East Holdsworth Off-Track Saturday
13 January 2018
With the Norwegians (www.yr.no) forecasting heavy rain all day for Mt Holdsworth, and MetService slightly better with morning showers becoming heavier and more frequent in the afternoon with possible thunder, we set off from the Holdsworth car park in fine, sunny and warm conditions at 8:45. As we crossed Donnelly Flat we noticed that there is a new DoC shelter located there. After following the Atiwhakatu Track for 1¼ hours we reached the stream crossing which marked our turn-off point (at the long swing bridge). After morning tea the off-track climb commenced, starting with a gentle climb from the true left of the stream through very wet undergrowth (there had been heavy overnight rain). This spur is straightforward to follow, with the usual mix of gentle and steeper sections and a few windfalls to negotiate. At about 900m elevation we encountered a stream which appears to dissect the spur. There is no sign of this on the map because the gully would be less than 20m deep, but the map does show a gully further down on the south side of the spur which is where the stream was heading. After replenishing our water from the stream we crossed and continued our ascent into the leatherwood zone.
At about 1150m we came to a rock outcrop which made a great lunch stop (room for two on top, with great views, and the rest of us in a small clearing behind the outcrop, in sunshine). After lunch we continued up the spur to the bush line. The leatherwood presented no problems and we broke out into the open at about 1:20pm. At this point we split the party, with two opting for a shorter descent via the East Holdsworth Track while the remaining three continued up to Mt Holdsworth for the views. There were plenty of alpine flowers to admire, particularly eyebright and edelweiss. Then on to Powell Hut for afternoon tea and down to the car arriving half an hour after the East Holdsworth track party at 5:20pm.
If this is heavy rain, bring it on! We had only a few spots in the morning, although it did look quite ominous to the north when we emerged from the bush after lunch, but it did not come our way. And there was just a light breeze on Mt Holdsworth summit. DM
- Party members
- Petra Bolitho, Lois Buckrell, Gerald Leather, David McNabb (leader and scribe), Bernard Molloy.