Finding a way to an un-named Tararua creek - Frith?
22 December 2001
In recent years a few adventurous trampers have thought of getting to the creek between the Mt. Frith ridge and the 805m - 714m ridge, all east of Smith’s Creek, herenikau.
Michael Bartlett and I had previously observed that a descent east or south-east from 714m would be in forest, whereas a descent from the ridge directly opposite - south of Mt. Frith was likely to be through gorse and scrub.
So on 22 December 2001 Michael and I were joined by Rhonda Billington and Syd Moore on a fine day. We entered the range from Kaitoke and used the Smith’s Creek track. Then up to 714m.
From here we started correctly by going east, and seemed to be on a spur, but after about 45 minutes it ran out into the side-creek to the south-east. We stayed in the creek, surrounded by high ferns, pungas and large nikau palms, all very homely to greenies. The creek got more difficult with mossy rocks and small waterfalls. We had lunch, admiring very steep bush faces to our right.
After lunch we climbed out to the north or left to find the lower end of the true spur from 714m. Rhonda was keen to set eyes on the mysterious creek, Frith? Michael went down to meet her while Syd and I moved debris from the trail upwards. We all met on the way back to 714m. We hoped to return to complete the original round trip which included the next spur south. Then down to Smith’s Creek and back to Kaitoke by 6.15pm.
Our next opportunity to finish the round trip was on 9 February 2002. Rhonda was unavailable, but the other three of us were there. Another fine day was welcomed at Kaitoke..From 714m we latched onto the correct spur east and kept on it. About 15 minutes above the mysterious creek, Michael found a good route to bring us easily off the high bank down to a lovely flat for lunch. We had descended about 396m/ 1300ft. The flat offered camp sites with firewood - had we brought overnight ear! It was wonderful to be here, having often imagined the scene. Can we claim a first?
We planned to go up this creek for minutes only, to pass the side-creek the four of us were in on 22 December, and ascend the spur on its south bank, and traverse back up to the 805m - 714m ridge. The side-creek plunged dramatically as a 2-step waterfall into Frith? Creek. We needed to go past this spectacle to find a climbable bush face, up to the spur proper. The lower part of this spur was in open forest. Higher up, however, the vegetation was closer but never dense. Later, a couple of side-spurs came in from the south. Our direction was now north-west. A short belt of scrub and we emerged near the ridge saddle which was overgrown. Then north for about 15 minutes to 714m, completing our round trip. Down to Smiths Creek, and the track out to Kaitoke by 6pm, after a hot, but satisfying day.