Mount Matthews – South Ridge
15th February 2020
Corner Creek and Matthews have received a lot of TTC attention in the last year. In December after exploring the Hinakitaka, Gerald declared the South Ridge ‘unfinished business’ so Franz put it on the next fixture card.
Gerald didn’t turn up, and Mike had a mishap with some pizza on Friday night, so just Franz and I set off in his Leaf on this summery Saturday morning (apologies to Margaret Mahy). There was debate on whether we needed to charge the car in Featherston. I won that one, and we powered on to the Corner Creek campsite.
The Hubmann boys have been roaming this area all their lives. Franz remembers tagging along when the Austrian community put up a memorial plaque for one of his Dad’s hunting mates. It was on a grassy terrace somewhere near the confluence of Tapokopoko, Hinakitaka and Mukamuka Streams. Matthews’ South Ridge begins at this confluence. I basked in the morning sun while Franz unsuccessfully scouted for the memorial.
South Ridge looked densely bushed and not inviting. I asked Franz if he knew of anyone who had navigated this route. He didn’t. At this point I began to wonder what I’d let myself in for. My fears were for nothing. The Remutaka’s large goat population obviously love this ridge and there was a foot pad almost all the way. We deviated a few times to scuttle around windfalls but progress was steady, with Franz giving frequent height gain updates from his phone. Sweat drenched, we stopped a couple of times for breaks, admiring the view back to beautiful Palliser Bay.
We lunched on the summit. Franz expressed disappointment that there was no one that had come up the track that we could skite to about the route we’d taken. And then it was a straightforward descent via the well-marked track towards North Saddle, and then the well documented route down Corner Creek, scene of the infamous Sherpa mutiny (April 2019 Tramper). A six hour round trip from the camp site. Back in Featherston the car had 9% charge left. Time for coffee and carrot cake whilst fast charging.
This is a highly recommended day trip for medium or medium/fit groups – short enough to fit into winter daylight hours. Let’s hope lockdown is lifted in time for us to get in a few winter trips.
[The Hinakitaka Stream article by Gerald Leather in the December 2019 Tramper has details on the route down from Matthews.]
- Party members
- Franz Hubmann (leader), Sarah White (scribe)