gets dodgy in some sections along the ridges in snow. i did waiohine pinnacles in snow. it was pretty hair raising. not ice ax and crampon stuff at all. just a shallow layer of slippery snow making hand and footholds difficult.
I've been extremely lucky with the weather so far - in summer this year anyway. Did about four weekend/3 day solo/Club trips in there and good weather every time. Not so much now its turning cold of course.
@TararuaHunter you might be interested to know that we were in a northern part of the hills this Saturday doing some river travel - came around the corner (I was leading) and we startled three large deer who were hanging out by the river true-left - they bolted straight up the bank into the bush. Pretty amazing sight. I guess the water noise prevented them from hearing us, and maybe the wind was blowing the right way?
This post has been edited by the author on 8 May 2018 at 13:45.
@krieg. The easiest way to do this would be three north-south traverses - one on the tops and two up the flanking valley systems, with a wee tops/gorge loop added to the eastern valleys to take in Dundas, Tarn, Carkeek, McGregor.
But, if I were planning this (and I have walked it several times in my head) I'd start at Scotts Road (or The Sledge Track, or South Range Road for a TTT) and zigzag my way down the range, picking my route as the weather allowed - tops whenever possible but valley alternatives where not. That way the variety of tops and valleys get spread out through the journey. And you get to end at Kaitoke or Waikanae which are easy to get out of.
The bits the weather would cause you trouble on are limited (assuming you're comfortable on the flatter tops sections in the wind & rain). Pinch points for wind would be:
- Arete peak / hut
- Junction Knob (Nichols to Andersons)
- Mangahuka to Kime (but valley alternative exists)
- Mt Hector (Kime to Alpha or Cone - valley alternatives exist)
- Tarn Hut (Girdlestone or Waiohine pinnacles or up spur from Dorset)
Of the above exposed sections, only Arete, Dundas Hut, Tarn Hut and Junction Knob would be mandatory. There are valley alternatives to the rest.
Rivers would also be a potential issue. The Carkeek - Dorset - McGregor loop involves crossing the Waiohine and Dorset creek - which would easily flood. Unless you do this bit via the ridgelines, in which case add it to the previous list. The easiest way between North and South Ohau would be the river which requires low flows, but the ridgeline via Girdlestone Saddle is also possible. Can't think of any other mandatory river crossings or sections.
Anyhow - I'd say you only _need_ 3 or 4 stillish days and a couple of days of low rivers out of your 3 weeks or so journey if you're flexible about your route and willing to take valley routes where the tops prove uninviting. Yes - torrential downpours would stop you no matter where you are, but they pass.
Sounds like a great project. Eating all the ice-cream in one sitting - yes - but only a Tararua sized pot.
This post has been edited by the author on 9 May 2018 at 18:05.