Another missing tramper in Tararuas
new update https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/113353658/search-for-missing-tararua-tramper-darren-myers-focuses-on-chocolate-bar-wrapper-and-footprints
On the chocolate bar wrapper, 600 vertical metres below Arete Biv in the Arete Streme catchment doesn't seem too distant from Arete Forks Hut, although I'm sure it could be a long way when things aren't going well.
how much does that stream come up in rain, could he have been swept into the gorge/
The trip down thru the leatherwood from Tarn Ridge/Arete Bivvy is classic Tararua alpine scrub. The creek is gorgy and steep low down, and quite a few have found it extremely slow going. I know of several who have had to camp out. The arete stream near the Waingawa junction is extremely dangerous when flooded. The amount on rain that day would indicate the arete and waingawawould be difficult, if not uncrossable at some stage (and cant be crossed when high, solo//no ropes etc) so getting swept away is a real risk. If ending up in the Waingawa in flood, then its not good.
Can't read the rules for posting on this topic: but when I read that account of the Sutch party delay, I was fascinated with the leader and another member of the party's carrying a heap of raw eggs (in protective cases). Mr Hill said words to the effect that if you have to carry liquid, you may as well carry nutritious liquid so he and one other carried raw eggs. It makes sense to me if you're doing a trip with no water supply, camping en route and have a bomb-proof egg protection set up. My old dad had bakelite egg cases in his tramping equipment. The delayed Sutch party cooked a fire and had egg nog during their 12 day sojourn. Sounds like a nice idea with a bit of milk powder and vanilla essence!
On my 10 day misadventure, after talking with Tony Matheson (I had just enough cell coverage while grovelling on the wind swept ridgeline just above the hut), I dropped off the range at Tarn Ridge Hut down the spur with the Memorial Cross, and into the headwaters of the Waingawa. It wasn't too bad, some scrambling and slow leatherwood. The hardest part was finding a safe route down and avoiding bluffs in high wind and low visibility. Once I got below cloud level things were OK. It wasn't a big distance, but it was slow and strenuous. Probably my route was easier than dropping down from Arete Biv, that looks even harder. But within 30min of getting to Arete Forks Hut it started to bucket down. Within hours the river was terrifying. Huge trees jammed up in it and rocks rumbling all the time. Around midnight I was concerned the hut was in danger and packed up in case it broke through the banks and cut me off from the safety of the hillside track. About every 30 min I'd go out to peer into the darkness of the river surging and roaring. No sleep, very anxious night. Fortunately in the dawn it stopped and the sight was awful. Logs everywhere and mud within centimetres of the bank. Tararua Hunter is absolutely correct, Arete Forks is extremely dangerous in a flood. It rises very rapidly and becomes utterly impassable. If Darren was caught in this, it would explain why he hasn't been found. Boy do I feel spooked by the similarities here.
Looks grim 10 days in. Thinking optimistically. I wonder about the upper waiohine river valley. If he was making for tarn ridge hut in bad conditions, its conceivable he could have drifted off course on tarn ridge and start to descend that south west spur at 047825 instead of descending south east to the saddle. Maybe he kept on going to escape the conditions on the tops and is now weak and tent bound somewhere in the upper waiohine. Lots of possibilities I guess.
he probably couldnt get past the waiohine pinnacles in the conditions and baled off the tops earlier
Agreed wayno. And in poor visibility it can be very easy to miss the drop off to the marked track down to Arete Forks that was probably his best bet in the circumstances. And then if he carried on back to Arete Biv that would also be very easy to miss as well. There are lots of folds and bumps in the terrain around there that can turn you around. Especially if you're in the early stages of hypothermia. Given the location of the chocolate wrapper (assuming it wasn't blown there) he seems to have wandered off course into the upper reaches of the Waingawa North Branch, and as others have said, that's very easy country to come to grief in.
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