Trip Reports
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1  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Ngauruhoe, Mt / Tongariro Crossing + Tongariro summit and Ngauruhoe summit Date: January 21, 2013, 12:53:00 PM
Walked from Mangatepopo carpark to Mt Ngauruhoe, the ascent up Ngauruhoe can be a difficult on if you don't know where to go, I would recommend skipping the first turnoff to the summit and taking the second turnoff at the top of the saddle (located at a group of large rocks where people always stop to rest after the climb up onto the saddle)

It is easiest and safer (there is often large rocks rolling down the scree slope) to stick to the left of the main scree slope and head to the ridge of mostly solid rock on the left, this will take you almost to the top before the last push to the rim.
On the decent it is quickest to take the scree slope on the right (left if looking from the top) if you are confident on the scree you can get down in as little as 15min.

I then walked to the Emerald Lakes (track is currently closed from here to Ketitahi) then making the return to Mangatepopo with the side trip to the Tongariro summit.

This was completed in about 8 hours at a fast pace.
2  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Taranaki, Mt / Mt Egmont / Taranaki Peak Date: January 21, 2013, 12:41:46 PM
I have completed the trip to the top four times, on the most recent trip I drove to Stratford Plateau and walked to Tahurangi Lodge before starting the ascent to the top.

The track is steep with no respite, you initially start climbing op staircases but this soon runs out and turns into a scree slope.
The scree will take you up another 400-500 vertical meters before you get to "the lizard" which is a ridge of solid rock that you clamber over almost to the top.
You then have to cross the snow then another climb up loose rock for the last push to the peak.
When you get there there is a nice sheltered area to sit down and enjoy your lunch out of the almost constant wind before making the decent.
3  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Fantham's Peak / Fantham's Peak Date: January 21, 2013, 12:30:58 PM
Completed this trip as a 7 hour return trip with a group of people including several kids from 10-15 years old.

Easy climb initially to the "halfway point" then the scree starts and this section of the track will take twice as long as the first bush/stairway section.
Once you get over the scree and onto the Plateau you will see Syme hut which is a small hut that makes a good base for doing a day trip to Egmont summit (passage to the summit is not guaranteed) I have not climbed to the summit from this side yet but when I was up there in late January the only people making this trip to the summit were using crampons.

The Weather was overcast in the morning clearing in the afternoon.
There was a cold wind blowing in from the southwest which hit us the the bottom on the scree slope and stayed with us the rest of the way up.
The temperature ontop on the peak at Symes hut was very cold (guess about 5 degrees C)
 
4  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Pouakai / Pouakai Circuit + Pouakai Trig Date: January 21, 2013, 12:03:48 PM
Walked the Pouakai circuit from North Egmont Visitors Centre back to Visitors Centre in a day, walked from VC to Holly hut, then to Pouakai hut completing the side trip to Pouakai Trig, then back to North Egmont.

Weather was excellent with the exception on the cold wind blowing in from the south west on the exposed sections of the track.

Track conditions were good if you don't mind getting your feet wet and muddy in the hundreds of puddles, there is one stream on the Pouakai Hut to North Egmont section that would be difficult to cross after heavy rain.

This trip took 6 hours at a fast pace with no stops.
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