Quoin Alpha Marchant
7 & 8 February 2019
We left the Norbert Track car park at Pakuratahi Forks for Alpha Hut via Quoin Ridge and Alpha. The weather was fine with a bit of clag hanging about the tops and 30km/hr winds predicted.
Got to the bridge over the Eastern Hut river in 1.5 hours and a further 40 mins up the river saw us at the turn-off to Quoin Ridge (grid ref 874546). The footpad up to Quoin was reasonably straightforward to follow except for the familiar clutter of windfalls near the top - best by-passed to the north we found. It took us one hour up to the ridge and a further one hour to the Fragile Plant Area. The track through the FPA is becoming overgrown but with care remnants of it can be found and followed. The best travel is through such patches of bush as there are. It took only 15 mins to get through but seemed much longer and we got to .948 for lunch about 40 mins after reaching the FPA.
After lunch 1.5 hours saw us on Quoin with a gentle, albeit cutting, breeze rather than the forecast winds. Up to this point the route was more or less what we had expected and we were happy with our rate of travel and could see ourselves arriving at Alpha Hut well in advance of our estimate of 10 hours.
It was not to be. The route through to .1308 was discernable but quite scrubby and it took us 2 hours to get there but from there it was 20 mins to Alpha and 35 mins for a photoshoot and stroll to the hut. So with breaks, the prediction of 10 hours was pretty much bang on.
That night the stars were brilliant and the day dawned so clear and windless we thought we must be somewhere else. Anyway, we had a good walk out down the Marchant Ridge - 8 hours including half an hour having a look down Bull Mound.
We enjoyed the birdlife and it was a particular treat to see a flock of riflemen on the Marchant Ridge. Longtailed cuckoo were much in evidence along with the odd whitehead and maybe we heard a kakariki?
Tony Black (leader and scribe), Janette Roberts, Lynne White.
- Party members
- (leader and scribe).