Saturday, July 27
Ten trampers left Napier in good weather. As we came closer to the Lakes car park, the wind picked up, making it quite cold.
All layered up, nine of us started the climb. Paul had decided to give the climb a miss and stay a little lower. Ten minutes into the walk, sheltered now from the wind, we all stopped to take off a layer and have a drink. The Wednesday group had seen a lot of snow, but the lower part of the track was now completely snow-free and we only saw the first signs of snow at the turn-off to the Cameron car park.
Two of the girls decided that snow wasn’t on the menu for them and turned back to join Paul. A bit further up, Murray found a perfect spot to have morning tea, with no wind at all and in the sun. It was so good that he stayed a little longer, when the remaining six carried on.
Closer to the ridge top and turn-off, we hit the snow, better described as ice. The views on the ridge were fabulous, but the going got gradually harder. An icy crust on top of the snow wasn’t strong enough to support us, and going slow or fast, one ended up knee-deep in the snow every couple of steps. It makes a difference, and certainly gets the knees and hips going.
Uphill especially proved a challenge and around midday, just before the steep descent back down to the hut, we called it a day and sat down in a sunny spot for lunch. Very enjoyable and made even better by the superb views all the way to the Central Plateau.
We took our time on the way back, with regular stops to have a look around and have a drink. Halfway down, we met several members from the Heretaunga club who were climbing up to spend the night in the hut. It was about 15.00 by the time we reached the van and rejoined the others. A lovely tramp in the snow, with great views and only moderate wind!
Trampers: Graeme Taylor, Sue Martin, John Dobbs, Paul Exeter, Denise Payne, Geoff Donkin, Simon Hill, Sue Marshall, Murray Goss and reporter Marc Marchal.