576 peaks in 319 days, worst winter in decades
This is amazing story about a friend of mine. This guy is a monster, there is no other word to describe him. One of the most driven and focused people I've ever met. The total distance traveled was 4,300kms and he gained more than 304,000 metres in elevation. For those who may not appreciate the nature of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, USA...they are routinely categorised as the worst weather in the United States. This is due to the unlikely convergence of three jet-streams over the center of the area. The world's hardest wind record stood on Mt Washington for more than 60 years, 370kmh (231mph). When you combine this with the fact that he had the worst winter in decades, this is an incredible feat. Enjoy! https://www.outsideonline.com/2399707/new-hampshire-white-mountains-grid-fkt
the last death in the tararuas, was off track in one of the nastiest places to go off track in the nastiest weather... it was his first trip in the tararua's, he was from overseas. i've completed the correct route in less extreme weather. i had to divert from the direct route but i stayed on established routes to complete it. the previous two who died were relative novices to the area from overseas.
Salutary experiences. I have them on my mind when travelling on the tops in cold windy weather.
Waynowski...when you say 'the tops' are you speaking about a particular section of exposed ridgeline? If so, how long is that section? I've had a few people tell me the Southern Crossing isn't difficult however it's the weather and the fact that it's not marked that has kept me away. While I have a respectable amount long-distance experience, it's always been on marked tracks/trails, so I'm not quick to venture into environments which I'm not experienced in, or have the skill to cope if shit turns bad.
table top to alpha hut. ridgeline is well defined for a lot of it, watch the false spurs, theres snow stakes around kime http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz43567/Kime-Hut/Wellington
@jmeyer I've done the Southern Crossing only three times, so compared to some I'm a novice. The first time was in fairly cruddy conditions starting from Alpha. When I got to Kime conditions were so poor that several people in the rather crowded hut scoffed at me when I told them I'd just done the Crossing. In hindsight the biggest issue in poor visibility is the several false spurs. So many people head off down them that they have well established footpads indistinguishable from the real path. But assuming you don't get caught in high winds, an icy southerly and your navigation at a several key points is accurate ... it actually a really easy tramp. On a nice day it's a total doddle. There are other routes in the Tararua's, such as Bannister Ridge, Broken Axe Pinnacles, etc that are way more interesting/challenging than the Southern Crossing. Pick a good forecast and go for it; it's very popular for a reason. Cheers.
I agree with @PhilipW. The Tararuas are about as risky as anywhere, but don't let the reputation terrify you. It's close to several big population centres, so gets all sorts of visitors. The Southern Crossing is relatively safe as long as you don't get too overconfident nor overestimate yourself in trying conditions. If in winter, be wary of the potential for snow and iced-over surfaces and stuff which even if the weather's fined up could make things much slower or impossible if you're not properly equipped. But like @PhilipW said, if you have a good forecast then go for it. Just don't lose track of anything happening around you. As far as accidents are concerned, there have been five deaths in the approximate Southern Crossing vicinity since 2009. Keep in mind that they're popular, though, and the SC is one of the most popular areas in the range. Accidents can usually be traced back to people treating the area a bit too casually. The November 2016 deaths were of two young men attempting a very arduous trip, not the Southern Crossing but in the vicinity, without giving themselves any significant margin for error whatsoever. They collapsed or stumbled or stopped for some reason, or at least one of them did which held up the other, then the weather came in and hypothermia got them. Earlier in August 2016, a man in his 60s died around Field Peak, whom I think was a member of this site. At the time I thought people were saying it was probably a medical condition, but the only online report I can find which surmises anything seems to think it was bad weather. It may have been a combination. The 2009 deaths were two people who were trying to get to Kime, having already gone past the safety of Field Hut, in a blizzard. It's unclear exactly what happened but it's thought one was struggling, which slowed down the other and then they were both caught out. With this one, however, they had multiple opportunities to recognise their situation and either remain in a safe place (like Field Hut) or return to it, but they simply didn't. The coroner's investigation found that the person likely to be most dominant of the two had displayed a fairly gung-ho attitude on at least some other occasions, and surmised that he might have simply mis-judged the ability of both of them to reach Kime Hut.
It is underestimating the conditions in the Tararuas, that's a major cause of SAR incidents. apart from fatalities, there is also a large number of "near misses". some of those around the southern crossing. I would argue that the Tararuas can be more risky than most other mountain ranges, in that the location results in rapid changes in weather. To conditions that can be lethal Also, Much of the tramping routes follow the exposed tops. many other areas do not have this network of routes that can leave trampers stranded at huts, not getting to them, and trying to continue/exit trips in conditions that are unsafe A check of the Regional council wind recording on top of Cone show that actual wind speed is constantly higher than Met Service forecasts. 50km/hour forecasts are often winds gusting at 100kms/hour. What appear to be sunny days on the tops are in fact high winds. And hot sunny days in the cities/rural areas are no indication of Tararua weather. This was the situation with the 2 trampers fatalities at Alpha. temperatures in the Wairarapa were very hot, but the cloud formation over hector/Alpha was clearly indicating high winds.
note this is humour, dont take it personally just think about it https://www.outsideonline.com/2400457/how-be-elitist-prick
The real humour is the irony of the person posting that joke lol. Were all joking right?
Back in my early tramping days I went to Kime in winter for the first time and we got into whiteout conditions just before Bridge Peak. We actually missed Kime hut on the drop down to it before realising we had gone too far down (to the right) and backtracked up to Hut Mound and got there on the 2nd attempt, but really only because we had been there before and knew we were in the wrong. Also, a couple of years ago I made it to Maungahuka Hut just before a front came over and the next day I was hutbound as the winds roared around the hut. Without doubt I would have been blown off the ridge if I had gone out there, it was actually a little bit scary just in the hut. The Tararuas can certainly be a dangerous range in poor weather conditions and it doesn't take long for things to go pear shaped.
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