This labour weekend got off to a great start with fine clear conditions on both Friday and Saturday following a strong southerly change. Paul Bruce, Alan Graham and Karl Cloutman crossed over on the early afternoon ferry sailings only a little delayed by the heavy swells. This enabled a relaxed arrival at the Hodder River bridge that evening, and an early start on Sunday. Alan mused on the idea of returning with his Tipi for a few days and having a go at the large number of goats roaming around the river valley and gorges.
Unfortunately, on the steep ascent under the rocky peck about 400 metres from the Tapuaenuku summit, a large block of hard snow/ice bounced off Karl’s arm onto his leg, making further progress impossible, due to Karl loosing feeling in the arm, making ice axe use difficult. A southerly front with showers and increased wind brought deteriorating conditions, mitigating our disappointment at not making it to the top. However, another three person (two women and one guy) Wellington group had made it to the peak after an even earlier start.
Constant light rain and wind overnight Sunday, keep us alert worrying how the river would respond the following day. Fortunately, the river levels did not change much at all, as the rain was falling as snow above the Hodder huts and the cooler conditions stopping any snow melt. On the descent on Monday, the cold river crossings reduced the pain of Karl’s deep bruises and we arrived back to Picton in time for a celebratory drink.
Paul Bruce -> mailto:Paul [period] Bruce [snail] greens [period] org [period] nz Tel 021 02719370
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