Waiorongomai in the Rain MF
Wednesday 19 December
The leader needed a little persuasion to run this trip, the last Wednesday MF for 2018.
The forecast was for rain much of the day, some of it heavy. But tramp we did and the rain held off. Waiorongomai Station recorded only 3mm rainfall before 4 pm, but about 30mm from 4 pm to midnight!
The aim was to visit an area of open tops about 1 km north of Waiorongomai Saddle. Rather than take the DOC track up the river we took the high road. Almost inevitably this meant we didn't get to the tops but we did get a glimpse of the dull spread of mist and cloud that covered them all day.
We went off track after the first crossing of the Waiorongomai River but the sub-spur we climbed did not offer very good travel (dracophyllum and scrub) until it swung more westish. It might have been better to take the main spur, passing over .292 before reaching .495 (and indeed on our return down the river track we noticed a large orange tie perhaps signalling this was the way to go). However beyond the scrubby section, travel was fairly comfortable with enjoyable twists and turns to keep the compasses busy.
Reaching a broad bump at about 600m and lunching there we realised our intended route, west down the spur, climbing 100m onto the long flat ridge above Oreore Stream and returning that way (forsaking the tops) meant for a very long day. So we retraced our steps some distance and dropped down to the hut. Just below the top of the 600m bump there were great views north and towards Waiorongomai Saddle - an ill-defined location in a broad flat valley.
In fact about 200m south west of .480 the map suggests there is a point some 20m lower which perhaps more rightfully deserves the designation 'Saddle' sitting as it does on a discernible ridge or crestline. Both locations are lower than the Puffer Saddle.
- Party members
- Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Tricia French, David McNabb, Tommy Thomson, Janette Roberts, Warwick Wright