Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nelson Lakes Route

Here's my brief logbook of our Nelson Lakes Trip.

Day 1                     3 January
D’Urville Hut – Morgan Hut
10km                     5:40 hours
Water taxi up Lake Rotoroa. A few sections of bad windfall – first bit 2.5 hours above D’Urville hut. Worst windfall was on hill 1km downstream of Morgan Hut. I attempted to get through but soon turned back. Crossed river instead. Had also crossed once lower down just above the gorge. Malcolm, Mum, Deanne, and David stung by wasps. Drizzle set in as we reached hut. Bad sandflies. Didn’t sleep well as I was blocked up.

Day 2                     4 January
Morgan Hut – George Lyon Hut
9km                       3:39 hours (including 1 hour of stops for me)
Easy going. Fine, high cloud. Had swim in river at G.L. Sandflies, but not as bad as Morgan hut.

Day 3                     5 January
George Lyon Hut – Blue Lake Hut
6km                       7:50 hours
Challenged myself to see how quickly I could get up to Moss Pass. 3:09 hours up (2:26 from bridge). Good stream at 1260m on ascent, just below bushline. 2:10 hour wait at top of pass. 2:30 hours down with Mum. Saw a chamois below Moss pass on BL side. First stream marked had water. Mum, Millie, Deanne & Theo struggled. Great weather. I camped beside lake (under tree) with Raymond, Deanne, & Theo.  A bit cold overnight.

Day 4                     6 January
Climbed Mt Franklin
Blue Lake – West Sabine Hut
4.5 hours to summit        2:45 down to Blue Lake                 7:50 round trip
Woke up feeling under the weather and almost piked out. Climbed up via Constance dam, tussock, and sidled around under bluffs. Short rock climb at top of right-hand scree onto ridge. Saw a chamois near ridgeline. Crossed 2 snow patches to avoid gnarly ridge sections. Spent over half an hour on summit of Franklin. Descended down scree slope from small col marked with cairn (after 1st steep down climb from summit). Good scree. Down to top of stream then sidled to bush and bush-bashed down to Blue Lake outlet. 2 hours at Blue Lake hut to pack up then down to West Sabine Hut in 2:25 hours. Muddy section is 1.5 hours below Blue Lake. Was tired & hungry by the end!

Day 5                     7 January
West Sabine – Upper Travers Hut
8.5km                    5:25 hours                           Hot!
Avalanche chute was hard work! No shade. Legs tired. 4:10 hours to Travers Saddle. Mum took 5 hours to top. Had a wash in lovely shallow pool near hut.

Day 6                     8 January
Upper Travers – John Tait Hut
Low cloud in morning so didn’t climb Kehu. Stopped at Travers Falls. Dad, Malcolm, Ray, David and I went up to Cupola hut. 1:11 up (540m climb) and 52 min down. Very nice little hut (no tent sites); great location looking straight at Mt Hopeless. Spent 1 hour at hut. Lots of sandflies at John Tait.

Day 7                     9 January
John Tait – Hopeless Hut
8km                       2:52 hours
Lovely gentle track through beech forest down Travers River. Walked by myself and enjoyed the morning. Sang praise and worship songs. Dawdled and stopped to look at birds. Saw riflemen, tui, fantails, tomtits, bellbirds and a family of grey ducks (possibly hybrid) just below Hopeless Creek junction. 1:20 to junction. Another 1:32 to hut (signposted 1.5 hours). Just ambling. Plenty of space in hut for 8 people + floor space for 3-4 in room downstairs. David tented (marginal site; sloping). Dad & Malcolm attempted to climb Mt Hopeless but went right too early and ended up on wrong peak. Malcolm took a couple of tumbles. I spent a long time by creek. Finished reading Animal Farm, which I picked up at Upper Travers.

Day 8                     10 January
Hopeless Hut – Hinapouri Tarn
Left around 7:30am. Followed cairns to bluff at head of stream then climbed straight up scree. Would have been better to angle up from near bush edge. Through snowgrass and more scree to beautiful tarn. I had a swim and even managed a bit of breaststroke. Cold! My favourite spot on the whole trip I think. On rocks from here to Sunset Saddle. David & I took turns carrying Millie’s pack. 2 small patches of snow. Mum was out of her comfort zone and was not enjoying herself. Quite hot and not much shade. 6 of us climbed Mt Angelus from the saddle (17 min up for me). Hardly a breath of wind. Set up camp at head of Hinapouri Tarn (true right side) after a long deliberation. Most of us were too hot to be bothered deciding where to camp. Most of us had a swim. Was warm enough to do some proper swimming (but still cold). I slept in the bivvy bag between tussocks. Fantastic bedroom!

Day 9                     11 January
Hinapouri Tarn – Robert Ridge carpark
5:30 hours
Had breakfast in bed to stay out of the wind. 30 minutes up to Angelus Hut. Took it easy along Robert Ridge. Stayed with Deanne for a bit to give her confidence. Climbed Julius Peak with Dad & David and traversed down the other side. Regrouped at Bushline turnoff. Went down Pinchgut Track (40 min?). Malcolm & David went via Bushline Hut. My feet were sore from the hard gravel. Didn’t like pinchgut – worst part of the whole trip.

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