Thursday 8th to Tuesday 13th April 2010
Trip organiser: John Norris, with assistance from John and Ann Simpson.
Weather: Let’s get this out of the way - unbelievably perfect!
Thursday 8 April
While most travelled by club bus, a few took private transport. On the way down, some erratic clutch performance meant a longish delay at National Park and a late afternoon arrival. John and Ann Simpson, as earlier arrivers, had dinner mainly organised. The bus could now only be used for limited action until repairs were made by a mechanic from Raetihi on Monday.
Friday 9 April
The main group headed off for the summit while Wes and Glen tackled ‘The Crossing’. Dave chose to climb Ngauruhoe and achieved this in good time before returning to the bus at Mangatepopo.
Track improvements (board and steps) on the way to Mt Tongariro were viewed favourably by most but the challenge of the old staircase was missed by a few. From the South Crater, John N brought back a small group while the main group had lunch in cooler conditions after reaching Red Crater. From the summit of Tongariro the return was to drop down on steep, untracked terrain to West Ridge and then to pick up the main track near Mangatepopo Hut. At 2.00pm Elaine had a fall, not knowing at the time that she had broken three bones in her right instep. Her pack was taken and, with assistance and much courage over the next four hours, she made her way back to the bus on the verge of darkness. Her return to Auckland the next day was essential - plaster and crutches. Some navigational challenges had been earlier met by the group but some ‘front-running’ by Robert and his GPS confirmed correct decisions.
Saturday 10 April
From Mem Hut this untracked spot is not the easiest to find but John N led the main group over jagged lava ridges to a spot where we could look down on this huge solitary block with its memorial plaque. A relaxed lunch was taken there before returning by a lower route to our hut. June and Keith chose an alternative higher route.Local walks were chosen by those who did not join the main group.
Sunday 11 April
At 3.45am Robert left with the aim of taking photos of the sunrise at Crater Lake. His initial climb was under the chair-line to Knoll Ridge and thence to Crater Rim (6.20am) and a little while later to Dome Shelter. Total time (and in the dark) 2hrs 45mins - a great achievement. The second group, Wes, Glen, Dean, Keith and Dave, took the conventional chairlift to Knoll Ridge before climbing to Crater Lake.
The third group was keen to climb the newish Skyline Track to the saddle near the Pinnacles. This track has much to commend it, for apart from excellent views, it allows the ascent to Mt Te Heuheu which June and John M climbed in very good time. While lunching at the saddle, we met smallish groups representing a surprising number of nationalities.
Monday 12 April
Starting on the Round-the-Mountain Track, Wes led a leisurely walk to the Whakapapaiti Hut. Further down-river, pleasant beech trees were met before we branched right to join the W Valley Track. A right turn at the next junction led us up to Silica Springs, as bright as one would wish in the strong sunlight. John N and Jeanette met us here to report that the bus had been seen by the mechanic and would be ready for tomorrow's return to Auckland. A walk out to Bruce Rd finished the day’s activity.
Tuesday 13 April
An early start, lunch at Otorohanga and back at the garage before 3.00pm. Overall, a very good six days with members also commenting on the high standard of meals! Thoughtful provisioning by Margita Wells-Green helped.
Drivers: John Norris and Doug Astley.