, then carried on up to the Junction. Then over to the Lookout for a snack stop and a view of thick snow in the west, well below the bushline. Ben Nevis etc. with a good covering as well. Quite a surprise to see.

At 10.30 as the skies darkened again, we walked up the road to the Summit. The clouds passed round to the north, luckily. Any views were hard to see here with the overgrown shrubs. So we descended down the road and along the wide ridge track until we were overlooking Collingwood St. We found a good sheltered spot in the sun for lunch at 12pm. We watched another huge cloud approach from the west. It soon blotted out the sun as it absolutely poured over the sea and Boulder Bank. It looked like we were going to get our share very soon so with lunch consumed, we retraced our route back up to the ridge at 12.40pm. Amazingly, we got only a few rainspots and soon we were back in the hot sun again. From the Junction we did a short side trip along a bush track that descends into the Brook. This track was muddy and slippery. After 20 minutes we turned back. It was now a brilliant day. For the last stretch we descended the wide firebreak to do the Matai Track a little further on to zigzag down to where we had started. Arrived back at the vehicles by 3.15pm.
Present: David Nielsen, Roland Penhall, Christine Burn, John Olykan, Ken Holmes, and leader Robyn.

Sylvester Hut – 11 & 12 October 2003 - cancelled due to poor weather.

Red Hills Plateau – 19 October 2003. Leader: Kath Ballantine
We left Stoke at 7.30 and by 9am we were walking across the paddocks towards the farm track that took us up to the Red Hills hut. Morning tea at the hut when we were joined by Tony Haddon who had motor biked up to the hut. We then set off across the tussock and up to the highest point of the plateau. We decided this was a good place for lunch and everyone enjoyed the warmth and the views looking north across some small tarns. We continued cross country heading south until we intersected the track that goes to the Porters hut. We had some wild life encounters, Gretchen startled a couple of rabbits when she stepped over their hole, and we all paused at a tarn to observe the tadpoles at various stages of development. A quick look at the cob cottage on the way back, before getting back into hot cars and the trip home.
14 people enjoyed the beautiful warm day on the Red hills, they were: Grahame Harris, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Megg Hewlett, Gretchen Williams, Uta Purcell, Trish Bennett, Marianne Hermsen, Lein Jobse, and new comers, Jeanette King, Brian Rennick, Gary Russell, Peter Sullivan, and leader Kath.

Hunters Hut / Red Hill – Labour Weekend, 25 to 27 October 2003. Leader: Tony Haddon
Six good keen folk took on Red Hill and won. If you want details you'll have to go when the next generation of trampers organise the next trip ! Merit awards to trip participants: Uta for not losing it when discovering Red Hill is high and pointy. Jim for locating all the downhill bits. Gretchen for her antics in the bog. Grahame for stoicism when bloodily wounded. Ken for generously offering his shiny billy for the official brew and then cleaning it with freezing cold gravel. Tony for even thinking about doing the trip a second time.

Granity Pass Hut – 1 & 2 November: Cancelled due to poor weather.