Spinning Wheels Youth Programme Snow 1
13 - 16 July
It was the start of the school holidays and the youth group was waiting for the Wellington High van to return from a kapa haka event. Once the van arrived we all piled in and headed for Snow 1 instruction (Ice axe & Crampons). Firth’s pod was put on and we were treated to great music all the way to the mountain. As we headed up the Bruce it got colder and the wheels spun from time-to-time nearing the top we passed the WT&M van and headed further up. Around the next corner we hit ice big-time and we only got a little further with the wheels spinning until the van stopped. On with the chains and we reached the shelter 200m away.
It was a clear night, we geared up and loaded our packs with food and headed for the Hutt Valley Lodge. The students cruised up behind me and we got to the lodge in no time. We were all tired and were soon off to bed.
We woke to a cloudy and windy day, we ate breaky quickly, put on warm clothes and headed out. A great day was had learning the skills on how to use an iceaxe, without crampons, and a little about self-arresting, the students had a great time sliding all other the place, sometimes unintentionally, Sven was good at this. Early on in the day Sienna started a snow fight that continued for most of the day between lessons. With some big king hits going down. Later on in the day it started snowing. As the day was drawing to an end Drew and I saw that the students were sagging so we headed back to the lodge for the evening.
As the evening went on the falling snow got heavier and the winds started to rise. A storm was on its way. Everyone was tuckered out and after dinner we all headed for bed.
The next morning the storm had settled in with the lodge shaking from time to time. Hut day. Out came the cards, table tennis, twister and other games; Oliver entertained us with numerous joke. There were also lessons on how-to use a compass, map reading and planning a route. Later on in the day the wind dropped and we all headed out, some to sledding others went for a walk. But the storm returned with a vengeance and we had to head back inside. The avalanche risk was rising, so in the evening we watched a video on the big Turoa avalanche and ran a lesson on what you can do to manage the risk. All in all a very informative day.
The next day cabin fever was running high. The avo risk was still Considerable but the storm was abating. The students planned a route using compass readings, altitudes, bearings and assessing the avo risk. We decided that it was safe if we stuck to the ridges and so we headed out, this time with our crampons, using the student's plan. We found some hard snow and went through the course lesson. After this we headed further up but decided to turn back as the weather was rougher further up. We headed down to the Bruce café instead and got some chips and drinks in. Then headed back to the lodge for more twister.
We woke to a blue-sky-day, yippy. The avo risk had dropped to Moderate and we could hear the bombs being let off. We headed out and completed the self-arrest training, after initially being timid the students got into launching themselves down the slope. After completing the course we spent the rest of the day walking around the ski field with us finally heading back to the lodge via Broken Leg gully. With Sven still having fun self-arresting. We packed, headed down to the Bruce and made our way back to Welly again listening to Mirth’s great music. Wow what a great trip.
The skills learnt now give the students skills to go on alpine tramps.
- Party members
- Youth Instructors: Drew McGlashen, Stuart Hutson