Mt Foweraker, Arthurs Pass – Thursday, 25 July 2019

Yes, ANOTHER Sunday trip that got rained off, but then we went on a fine Thursday. It’s becoming a habit! For the mid-week tramp we met at 7.00am at the Russley Rd corner, for the 115km drive, and then climb to 1804m Foweraker. Three of us turned up, so we took Peter’s vehicle. Around the Mt Horrible corner we turned off down to park by the rail bridge over the Waimakariri River, talked to a campervan owner, and set off at 8.40am on a brilliant, calm morning.

The club first did this trip in mid Sept. 2015, Peter included, so no problem about the route. Once over the bridge we dropped down onto the end of the fan spreading out from Red Beech Stream. The stream at the bush edge was our immediate objective, 40 minutes away. Once in the bush and ascending the steep spur on the true left, Peter was surprised to find we were on a well formed track for a Department of Conservation trap line. No such luxury in 2015. The luxury didn’t quite last. Three quarters of the way to the bushline, the trap line stopped and we were into bushbashing, but we were still there before noon.

The steep climb up from the bushline wasn’t easy with light snow cover on boney terrain, but it didn’t take long to get up onto the broad, more gradual spur with better snow cover. And it’s always easier following with Peter in front. Up to the upper ‘basin’ by 12.30pm we surveyed the ridgeline ahead and Peter explained the route via the SW spur versus straight ahead up to the main ridge SE of the peak. We discussed the time to dusk and time to the top; i.e. maybe 30 -45mins? In hindsight, my view was conservative, maybe influenced by a few recent trips. We gave up on going to the top, and settled down in the basin for lunch in calm, lovely conditions.

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Figure 1. On the spur above 1400m en-route to Mt Foweraker. Photo courtesy of Merv. Meredith

Dropping back down, the view from the broad spur was more than impressive and a shame to continue down. Once back at the bushline and below, Keith’s map programme wasn’t fully functioning, but it was enough to reassure us that Peter was bushbashing in the right direction and we soon regained the trap line. Back over the rail bridge to the vehicle at 4.15pm with an hour of daylight in hand it was time to talk to tonight’s campervan resident.

We were: Keith Hoard, Merv Meredith and Peter Umbers (leader). PMM