Camp Wainui – Crowther No. 1 – Mt. McKerrow – Graces Stream – Round Ridge
Wednesday 6 July 2005
To my knowledge this particular trip has not been done by TTC since 1965, possibly before. In recent weeks, Michael, Masaki, Glenys and I had checked thoroughly to make sure that the descent west of Mt. McKerrow could be followed despite several direction changes.
The day dawned fine, disputing the changing wet weather forecasts for the 6th. Our competent group of 10 members was ready to go at 8.45am, from the lake side.
We went north to the Big Totara, down to and across Mungamunga Stream. Next, a slippery bush face to slither up – the only one of the day – to gain dry terrain and reach the true spur (oddly named the “Impossible Ridge” by camp staff). Then, on stable ground and an obvious track, we ascended easily, not needing the fixed rope on one steep pitch. At Crowther No. 1 (TV repeater) we had climbed about 220m / 720ft quickly. Next, a warm walk on the undulating firebreak to its summit. Then into cold forest on the cross route to the BB signpost at the McKerrow Ridge, to have light refreshments.
South now on the main track over bump 680m through swampy ground and two more patches of it before Mt. McKerrow, which we reached at mid-day. From here there are two different old routes down to Graces Stream. Ours would be the more northerly one, which lower down is on a side spur. The other route, which I fi rst used in 1965, crosses the stream to link with a gorsy, overgrown track which leads to Willowbank on the Coast Road.
Today, we would descend about 450m / 1460ft to Graces Stream. First, we went north-west for 12 minutes or so to find semi-open terrain for a pleasant lunch spot. This old route has many direction changes ranging from magnetic north to south-west. Also confusing to the unobservant are the deer trails. We heard a deer but didn’t see it. A lovely stroll through the punga belt. Then north along “The Ledge” for perhaps 250m with a northern tributary of Upper Graces Stream to our right. Back mostly west on the winding route down to the gloomy banks of the now low Graces Stream. Up the short, steep trail to bump 354m – an easy ascent of 100m – for light refreshments there.
Next, the longish sidle of the Round Ridge Track, under the ridge mostly. A direction change north and descending to the steep and almost dry track down to the replacement hut next to the small creek. Camp management had recently provided four plank footbridges across local creeks back to the Scholl Track. We arrived at the car park about 3.30pm. Had we had rain, and been on wet routes I think most of an hour would be added on. Today, conditions were almost ideal!
- Michael Bartlett, Dave Dyett, Glenys Evans, Masaki Kojima, David Ogilvie, David Podmore, Bruce Popplewell, Kerry Popplewell, John Thomson and Peter Jagger (leader and scribe).