Slip Sliding Away....Mt Matthews
29 May 2019
Early in the year, whilst descending from Mt Matthews to South Saddle I’d noticed a track junction with a carved wooden sign proclaiming ‘SHGL SLD’. More vowels would be better, but of all the informal routes in the Orongos this is the only one for which someone has taken the trouble to make a sign. It was an obvious destination for a trip.
On Wednesday we arrived at the top of the track via the Goat Stream spur and South Saddle. It was fine but with a cold wind and after a quick lunch we set off down. The track was not much trodden but well marked and shortly we came to the steep edge of the shingle slide. There was a rope – what had we got ourselves into ? However after a few awkward moments we were all on the slide and descending carefully and all together.
Unfortunately we set the entire slope in motion and found ourselves buried up to the knees in rocks the size of cricket balls! Lower down we did find shingle and were able to bound down 200 metres or more with fine views of North Saddle and the range beyond.
Curiously the slide ends well above the streambed and we descended the last section to Matthews Stream through open bush. The stream was good travel, revegetating in tree hebe and manuka rather than the dreaded buddleia, and soon we were back at the river and then the carpark. A shade under nine hours go to whoa and a great way to spend the only fine day of the week.
- Party members
- Jenny Mason (leader and scribe), Colin Cook, Tricia French, Peter Williams, Warwick Wright .