The intention of the trip was to complete two day trips from the bus. The weather forecast wasnt looking great but we kept a close eye on it throughout the weekend. The medium group was lead by Rudy and had Chris, St. John, Joanne, Lynda, Monica, Rae and Louise.
Saturday saw us setting off from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing carpark with the intention of the heading up Hardiman's Ridge, around the summit of Mt Tongariro and down the summit track, walking back to the carpark via the crossing track. What actually happened was poor visibility from the start and the knowledge that the weather was deteriorating to gale force winds in the evening. We were all well prepared but the weather packed up earlier than we were expecting. Due to the poor visibility, we went further north of the summit than we were intending to and too high up the alpine ridge. Once we saw that the summit track was covered in unstable snow and the visibility and weather were getting much worse, we made the call to turn around and head back the way we came. As a group we worked well together to get safely down the mountain and back to the bus. We learnt a very strong lesson in safety, getting complacent, and when to turn around.
We stayed at Whakapapa Holiday Park and calmed our nerves with a hot shower and dinner at the pub.
On Sunday, we walked around the Taranaki Falls Loop, as climbing Mt Ngaruahoe in poor weather did not appeal to any of us.
Overall, it was a good weekend but we all learnt lessons about taking the right gear for the trip, communicating as a group, listening to the weather forecast and being brave enough to say we were more comfortable to turn around than continue on. Safety first!
Photos from group mmbers - website link