This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in December 1997
Labour Weekend 1997
The Friday evening Arahura sailing was warm and crowded as usual. We saw the Inland Kaikouras silhouetted against the hazy evening sky just before we entered Tory Channel. The packs took their usual half hour to be despatched round the packed luggage conveyors.
At the hay barn dawn was clear with a crescent moon and a lone bellbird. The 15 of us were away just before 5am, with Andre and I making a quick trip up past the barking sheepdogs to check-in with Beverley and Alan Pitts, the Gladstone Downs runholders, whose hay barn and farm track to the Hodder River we use.
The trip up the valley was very pleasant with the river lower than the last two years, but still cold. The sweet fragrance of wild native yellow clematis, and corokia wafted in the warm air.
We lunched just below the waterfall, with a party of 10 Hutt Valleys. Then it was a hot upward plug to the huts, made more difficult for some by a tummy bug that affected three of us. There were some 47 people in the upper valley by nightfall.
We delivered the Hut Book for Maurice Kennedy, a TTC member, who is also the Marlborough Tramping Club's hut officer for the two Hodder Huts. Sunday morning dawned clear and still. Leo, Oliver and Logan were away early for Mt Alarm, followed by most of us at 6.30 for Tappy. There was much less snow than in previous years, with the western faces very bare. The snow couloir was firm, and good travelling, and as long as usual - over an hour's cramponing. After that it was back to the tracks of those that had come up the ridge and along the well worn track up the final ridge to the summit.
The great views from the top were not to be, as the cloud came and went, and a cold wind blew. Peter checked home with his cell phone, and Paul checked the Met Service Weather Office. The cold got to us and we returned down the way we had come, practising self-arrests and glissading on the way down. Leo, Logan and Oliver climbed Mt Alarm, and Logan and nine others climbed Tappy, seven for the first time. Great going team.
The Monday saw another 8am start and a very pleasant sunny, warm trip back down the Hodder River's 66 crossings, with lunch at one of the few pools on the way. Most of the party swam.
- Alan & James Graham, Leo McKnight, Alan Tugwell, Cathy Rooney, Oliver Ferry, Lyn Murphy, Brent Taylor, Alistair Betts, Susi Lang, Andre Visser, Logan Murray, Peter Shanahan, Paul Bruce, Hugh Barr (leader and scribe).