The team sailed over to Picton at 2am Friday morning each tucked up in a cosy Bluebridge bed. We woke to a cooked breakfast and headed off the boat to St Arnaud. Plan A was to head into the Rainbow valley to climb Mt Paske. Plan B was to camp in Upper Travers valley to climb Mt Travers. We changed our minds and did neither. Instead, we caught the Lake Rotoiti boat across to the other side and walked up the valley to Hopeless Hut.
At the hut we drank tea while Piers showed us his wood chopping skills. Luckily for the rest of us there was already a bunch of firewood as well as a fireplace someone had kindly left set up.
Early the next morning we rose and left the hut just as the sun began to glow behind the hills.
Dave had scoped out the route on an earlier trip and led the way as we climbed up through bush and trees to continue along the sometimes grassy, sometimes icy, and sometimes rocky ridge. We crampon-ed up the snow slope towards the top. It got pretty steep so Dave and Piers took turns plugging some steps into the quickly softening snow. We made it to the summit of Mt Hopeless, found a patch of reception for some Snapchat and Instagram action and then headed back down to have lunch on a snowy mound.
We carefully picked our way back down the ridge and back to the hut where Belynda had been busy doing hut maintenance and making a cool hut even awesomer.
After a well earned sleep for all and a visit by a couple of slightly intimidating kea, we wandered back down the valley to head home.
- Party members
- Nicole Geiger, Dave Grainger, Piers Harris, Belynda Jack, Kristy Johnstone (scribe and photos), Thomas Williams