Author Topic: White Christmas  (Read 1855 times)

White Christmas
« on: December 24, 2009, 04:53:21 AM »
Bagged in snow and wind. 6 hours 40, return incl stops.

Dec 21st 2009.  Forecast was for showers clearing to fine in afternoon, so as our plans were pushed for time we decided the forecast was good enough.  We packed extra clothing and gear which i thought upon leaving Auckland was a waste of space however we were wrong.

The first section was flat before pealing off onto gentle annie track.  This was a long, winding moderately steep continual grade which was well presented, even and fast going for the fit. Towards the top just as we started to break out of the bush it began to drizzle/ light rain.  We pushed on knowing that there was a shelter and a hut on route and if we needed to abandon we would.  We had all the right gear so kept going across pig flat which was boarded in places but a bit damp.

At the mountain shelter we stopped a while and put on all layers, had a drink and a bite, waited a while before deciding to trust the forecast and push on to Powell Hut.  A tramper on the way down let us know it was snowing on the tops and that he had left the fire going in the hut.  Both pieces of information forced us on.  The track steepens and by the time we broke out of the bush at 1100 metres it was snowing though nothing settling on the ground.  We reached the hut and dried out in front of the fire.

Above the hut snow was settling and the wind was pretty strong but not too extreme. Id guess around 60km/h.  Visability dropped to 50-100m but knowing our target wasn't too far away, seeing the route pretty well worn in most places, good gear, the safety of the hut not far behind, and having a gps at hand saw me push on with the kids and wife.  progress was a little slower as we battled the wind, damp, cold and at times driving snow.

We made it to the top in about 45 mins from the hut, maybe a bit longer and enjoyed the moment and the weather taking lots of photos before retreating to the hut for lunch and to dry out. 

After we had finished lunch the weather began to clear, and the clouds lifted providing an non evenful trip to the carpark.

Even given the stop start nature of our ascent, we still managed to clock out at 6 hours 40 mins thanks to a bit of trail running down gentle annie

this is a reasonably long hike but on a clear day I would imagine it fairly benign. however experiencing this surprising december weather makes me realise how dangerous and extreme this hike could be in cooler seasons in grumpy conditions. Go over prepared and don't take it lightly.  The weather is the enemy of the tramper in the tararuas above all else.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 04:47:07 PM by vinodrinker »