Holdsworth, Mitre Flats, Mid King, Jumbo, Holdsworth
March 16 - 18 2012
The original intention was the exact opposite of the listed destinations but a common sense suggestion by Colin to reverse the planned route to take advantage of better weather conditions proved inspirational. Itís a while since any of us had tramped to Mitre Flats by way of the Atiwhakatu Valley and the sidle track from Pinnacle Saddle, and doing it on a rather overcast day mattered little. On our arrival at the Holdsworth Creek swing bridge we were greeted by a large junior school party, but the staff allowed us to go before the students, preventing a long wait.
Further along the track we encountered a small wooden bridge with its foundations washed partly away on the up stream side. This was by passed by a slippery steep track in and out of the creek bed. On our arrival at the first of the wooden swing bridges, the former creek bed was filled with about 4 to 5 metres of gravel and the bridge had been washed away. We had noted that the Atiwhakatu Stream bed contained a lot of recent gravel and flood debris. Atiwhakatu Hut was a good lunch stop, but not in the sun, as the overcast conditions prevailed. After lunch we continued up the valley and just before the swing bridge Colin and I were stung by some rather unsociable wasps. The rest of the track is in good condition and has plenty of interest. We arrived at an empty Mitre Flats Hut and soon had a brew underway followed by a meal. About 11.30 the tranquility was interrupted by the arrival of a group of scouts.
In the morning we met up with David Grainger's party who were also to travel up Mid King Spur but were then to head north over Mitre while we would travel south to Jumbo. We made our way up the true right of South Mitre Stream to Baldy Creek - the dry boot option. The spur to Mid King Biv starts with a reasonable gradient until a steeper section between about 1000 and 1100 metres. Some of the scrubby sections would need care when navigating down the spur. Once in the sub alpine scrub belt an orange triangle and some cairns are soon located indicating the start of a rough trail to the Biv. Once through the leatherwood belt the trail improves through mossy beech forest to the Biv. The Biv had a face lift about 2 to 3 years ago and is in reasonable condition considering its somewhat isolated location and infrequent visitors.
Once back on the main spur we climbed until we found a sunny spot with a view for lunch. We sighted David Grainger's party about to complete the final climb to Mid King peak, probably about an hour or so ahead of us. Since our combined ages totalled about 210 years we were pleased with our progress. During lunch we devoted some time to a discussion: North King and one spur in particular which would be a good one to climb. The discussion also covered geological and geomorphological features of North King.
A light trail through the tussock made our after lunch progress straightforward. After a rest on the summit we headed south for Jumbo. Cairn Peak seems to be cairnless peak as the cairn has been dismantled. On Broken Axe Pinnacles Colin made short work of the major pinnacle while Ken and I made the sidle to the east, which now has poles. Once over the summit of McGregor, the last major climb was behind us, and we were soon past Angle Knob and heading for Jumbo. The ridge between Angle Knob and the spur to the old Angle Knob Hut site provides some of the best tops travel in the Tararuas and the late afternoon shadows provided some great photo opportunities of the surrounding spurs and ridges.
Jumbo Hut was about half full so there was enough space for us. Overnight the weather turned for the worse, making an exit over the tops undesirable, so the Rain Gauge Spur and the Atiwhakatu Valley was our route to the road end.
Party Members were Colin Cook, Ken Fraser and Dave Reynolds
- Party members
- Colin Cook, Ken Fraser and Dave Reynolds (scribe).