Hi all, just after some feedback on the Ruahines as I am planning a trip there for the middle of September and it's an area I've only been to a couple of times before. Normally I wouldn't have any worries but I'm going with a friend of a friend who I've only done one previous trip with. He held up well on that trip (Kaweka-Kaimanawa traverse) but I had to abbreviate the original route planned as the third party member was struggling so we never really put in more than 6 hour days. For this trip I have planned the following: Day 1 (starting approx noon - need to drive down from Hamilton): Leave North Block Rd destination Waterfall Hut via Waipawa and Rangi Saddles. Day 2: Leave Waterfall Hut destination Otukota Hut or Wakelings Hut via Hikurangi Range (and Mokai Patea Range if going to Otukota). Not sure if this day is feasible as struggling to find trip times for from Crow Hut to Otukota. If I was on my own it looks easily achievable based of previous trips but don't want to kill my companion! Day 3: Leave Otukota or Wakelings destination Top Maropea via Maropea Forks Hut and Ruahine Range. Day 4: Out from Top Maropea to car park - maybe head up Te Atuaoparapara depending on conditions and how we are feeling. I've had a read of what I can find online (really enjoyed Madpom's length of the Ruahines trip) and in the books I have but keen on peoples personal experience. I'm happy to do 8 to 10 hour days if need be but obviously don't want to push it much longer at this time of year. Thanks all.
Thanks @gaiters. I like tops so would prefer to avoid river travel unless weather forces us down. Does Hikurangi Range change past Mangaweka? I've walked that far from Purity Hut and it was straight forward in a few inches of snow. Visibility was less than 50 metres so couldn't see what the range was like past there. Would it compare to say Daphne Ridge between Longview and Howlets or Black Ridge? They are the only other tops I've done in the Ruahines (well Sawtooth too but I guess that's not a valid comp.) Think I'll flag Otukota and just make for Wakelings. @madpom Thanks for the info. Will aim for Pinnacle Creek.
Flat boring featureless all the way from Mangaweka north to almost the McKinnon turnoff where it starts to narrow to a rounded defined ridge. No track but tussock not too tall. Route down to McKinnon was not obvious unless its been cut since I was there (2010?). No notes on this one and memory a bit vague. Walked from Purity roadend to Wakelings via Hikurangi, McKinnon, then back out via Top Maropea, Waterfall, Purity. Remember just wanting to curl up & go to sleep at Purity on way out on Sunday so guess it was a hard day!
Thanks @madpom Out of curiosity how did you get from Wakelings to Top Maropea - head to Maropea Forks then up the river? Certainly looks like a long day so can see why sleep was calling by Purity!
This way: http://routeguides.co.nz/routes/566 Basically south along the ridge E of Wakelings until it starts to climb into scrub, the drop east across the Maropea (west fork) and up the far side to intersect the Top Maropea track where it reaches the ridgeline below the hut.
Interesting. Thanks @madpom.
Its a going to be a long day from Waterfall to Otukota Hut. I would think about revising it to Wakelings hut which is still a fair hike the way you are planning it. Not sure what the point of slogging all the way to Otukota is? If the weather is fantastic then maybe..The track from Otukota to Maropea Forks is good but it has no real views/advantage from the Wakelings to Maropea Fks track. Pinnacle creek is straight-foward and the normal way onto the Hikurangi range from Waterfall, but it will add a bit of time to your day as you are going further away from the Wakelings/Otukota. If you are confident enough, Iron-peg creek or Trig creek are feasible alternatives but it is completely unmarked and you will have to push through the scrub and some leatherwood. It is a quicker route to McKinnon than Pinnacle if you know the way. Travel along the Hikurangi Range is good. Some tussock holes and spaniards north of Hikurangi but nothing to worry about. There is a poled route from the tops down to McKinnon or further along to Crow. Travel along the Mokai Patea is OK as well but you need to be spot on with your navigation as it is pretty featureless on the tops. As gaiters mentioned, in normal flow the Kawhatau is good travel to Crow hut. It is probably longer than going over the tops but could be an alternative? If open tops travel is a no go you could shorten the trip. Travel down the Waikamaka river is very easy as far as Wakelings so you could "escape" from Waterfall hut by backtracking to Waikamaka hut and then down the river. This is actually the shortest way to Wakelings from Waterfall and you could get to Okutoka hut this way in a day provided the river is in normal flow.
In summer I'd say no worries - but in September there will be some snow (especially around the Mangaweka area) and it could possibly be deep or icey. I am assuming you'll be carrying at least an ice axe (preferably crampons too)? The rivers will also be bloody cold. Pinnacle, Trig and Iron Peg creeks are all OK routes although easier to come down in winter as slogging up in soft snow could take longer than you are planning. While the Mangaweka tops are wide and rolling with snow and low visibility they can be a dog to navigate. My suggestion would be to have a plan B, plan C and plan D up your sleave. If you get good weather and good conditions it will be a fabulous trip and if you don't or things don't go quite to the original plan with a number of fallback options you cans till have a great trip.
Thanks @ruahine and @stunted. Will definitely have back up plans/routes. As I mentioned in the first post I am definitely willing to change plans if it is needed. Thanks for everyone's advice.
dutchman In February, my intention is to tramp from McKinnon hut to Waterfall hut via Hikurangi/Mangaweka/Trig Creek. Anyone who has traveled this route recently, a report of its condition will be greatly appreciated.
@dutchman I haven't been down Trig creek for many years but I doubt its changed much. As described above, the Hikurangi tops are relatively easy travel, Trig creek is OK in the upper reaches but there will be a bit of scrub bash at the bottom. Pinnacle creek is the standard route and easier but will require further travel along the Hawkes Bay Ridge from Iron Peg. Not sure how you are accessing McKinnon hut, are aware that you can no longer drive to Kawhatau base?
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