Glenrock Stream – Turtons Saddle – Point 1805m, 11 October 2009

This was a new trip for the club. From the south bank Rakaia road, east of Double Hill and Godley Peak, or west of Redclyffe and our usual route to Black Hill, Rakaia.. The trip has resulted from tenure review. There is now a poled route up Glenrock Stream, right from a DoC sign beside the road. Furthermore, the route is now part of the line for Te Araroa, the Cape Reinga to Bluff walking trail.

Bill Templeton had suggested that a good day trip could be, up to Turtons Saddle, then up the western spur to Point 1805m and south along the ridge before descending a spur to Turton Stream and back the way we had come. Bill also agreed to lead the trip.

Surprisingly for a new trip, only Bill, Ken and Merv turned up at Church corner on the day. There had been more southerly weather in the week before, so we were expecting snow to low levels. In fact, the snow was at a fairly high level and even on the top ridge it was old snow with only shallow drifts from the recent fall. Maybe everyone else envisaged deep snow and stayed home.

With a 7am start, we were tramping up Glenrock Stream by nine. This was an ideal time of year for the trip. On a fine day with a moderate westerly, the stream was sheltered and very green with spring growth. The poled route connected to the farm track and continued up the zigzag. Arriving at the saddle at 11.00am, it was then time to start the steady plug up the spur to 1805m.

Getting to 1805m at about 12.40pm, the view west was of the snow-covered south face of the ridge connecting us to Godley and Moorhouse. And below, Petticoat Lane descended from Godley and swung south far below our ridge. After lunch, Bill and Merv continued south with mostly easy travel along the ridge; Bill looking for deer and Merv fascinated by the lace-like uniform pattern formed by the water channels in Petticoat Lane. Ken meanwhile descended our uphill route.

Reaching point 1691 was the limit of our available time and led to an easy route down to the stream. A little further south this stream becomes the North Branch Ashburton River. Once in the stream, we diverted a 100m downstream to visit the “A-frame hut” about 3.20pm, now nicely upgraded by DoC as part of the route.

From there, it was a matter of following the old farm track back up to Turton Saddle, meeting up with Ken at the bottom of the zigzag and trundling steadily downhill to arrive at the road at 5.20pm. This was a great day out and a trip worth doing again, particularly the top ridge travel. But for an easy-moderate trip, walking up to the saddle and down to the A-frame would be enjoyable outside of summer. To explore further on this route and again thanks to Bill, we have a weekend Turtons Saddle – Clent Hills Saddle ‘crossover’ trip scheduled for mid-March.

We were: Bill Templeton (leader), Ken Rapson and Merv Meredith P MM