Maukuratawhai - Sunday 27 August 2017

A nor-wester was predicted so Merv was wondering if people would arrive at the meeting point. On the day we had a neat car-load of four and our 0700 start got us over Jacks Pass by 0915.

Because this was one of Merv’s regular trips he knew where to park and where the best crossing point is, over the Clarence. This crossing is about 1km down-river from Clarence Valley Road on Top House Road. The water was below knee hight but it was a wide crossing in icy water. I was glad to cross the river flats and start climbing briskly to warm up and didn’t peel off any layers for a good 20 minutes. Climbing up the spur we didn’t need our ice axes till half-way up and we were pleased to find we could kick through the crust and didn’t need crampons. The nor-wester was strong and wanted to remove my hat but it wasn’t a gale. We didn’t linger on the top (1615m) but retreated to a leeward spot to have lunch overlooking a winding Clarence River and barren hills, including Mt Isobel. Merv pointed out nearby Mt Percival which is a good climb from Hanmer. On the lower slopes of M we took time to attack any pullable pines but left some for next year’s climbers. This is an understatement, there are enough for the whole membership to tackle but you’d need a chain saw for the big cone-bearing specimens. Maukuratawhai on is Molesworth Station and its coniferous slopes are just a tiny fraction of the station’s problem. With a handsaw we could have dispatched more. We had time to do more because at 3 pm we were sitting outside a shop in Hanmer and got home with daylight to spare.

We were: Merv Meredith--leader and driver, S-P Wang, Dan Pryce and Kerry Moore

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