Quoin Ridge - Alpha - Eastern Hutt (Map S26 Carterton)
28-29 October 2000
Our small party left the car park at the Kaitoke rangerís residence just before 8 am and accessed the Eastern Hutt Valley via the Farm Creek road, crossed the Eastern Hutt River via the wire footbridge to the true right and followed the disced track to the top of the sidle above the riverís gorge. At this point we went route finding up the spur to access Quoin Ridge. At the top of the spur where the main Quoin Ridge track is intersected there are arrow blazes in a tree and a notched orange WRC disc to mark the turn-off for trampers coming down Quoin Ridge.
Our journey up the ridge was pleasant in spite of a chilly westerly sifting through the bush. A warm brew for lunch was welcome. Once we got on to the open top of Quoin we felt the true intensity of the westerly and by the time we were turning east off Quoin we were experiencing a true equinoxal blow and took a battering for the two and a bit hours it took us to get from Quoin top to Alpha. As is often the case in a strong westerly, the eastern shoulder off Alpha seems to accentuate the wind strength and that afternoon was true to form! We arrived at an empty Alpha Hut just before five and were joined an hour later by a party that had braved the winds across the Southern Crossing.
Sunday morning we went up to the helicopter landing site and then took a south compass bearing to sidle across to a spur leading down to its terminal in the Eastern Hutt valley (019202). The access is steep at the top but the spur is "good going" (Merv Rodgers). In just on three comfortable hours from Alpha Hut we were at the WRC hut, just downstream of the Quoin Stream junction, for morning tea in the sun.
We continued down stream, sometimes in the river, sometimes on tracks on the terraces and picked one of the many delightful grass terraces for an extended lunch in the sun. There were many mature trees lying in the river bed, the result of spring floods in the catchment. For much of the way down-river from the hut on the true right there is a track that can be followed, making the travel somewhat easier than the river bed.
At the last grass terrace on the true right, upstream from the gorge, WRC discs gave notice of the short grunt up the sidle track - then it was down to the wire bridge and a re-hydration stop before the grind up the access road leading over the ridge and down to the car park for a four oíclock finish.
Simon and Steve were experienced trampers on their first club trip and their company and knowledge added to the enjoyment of the trip. Their travelling companion Scooter (a fox terrier) provided continual amusement.
Trip participants were: Steve Howell, Masaki Kojima, Simon Leary, Bill Allcock (leader and scribe).