Arthur's Pass forecast questions (14 & 15 Jan)
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Hi, I have been planning a light overnight tramp with my 8 year old son to Hallelujah Flat this weekend. We are both relatively inexperienced trampers. We have done the same tramp previously with a more experience friend and we both enjoyed it. This time the plan is to go by ourselves. I've been watching the Arthur's Pass National Park forecast at the Metservice website (http://www.metservice.com/mountain/arthurs-pass-national-park) and I'm not really sure how to interpret it. Hallelujah Flat (http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz33645/Hallelujah-Flat/) is relatively close to Hawden Hut which is included in the Metservice forecast. My feeling is that the forecast is not good, but I'm not sure how bad it is and if I should be putting of the trip. Can anyone with more knowledge give me an opinion on the forecast? In particular I'm unsure exactly what the "Wind chill temperature" means exactly. For instance if it's 14C does that indicate a temperature of 14C or a reduction in temp of 14C from what it would otherwise be without the wind? Thanks Andrew
Hopefully somebody who knows the area sees this and gets back to you in time, but in general I would be very reluctant to take an 8 year old into those mountains with any rain about. How many river/stream crossings does your proposed route include?
Thanks for the reply Craigo. That's pretty much my feeling too. There are about 7 or 8 river/stream crossings on the route. Thanks Andrew
Yea, and I see now that Arthur's is forecast for steady rain on both of those days. Maybe, if you can't delay, find a hut not too far from a road somewhere that doesn't involve crossings? With steep terrain and rain even small sidecreeks can quickly become a real hazard.
As an alternative trip in the general same area you could consider walking into the Bealey Spur Hut, there are no river crossings to contend with. While it involves climbing up a spur the contours are relatively gentle and you are rewarded with some great views and a sense of achievement for your son. The hut is a rustic gem with good camping available under the trees. Also the weather there can be surprisingly better than up in the headwaters. I've several times sat in sun on the spur watching as storm clouds obscure the valleys on the opposite side of the Waimak.
Thanks footsore, What is access to water like on the walk to Bealey Spur Hut? One of the things I like about going to Hallelujah Flat is plenty of spots to fill up the water bottles.
Water is an issue enroute - it pays to carry some.
While ridge walks often avoid crossings, that usually means you shouldn't rely on much water along the way. That walk crosses a tarn-fed stream, but tarns can get pretty manky and can be dry this time of year. You would more than likely have to haul a few liters of drinking water. That walk is also a 600m climb, so you might want to weigh up how you will go carrying a load up it if you're new to that kind of work. Setting off nice and early is always a good idea, but you also need to think about options for if you don't make the hut. Ideally you would make the decision to turn back with plenty of light left: overnighting on a ridge in poor weather could be an ordeal.
Hi Andrew, if you're just going into Hallelujah flats, and you've been there before, then that should give you a good measure of confidence methinks. Apart from the initial climb we find it a nice safe weekend doddle and if the weather packs in then at least you won't have any crossings to worry about if you need to retreat. If it rains then that's all part of the experience, especially with kids. It's great for their confidence to experience bad weather and come away energised by getting back to the car and home safely. Especially if you are well prepared & confident, and not phased by a little bad weather, then they will feed off that. The last time we did the Casey-Binser the weather forecast seemed to follow the Cant. High Country forecast better than the AP forecast. That may have something to do with it being just a bit further east of the divide than Hawdon. You often get quite a build up of wet weather on the divide that doesn't really spill over as expected. It can be piddling down at AP village but dry at Bealey Village. The Metvuw forecast looks ok. I don't think it will come to much until Sat night/early Sun morning, by which time you'll be safely tucked up in your tent. Looks ok for Sunday walk out.
The streams that you cross walking in to Hallelujah Flat are never a problem even after a bit of rain. They drain very small catchment areas. With a bit of judicious boulder hopping etc. we manage to keep our feet dry most times until we have to cross Casey Stream.
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