Medium day trip to Cone Peak via Clem Creek Spur
24 August 2013
Cone Peak is located on the eastern side of the Tararua Forest park at the Southern end of Cone Ridge. Cone Peak may be accessed from Holdsworth car park via Cone Ridge, from Otaki Forks by way of the Neill Winchcombe Ridge or as we did from Walls Whare. After crossing the suspension bridge over the Waiohine River we made our way along the true right of the river on the Lower Waiohine Track. The track has in the last few years been improved but the work is ongoing and after about 20 minutes we were back on the muddy, rooty old track. A new bridge, of the same design as those over Makaka and Totara Creeks, has been completed over Clem Creek. Once over the bridge we had a steep ascent to the toe of the spur we were to follow at BP33 006609 (X on the map). A light foot pad with some pink ties weaves a route through the odd windfall and some stands of supplejack. The higher we climbed, the more open the bush became and the small rimu saplings gave way to some majestic mature trees. There are also some very big ratas, making for a very enjoyable climb. In the vicinity of bump 572 we joined the Cone Saddle Track which we followed for about half a kilometre to BP 990619 (Y on the map) the start of a direct spur to Cone Peak. The spur is rather steep for the first 200 metres but the gradient is a little kinder at about 700 metres. Just above 800 metres the gradient is quite steep for about 50 metres. The southern side of the spur is on the edge of a large slip giving good views into Clem Creek and beyond to Alpha. The stunted Silver Beech forest soon gives way to alpine vegetation and pockets of tussock; one such area provided us with a good lunch spot which was sunny and partly protected from the cold and strengthening wind. After lunch our climb was resumed to the cold windy summit of Cone. Distance views were blanketed in dark cloud but the colours of the alpine vegetation were vibrant. Having completed our off track for the day, we returned by way of the standard route to Cone Saddle where we had a relaxed afternoon tea, and thence to the car park. I fondly recall doing this trip for the first time many years ago with the late Peter Jagger. This is just one of the many Tararua gems that he and Michael Bartlett introduced me to. Since then it has become one of my must-do Tararua day trips.
- Party members
- Janette Roberts, Tim Stone, Ken Fraser, Dave Reynolds (scribe), Neil Challands, Mike Wespel-Rose, Paul Bruce, Marg Conal.