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Messages - ellisp

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Pouakai / Re: Pouakai via Holly Hut
« on: May 05, 2011, 01:39:48 PM »
Yes, that's the one - northern circuit including Henry Peak.  5.5 hours would be pretty fast for the whole circuit I think, even skipping Pouakai, but about 8-9 hours with a day pack would be a quite reasonable time.  Definitely doable as a day trip.  But a pleasant overniht tramp too.

Pouakai / Pouakai via Holly Hut
« on: May 03, 2011, 02:02:09 AM »
The Pouakai circuit with the summit thrown in turned out to be a pleasant short two days.  We had glorious weather on 30 April - 1 May.  The first day was about 6.5 hours including breaks and the second was 4.5 hours.  It took 35 minutes from the main track to the summit, a bit quicker on the way down.

Nice walk.  Track is variable - the around the mountain between North Egmont and Holly Hut is in good condition.  Much of the Pouakai circuit is on interminable but worthy wooden slats.  The summit track is much less used and not in good nick but ok by tramping standards.  Then there's a lot of up and down through the forest towards the end (if you're going clockwise).

A lovely tramp with amazing views.  If you get good weather.

Oh, Pouakai Hut looks very well used, often at or beyond capacity, so be prepared to camp or sleep on the floor (didn't happen to us but it easily could).

Mangaweka / Mangaweka in April
« on: April 26, 2011, 12:38:42 PM »
Climbed this as part of a leisurely 3 day tramp in Easter 2011 (April 22-24).    Route was Kawhatau Base - McKinnon Hut (night 1) - Hikurangi - Mangaweka - Purity Hut (night 2) - Purity Hut carpark.  The times for each day were about 4.5 hours, 5.5 hours (including lunch), 1.5 hours.  The track was in ok condition although often peters out or is just non-existent on the unmarked route bit at the tops.  No problem in good visibility like we had b ut you'd want to know what you're doing in other circumstances.

The track up to McKinnon Hut is noticeably steeper and generally tougher than Purity Hut.  If you're doing this circuit I'd recommend the way we did it as I'd rather go up that stuff than down it - particularly if there's any chance of rain, as it would be seriously slippery on the steep bit down near the cableway across the river.

A great tramp.  Amazing weather - views to Ruapehu and both coasts, great views of the more rugged eastern Ruahines.

Manaia, Mt / Mt Manaia
« on: April 06, 2011, 02:56:36 AM »
A pleasant walk - there and back again in less than 2 hours.  The path is really top quality.

You can't go right to the top of this one unless you disregard the request from the local Maori and DOC, but you get to the rock platform that is very close and has brilliant views.

Arete / Arete in March
« on: March 19, 2011, 03:04:13 AM »
Climbed this as part of a 6 day tramp from Otaki Forks to Mangahao reservoirs.  Originally I intended to spend a few nights up at Arete Biv and climb the other nearby 1500m hills - Logan, Dundas, etc - but although there was gorgeous weather the first couple of days of my trip, by the time I got to Arete the wind was coming in.  Getting from the summit to the hut was on all fours, visibility was about 10m, and the forecast was for it to start getting a bit breezy the next day, so I cut my losses and went down to the valley.

A fantastic place for walking, and I was lucky to be on the tops for at least a couple of stunning days.

General Discussion / Re: Mt Ollivier
« on: March 02, 2010, 01:42:34 PM »
I did this in very early January.  I carried an ice axe and used it on the descent, which involved traversing a snow field with a bit of a drop/slide down towards the Mueller Glacier (non-lethal fall at that point, but you'd bruise yourself against a rock when you stopped).  However, you could avoid nearly all the snow by going up and down the same way that I went up, on the rocky ridge, which when I was there had basically no snow.  I imagine in February and March the snow vanishes even more, and this is very much a case of negotiating the loose rock.

It is a fairly straightforward extension of the track up from Mt Cook village to Mueller Hut, which takes about 3-4 hours one way.  From the hut to the top and back is less than an hour return and is a walk or very easy scramble rather than a climb.  The whole thing could be done as a day trip, but much pleasanter to overnight at Mueller Hut (needs to be booked, on the day, down at the DOC visitors' centre). 

You need to be confident on an unmarked but straightforward ridge of broken, easy rock above the hut.  The markers stop soon above the hut on the ridge, but if visibility is even moderate it is straightforward to follow the ridgeline to the summit.  With very basic routefinding skills you will be ok - I would say it is ok for the "average tramper", albeit at the demanding end.

Signage is very straightforward up to Mueller Hut - much more frequent posts and cairns etc than descriptions I'd read would have you believe, although I understand a trickle of tourists get lost, presumably in bad weather (which would be no joke).   From the hut it is straightforward so long as you can see enough to basically orient yourself to a map, and work out that the only ridge around is the one to get on and follow up.  Great views down to Mt Cook village on one side, Mueller glacier on the other, over that to Mt Sefton - and Mt Cook behind you.

About 10 minutes up the ridge from behind the hut you come to a false summit, marked with a small cairn.  This isn't the real Ollivier summit, you need to follow the ridge for another 10-20 minutes (from memory) - the real summit is marked by a really big cairn.  There are no difficulties on the ridge that can't be easily sorted - no rock climbing required.

If you continued on along the ridgeline from Ollivier to Kitchener you really are in mountaineering territory, not tramping any more.  In fact, if you want go in that direction, I'd recommend popping down towards the Mueller glacier and traversing 100m below the ridge line, rather than trying to follow the ridge, which is quite broken.  However, confident scramblers could follow the ridge the whole way.  But this is now definitely beyond a scramble.

General Discussion / Mt Ollivier
« on: March 01, 2010, 02:59:30 AM »

I climbed Mt Ollivier over summer and was devastated on return that I can't do a proper trip report on it in   :D Very sad.  It features in the South Island List but not in the drop down list when you try to add a peak to your peak log.  Just an oversight... good if it could be fixed.  In the meantime, a photo from the top is attached.


General Discussion / Re: Tararua Deaths
« on: March 01, 2010, 02:56:17 AM »
I don't think either a cell phone or a PLB would have helped.  A compass and a GPS would have been better, and having the skills and knowledge to navigate in a snowstorm / whiteout conditions.  Or staying at home, given the weather forecast...  In the coronial hearing it turned out they didn't have a compass (or presumably a GPS).


Taranaki, Mt / Taranaki - late October
« on: November 08, 2009, 04:21:16 PM »
Went up by the south face.  Crampons and axe needed from about 2000m (ie once higher than Fantham's peak).  We had glorious weather.  Snow conditions were ok - a bit of loose stuff sitting on the hard compacted snow and ice.  Definitely a climb rather than a tramp at this time of year.

Photos below are all taken by Vincent - some amazing visuals.

Ruapehu, Mt / Re: Tahurangi in the winter
« on: August 05, 2009, 03:38:03 AM »
The very last ridge should be straightforward, it is just a bit exposed.  It would probably be scary in a strong wind.

So hard to tell what it would be like without the snow and ice.  The skyline ridge was really heavily iced up; and where it wasn't ice it was  snow above our knees. Average angle maybe 25-30 degrees (we did measure it at one point and it was about this). I'd say it got up to about 40-45 degrees in a couple of short sections near the top, which is pretty steep.  We were in soft snow at that point, and it felt very safe, just a bit tiring.  It could actually be harder without the snow - I presume it is scree underneath with the odd rock outcrop.

We turned most of the obstacles on climber's left when we were going up skyline ridge.  That is, there are a few big blocks of rock (covered in ice when we were there) on the ridge that you wouldn't want to go straight through/over, but the way around on our left was so obviously better than on the right (where it is a steep drop down to the glacier) that it hardly needs to be mentioned.

No technical issues other than the ice and snow; we never wished we had a rope.  So I would agree it is probably trampable if you get good weather.  But absolutely, be prepared to get out of there fast if the weather goes bad!


Ruapehu, Mt / Tahurangi in the winter
« on: July 10, 2009, 02:24:51 AM »
Climbed Tahurangi (grade one mountaineering - definitely not a tramp, needs alpine gear and skills) this July on an NZ Alpine Club trip.  We had good weather at least on that day.  Snow was a bit soft and annoying but never really a problem, and no serious avalanche issue on this side of the mountain (wind had been from the south for a week and dumping snow on the north-facing slopes).  Fair bit of ice on the skyline ridge. 

Started walking from Turoa at about 6.30, reached the top of the ski-field at 8 or so, and the very top at 11.20 just before the clouds came in.

Matt Thomson took some amazing photos, the best of which I'm afraid are way too good for me to post in public.  Photos below give an idea of the day.

Cannon Point / Cannon Point on a winter afternoon
« on: June 23, 2009, 02:24:22 AM »
Very pleasant walk.  Took us about 1.5 hours in June.  Track condition - there was enough mud to be glad we wore boots, but not enough to make them indispensable.  Plenty of people in running shoes.

It wasn't a fine day when we were there - cloud covered and a southerly blowing - but we still had great views.  Across the valley to Mt Climie, down the valley towards Wellington, and even right across the Cook Strait to snow covered mountains on the south island.  The seat at the top of this walk is a great viewpoint.

Hawkins Hill / Hawkins Hill at night
« on: June 15, 2009, 01:11:49 PM »
We climbed Hawkins Hill on a mild winter's night.  Starting at 7pm at the Karori Wildlife centre (note - you can't drive up to Brooklyn Wind Turbine at night; and you can't park right at the wildlife centre either as they close the gates at about 7 - be careful!).  It took us just over 3 hours there and back, about half of which was getting up to the wind turbine from the wildlife centre carpark.

A little breezy at the top but nothing to worry about.  We were lucky to have a reasonably clear night with the moon peaking through and great views of Wellington's lights.

Quite a few possums around to excite the dog - watch out for the cyanide poison!

Holdsworth / Re: Holdsworth in early spring
« on: June 11, 2009, 01:53:28 AM »
OK, sorry for the vagueness before.  I can't take too much responsibility for the estimates below, but they may give you an idea:

Estimate 1 (this is what I think would be a moderate fastish time, but achievable by fit people, don't have to be adventure racers!):
Holdsworth with a day pack - 8 hours.  Add an hour if you're coming back via East Holdsworth rather than straight back down past Powell Hut the way you came up
Mitre with a day pack - 10-11 hours.

Estimate 2 (this is based on getting my map software to project a 10.5 hour day for Hikurangi and then applying the same speed and ascent settings to Holdsworth and Mitre):
Holdsworth - 9.5 hours
Mitre - 13 hours

Holdsworth / Re: Holdsworth in early spring
« on: June 10, 2009, 01:44:02 AM »
Either would be doable.  Holdsworth would still be a serious day walk, but is more travelled (less remote) and several hours shorter than Mitre.  Mitre is more spectacular and remote-mountain-feeling if you are up for the harder hike.

My cautious side would suggest Holdsworth first to get a feel of Tararua conditions; but if you're experienced, strong and well-equipped then go for Mitre.

Both are undoable in bad conditions - I've turned back from below the Holdsworth summit in blue skies but winds blowing the smaller members of my part off their feet.


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