East to West
East Cape ... http://tramper.nz/files/objectversions/28401/east-cape.jpg To West Cape. http://tramper.nz/files/objectversions/28400/20210101_102512.jpg Finally!!!
@ian_h I haven't come across any of Mike Abbott's party or any accounts of their trip. I _have_ either read or heard tell of the OUTC trip you mention though, returning via the planned food-drop helicopter. The route west of Lake Te Anau from the Milford Road to the Doubtful Sound road was based solely on hours of drooling over maps and Moirs with no reference to other accounts. The route from West Arm to West Cape was down to two accounts: 1) In an old FMC bulletin described a couple travelling overland from the Borland Road to West Cape via Lake Roe, Mt Solitary, the faces east of Oho Creek, swimming Edwardson Sound, summiting Mt Inaccessible and then a route similar to mine to West Cape. I photographed the pages and confidently just went looking for them on the PC to give you a reference, but can't locate them now. 2) Stan Mulvany sent me a link to his trip through Oho Creek and the Dusky in the reverse direction to mine. http://mulvanyadventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/voyage-of-gumotex.html
Re ordeal vs enjoyment ... 'Umm'. There were bits of the Fiordland trip I really enjoyed - that are some of my fondest ever memories of tramping. They all fall into the categories of 'tops', 'lakes' and 'fiords' - and as such are from a very small minority of the fiordland traverse. To say I didn't enjoy the rest though, would be both untrue and oversimplifying. I _did_ enjoy most of the actual tramping. But it was accompanied by an ever-present sense of unease/nervousness/stress which meant that I never managed to relax and live the moment in the way I normally do when tramping. That 'stressed' state was down to the constant feeling of being a long way out on a limb: - The fact that every day I was taking multiple (but brief) 'I really would rather not do this' moments taking risks at the limit of my comfort zone on the ascents/descents in and out of valleys. - The fact that for most of the trip a non-emergency 'safe exit point' meant 1 day up a west coast valley. 1 day over an alpine-divide pass. 1 day down a valley to Lake Te Anau. Arranging a pickup the next day with the Lake Te Anau boats - 4 days, all weather dependent. - The fact that in many valleys safe dry campspots were encountered maybe once- or twice- a day and as such getting' 'bushed' for the night was a constant worry - The fact that just 3 days into the trip I'd seen what West Coast rivers do in heavy rainfall Maybe these stresses would have been lessened with company. Someone to share the 'thinking' with and to buddy-check my decisions. To take the pressure off me to double-check my own decisions and ensure that every decision was the right one. But then for that, you'd need someone you'd tramped with for a long time and where both of you knew each other's strengths and limitations. A trip in company could easily end up with one of the party having to think for both people - which is something I take time off work to escape!
@Madpom: Thanks for the replies. Mike Abbott did a solo south to north traverse in 1988-1989. He started from Te Waewae Bay, went west to the Waitutu river then north to the end of Farewell Spit, stayed west of Lake Te Anau and pretty close to the main divide thereafter. I believe he did it in one push with food drops arranged to road ends but stayed in the mountains the whole time. I knew him from that time in the OUTC, went to a slide show/talk he did after that trip. An online account of his trip is here: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/over-the-tops/ Possibly still the only full and unbroken traverse of the Southern Alps staying west of Lake Te Anau and close to the main mountain chain all the way as far as I can figure?
Cheers for the link. Nice summary giving the feel for the trip without going into extensive details.
Great effort, and a big thanks for producing a full route guide to the trip in a way that makes it easily assessable! I'm curious how many have completed a full traverse of the Southern Alps. My definition would include end points on the south coast of Fiordland or Puyseguer Point or West Cape, and at the other end Farewell Spit or the end of the Richmond Range or Queen Charlotte Sound, with a route west of Lake Te Anau and close to the main divide thereafter. Ones I can think of at this moment: **Mike Abbott** 1988-1989 https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/over-the-tops/ **Henriette Beikirch** 2012-2014 https://alpineclub.org.nz/an-alpine-solo-journey-along-the-southern-alps/ **Madpom** 2017-2021 https://tramper.nz/10244/walking-the-length-of-nzs-main-divide/ Anyone know of anyone else who has completed the full traverse? I wonder also how many have completed the west of Lake Te Anau traverse from Lake Manapouri to the Milford Track? I can think of another party from Nelson that completed the Lake Manapouri to the Milford traverse, but I can't find a link to their trip at the moment. (Edited to add: I think it was Tristan Riley, he did it quite quickly (19 days), previously had a writeup on his website, but the link now seems to be broken. https://www.tristanriley.co.nz Some of the problem regarding documentation is it doesn't cost an extraordinary amount of money to do so it's not a given that someone will try to create much publicity about such an undertaking.
A guy who called himself "Stephen A Footslogger", otherwise known as Stephen Alderson, did a solo Fiordland traverse in the 1990's. Unfortunately he fell in 2009 on a solo traverse of a range in Kahurangi National Park. "He'd also undertaken a solo traverse of Fiordland in the 1990s." Janet Macnab and I attempted a similar traverse of Fiordland in 1996, starting from Te Wae Wae Bay but she had to be medivaced from the Glaisnock Wilderness Area after 54 days heading north via country west of Lake Te Anau. I've heard of a few parties hoping to complete the traverse since but the ones I took an interest in had to back off due to the weather forecast being unsuitable.
Interesting, so it’s possible Madpom is only the third to complete the full traverse of the Southern Alps on foot/packraft.
Fairly sure there'll be more. Mulvanny in the link above has been working on such a SI trip. Not sure if he's completed it or not yet. I have twice had tramping club members refer to someone else who's walked the full East Cape to West Cape traverse - which means either 1 or 2 minumum others for that trip. How many of those who do these trips never write about it - especially in pre- social media days? Probably the majority. Like you @ian_h I'd be keen on some names though - especially for the rumoured east cape to west cape traverse.
Mulvanny is prolific.. he has covered more of Fiordland than anyone. http://mulvanyadventures.blogspot.com/
off topic, but amazing, mulvany's daughter did an amazing first kayak circumnavigation of svalbard. best performance by supporting actors was the Polar Bears trying to get up close and personal... https://vimeo.com/433238784
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