Weekend - Friday 12 September 2014 to Sunday 14 September 2014 (3 days)

An honest attempt ....

A serious lack of the white stuff meant a great weekend for the trampers but a real struggle for the 6 snow-cavers. They went high up the mountain but the visibility was poor and after playing around for a while and hitting rocks, they retired to our Snowsports Lodge for a comfortable night. Participants - Terry Chubb, Peter Thompson, Graeme Pollock, Richard Cooper, Garry Williams & Fay Zhong. It was great to see Richard again after 10 years and he even drove half-way home.


It was a bad forecast for the weekend so we were prepared for anything. After a wet night, our small tramping group (Margaret Law, Andrew Murdoch, Laurence Beard and Liz Ware) set off Saturday morning past Taranaki Falls in fine weather and a mild temperature. We turned off the main track and headed up to the Tama Lakes, continuing round upper Tama and climbing up to peak 1542, then up another 100m to Mount Tama. The low clouds kept coming and going but apart from a cold wind, the conditions were pretty good and we had great views.


We dropped off the northern side of Tama and had a very easy descent down a lovely valley towards Waihohonu hut. About an hour saw us hitting the main track near the historic hut and then the rain set in for the last five minutes to the palatial new hut. Another group from Auckland already had the fire going and it was very cosy and welcoming. They had had rain all day coming from Oturere so we had been extremely lucky with our weather. About 7 hours tramping time.

We woke on Sunday to magnificent views of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe so the photographers were very busy! We tramped about 3 kms along the main track towards Whakapapa then turned south and cut across country up a dry river bed to Saddle Cone. The party had 2 maps that showed the Cone in 2 different places, which was confusing until we actually saw it - having grunted up a big ridge unnecessarily! Lawrence and I played in a patch of snow while Margaret and Andrew scampered up the Cone just for fun.


We crossed the gull colony basin and ascended a ridge then instead of following the stream down to the main track we did "Noel’s route" up onto another ridge and followed it down to come out at Ridge Track just above the DOC office. This is an excellent route but we hit a cold strong southerly and rain for the last hour which was not pleasant - the café was a great incentive to keep going! About 6 hours tramping time.

Thanks very much Margaret for 2 great days tramping - in Andrew’s words "totally awesome". It’s good to get off those big main tracks.

It was a shame more people didn’t come to enjoy it.

Scribe - Liz Ware.