Torrential rain washouts Mt Cook & Sth Canty ?.

The Department of Conservation is assessing if foot access to the Tasman Glacier and Ball Hut can be restored, after a metre of damaging rain in eight days. Torrential rain scoured out the loose moraine at Husky Flat, where a 300m wide gulf has obliterated the track. DOC's operations manager for Aoraki/Mt Cook Sally Jones said access to the outdoors in New Zealand's dynamic environment had been brought into sharp focus by last week's rain storm. Access to the Hooker Valley was also severely damaged by the equivalent of three months' average rain in a week in the alpine region. The downstream effect created the Rangitata flooding in south Canterbury. Jones said a DOC ranger and two local guides walked up the Tasman Valley route towards Ball Hut and confirmed the scale of the damage, which now ruled out foot access to Ball Hut and the eastern approach to Ball Pass crossing. The crossing was an unmarked route, requiring users to have excellent route-finding ability in steep alpine terrain, be experienced in snow travel and in the use of crampons and ice axes. Jones said recent damage also meant climbers would not be able to access the upper Tasman and Plateau/Grand Plateau areas on foot. She said aerial footage above the Hooker Valley indicated that foot access was no longer possible up the Hooker towards the western approach to the Ball Pass crossing, and climber access to the upper Hooker valley was gone. Jones said it was not yet clear if the situation would be permanent. "It may not be but the important thing to remember is this wasn't a track, it was a route - a back country route. "DOC didn't maintain a track there, but as the climate changes so does the use and the sort of experience required to be able to access some of the areas in our back country." She said the effects of climate change would trigger the need for different planning for the organisation, and the expectations of users would also need to change. "With the loss of these routes, it is possible climbers and other back-country users may be tempted to find alternative routes - especially if constrained by time or darkness." Jones said the unstable terrain would put people at considerable risk of falling, or getting stuck. The damage to these back-country routes would have long term implications for some guiding operations, she said. The impact on DOC's South Canterbury huts and tracks was being assessed as the weather improves. 15/12/2019
middle of the paparoa track is closed till the end of january now.
Not sure what the situation is with the Travers valley, there was a notification that the track was damaged and that it was going to be assessed last week. Now the notification has gone. It was at least one new river crossing when we were there 10 days ago..
General comment for Nelson Lakes on is to expect longer times on the tracks. No mention of track/hut closures.
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I saw this article the other day. The pictures showed a serious scrabble out of the river. Near vertical climb up river scree with the last 4 or 5 meters vertical and undercut. 1 you could handle but if its one of many it would become hard slow work Natural erosion will take the edge off but it could be a while
Relevant Youtube vid:
paparoa wont be fully open for another 2 months. an unofficial post on a facebook group not associated with DOC or the contractors claimed there was an incident recently where a digger was caught up in a big slip and the digger was pushed 30m down a mountainside says the ground it too saturated and dangerous to work on at present and they have to reroute part of the track around a section thats now too dangerous to keep using as part of the track.
Re Paparoa track. That bit about the digger was in the Greymouth newspaper. It is no surprise that the track wasn't ready for opening day. It has been a particularly wet year here on the Coast and annual rainfall by early December was already way above the annual average and shaping up to be one of the wetter years in 150 years of record keeping. Earlier this year I walked the line of the unfinished track and there were kilometers not even formed between Poroari Hut and Moonlight Tops Hut.
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Climber missing after torrential rain lashes Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park A climber has been missing for a week after travelling to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park while torrential rain saturated the area and obliterated access to several alpine routes. Petr Mandik, was last seen on December 13. He planned to walk Ball Pass Route, a challenging hike in the national park, to Haast Ridge, then to Plateau Hut and on to Aoraki/Mount Cook via Zurbriggen Ridge before returning to Christchurch.

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Forum Tracks, routes, and huts
Started by Pro-active
On 15 December 2019
Replies 8
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