Weekend Trip - Friday 8 November 2013 to Sunday 10 November 2013 (3 days)

I was first approached by the Terry, the leader, several months ago about whether I'd be interested in an up coming trip, camping on the summit plateau, a trip last done by the club some 15 years or so ago. The real motive behind the invitation was revealed when I was asked if I had a suitable 2 person tent, which I did have, and the leader didn't, so I was put down as a starter.

We were sent links to YouTube clips, including on how to pitch a tent on the snow using supermarket bag anchors.

On the Summit Plateau

A couple of weeks before the trip, final preparations were made. Who would bring food, stove, alcohol and other things. And then Wednesday night, a phone call, "Graeme, have you got a penknife? I can't find mine".

"Um Terry, we're having Backcountry and don't need a knife".

"No Graeme, we might be cooking inside the tent vestibule and may need to cut an emergency exit in case of fire, so keep it handy."

Two days before the trip, it was too late to change my mind and pull out. I just might lose my tent.

Friday night everybody was well on time and the bus got away heading off towards Tukino Skifield. The bus stopped for the night due to poor visibility, leaving a short drive in the morning, parking up at the radio transmission mast.

We woke to a fine morning. Having had breakfast and got ready and set off at 0748h and regrouping at Tukino village an hour later. Our party consisted of three faster trampers and three slower ones. Onwards and upwards we left Tukino at 0930h, reaching the snow and our lunch stop at 1150h near hill 2198m, passing a couple of snowboarders along the way.

After lunch we put on our crampons and left at 1313h. The snowboarders had set up camp nearby. We carried on going up onto the Mangatoetoenui Glacier. The snow was soft all the way, not really any need for crampons. Lee, also known as Plugger-Lee, thoughtfully bashed a route up through the gunge for us.

Up over the crater rim at 1513h and across the Plateau we went to our camp site by Dome Ridge, eventually arriving at 1651h.

Setting up camp.

Tents were put up and dinner prepared. "Remember 300 magnetic" we were instructed, in case of low visibility the next morning. This was the bearing for our exit point off the summit through the "Notch". Evening conversation included the practicalities of "pack it in, pack it out", like absolutely everything, not pleasant. The radio sched was done, all parties fine, and the sun soon set. We got into our tents as the temperature dropped. Terry and I had dinner, pudding and followed it with some most fortifying Glayva. The weather had been fine all day for us, what more could anyone want?

Soon into the night, poor Sue discovered her sleeping bag didn’t quite cut it. Her and Lee had to do some serious rearranging, which solved the problem. The rest of us were snug-as.

We woke to another fine morning. Carol and Lee set off to Paretetaitonga, while the rest of us set off to see crater lake, Lee joining us later. We got back to camp and packed up. We found that the supermarket bags had made rock solid anchors as we tried removing them.

We left at 1102h, Carol had left earlier. We got to the Notch at 1112h and headed down the Whakapapa Skifield. Sue a recent snowcraft participant, was a bit apprehensive at descending the steep snow slopes, but a bit of reassurance from Lee and our leader, put her right and we carried on down the mountain. We arrived at the bus at Iwikau village at 1328h, had lunch then continued down to pick up Tony's group.

It was good to have Steve along as a non-member and hope to see him on future club trips.

Scribe: Graeme Pollock

Leader: Terry Chubb

With: Lee McKay, Sue Woolnough, Carol Exton, Steve Shearman