Mackintosh Spur, Studholme Saddle Bivvy, Kaweka FP, 18 November 2020. Map: BJ37
Banner Pic: The bush section along the main ridge
Nine of us in two cars left for Mackintosh car park on a cloudy but warm morning. We would all go to the hut and from there decide which route we would take.
Kelvin and Murray would carry on around the lower track to Lakes car park, Ted was going as far as Mackintosh Hut and our oldest sprightly member Vic would go down to the bridge and back.
We arrived at the hut for morning tea. Alison, our leader, Sue G, Marie, John Bennett and myself set off up the gradual steep climb of 600m to the junction. It took us about an hour and a half. At the top it was very windy, cold and just starting to rain. We decided to go up to Kaiarahi and back down Rogue Ridge, due to the weather conditions, and everyone put on extra layers and waterproof jackets. John had a few problems dressing and trying to do up his shirt buttons. So with a bit of help from his four lady companions, he was able to put on some warm clothes.
We set off at a brisk pace with rain that felt like sleet on our faces and winds so strong (according to Sue’s wind monitor, gusts of up to 93kph) it was hard to remain vertical. Clambering over the rocks and trying not to get blown away was exhilarating, to say the least.
The mountains were covered in mist most of the time, so not a lot of great views. Alison expertly led us along the tops (often without an obvious track), to shelter in the bush at the top of Rogue Ridge. The temperature had dropped dramatically, so we had a quick lunch and headed back down through the pinus contorta which has taken over the landscape. Deep ruts in the scree were evidence of recent heavy rain.
We met up with Kelvin and Murray about 2.30pm at the signpost and we all carried on to the river, which was swift and had more water than normal. Then the steep slog up to the Lakes car park, where we waited for our transport. Luckily, Vic knew we would be out by 3pm so he brought one of the cars around and then Kelvin drove back to the Mackintosh car park to get Ted to bring Alison’s car.
Just as we got changed and back into the cars, we had a shower of rain. The temperature was 13c but by the time we arrived back to Napier it had jumped up to 19c.
Another great day, and thanks to Alison for organising and getting us safely back home.
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Marie Deroles (photos), Sue Gibble, Alison Greer, Ted Angove, Murray White, John Bennett, Vic Bullock and reporter Rosemary Jeffery