Author Topic: Mangaweka via Purity Hut  (Read 2899 times)

Mangaweka via Purity Hut
« on: February 07, 2010, 05:33:40 PM »
I took advantage of Taxi Guano to bag this peak.  Fair to say leaving Auckland Friday at 4pm, bagging Mangaweka and returning to Auckland Saturday night is bordering on insane but hey insane people have more fun.

From Taihape, it is about a 40 minute drive to the start of the track.  A stream crossing was negotiated successfully (on the way up anyway) and we headed into a section we named "the welcome mat".  It was a welcome mat in all ways apart from the fact it isnít flat.  It is a very steep 300m vertical climb that just goes on and on.  If you are fit you will hate it.  If you are not fit you will make yourself ill.  It reminds me of the climb behind the hut at Hikurangi on the East Cape except it is about 50% longer.

At the top of this section we entered the bush.  The track is pretty good and dry with a number of steep sections though not as sharp as before.  As I did not want to let Guano feel bad, I did take the back marker position up this section as my heart rate soared again. Some say Guanoís heart only beats at one pace, I found no evidence to the contrary.  We made Purity Hut on the bush line in a blistering 1 hour 23 minutes where we had a rest and a quick bite.

Heading on up a spur towards wooden peg the track becomes a bit rougher with tussock and scrub often hiding where you put your feet. A grind of about 45 minutes saw us attain the main ridge and the stunning views of the inner Ruahineís became visible. Sawtooth ridge looked a great place to visit and the major peaks of the eastern Ruahineís seemed to tower over our position even though we were already at a similar or higher elevation! Optical illusions against the horizon abound!

We headed onward towards iron peg on a route that wasnít at all obvious.  I think preparation, research, navigation equipment and a bit of experience is a must up here.  Even in the clear the featureless ridge made navigation not so obvious to me.  Guano with his GPS though took all navigation responsibility happily away from me.  In limited visibility you would need to be razor sharp on route finding and the comfort of a GPS would be worthwhile.

After some undulating travel we hit the unassuming summit of Mangaweka which is just a flat tussock covered nothing in all honesty.  There is a smashed trig and pile of wood to announce your arrival.  I didnít see any prayer flags.  There are great views though, however by now cloud had built to the west hiding Mt Ruapehu and the central mountains.  The views east though were crystal clear and just gorgeous; the rugged Ruahines at your feet.  It took us 3 hours to attain Mangaweka. However this wasnít the turnaround for us today.

I followed Guano on an unmarked route to the next major peak to the north which is named Hikurangi.  This out and back trip extension added approx 2 hours to the day.  Under foot isnít that easy with tussock, and low scrub and uneven ground.  I did have a couple of close calls with minor ankle rolls. However, in reality those not attempting to break the sound barrier with Guano across here should have little problem.

Cloud then descended on the tops. We picked our way back along the ridge, back over Mangaweka, to wooden peg again and started our descent.  We passed two parties heading up to the hut in the heat of the day struggling with large packs.  I had to feel sorry for them!  A steep, knee punishing but uneventful trip down followed. I took a couple of good sized spills though as the legs began to wary. This included one that Guano will no doubt publish where I slid down a rock into the stream (which was very refreshing!!)

A big thank-you to Guano for the lift down.  It was the sort of trip that was just too far for a solo drive down from Auckland but his hospitality and organisation made it all possible.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 03:11:19 PM by vinodrinker »

Re: Mangaweka via Purity Hut
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 07:11:47 AM »
Panorama from near wooden peg...