Turoa to Whakapapa and back again
14 June 2008
The guys woke to a frosty and clear day. After packing, we headed for the end of the road at Turoa. We raced the workers to the ski field and started walking before they got the snow machines going. Conditions were pretty icy as we walked on up and Stu did an ungraceful flop on the ground. Not long after that on went the crampons. Within an hour we had made it to the café area. By this time it was clear; the snow was extremely hard and icy so the decision was made to go to crater via the Mangaturuturu Glacier saddle.
As we sidled Tahurangi, the ice became extremely smooth and hard. The footsteps were purposefully placed with stops to admire the wonderland we found ourselves in. Natural ice sculptures glistened around us, wind drift swilled and the sight of Taranaki in the background with a cap of snow was great to see.
After a few hours we crossed the saddle and were greeted by a cold northerly and the sight of crevasses in the crater. Having not seen them there before, we all went and took a closer look, with Warrick walking through the length of one. After a few photos we had lunch in the dome shelter and talked about the unlucky guy who lost his leg last season. After lunch we headed down, the wind giving us a push from time to time. As we dropped, so did the wind and we cruised our way to the club lodge for the night.
We woke to an even nicer day on Sunday and puffed back up the hill, passing the NZAC hut (with those inside still getting out of bed). We got to the top in no time and played around for a while before heading back down the Mangaturuturu Glacier. By this time the sun had beaten us there and the walking conditions were lovely. We stopped and had lunch in a cozy place and walked, dodged the falling ice, slid and fell our way back to the car to see people skiing for the first time this season. It had been a pleasant and pleasing tramp.