Will the sole of my boots still be attached at the end of the hike? Will we make it up Mt. Saunders? How bad is bush bashing really?
Find out in this week’s episode of: ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!
Members: Luke “Careful!” Whitehead, Max “If it looks sketchy, it probably is sketchy” Truell and Georgia “Just gotta tape my boots” Prince
Day 1 – Mt Fyffe Carpark -> Mt Fyffe -> Kowhai saddle -> Kowhai Hut
It all started with a lovely early morning drive to Kaikoura, consisting of dolphins, many road works and the general feeling of excitement before a tramp. We arrived at Mt Fyffe carpark and left looking super hardcore with our ice axes and crampons attached to our packs, the members of the public gazing in admiration. We hooned up to the top of Mt Fyffe in 2 hours and 40 minutes and had lunch before continuing along the ridgeline.
Once we reached the high point of the ridgeline the sun came out and it was decided that it was Raro slushie time, a momentous occasion.
How to make a Raro Slushie:
Step 1: Prepare your pot lid of snow.
Step 2: Grab a half filled cup of water. Pour an excessive amount of Raro in it. Once you think you have poured too much in, pour in a little more. You want it to be nice and strong.
Step 3: Give your concoction a stir. Add more Raro to taste.
Step 4: Pour said concoction over the snow, making sure to cover the whole surface.
Step 5: Enjoy eating some yellow snow!
Afterwards, we continued down the ridge to Kowhai saddle and into the valley below. This was an awesome section of track, which consisted of climbing over boulders and rocks in the river and some cool little forest sections too. We were fully surrounded by fog, immersed in our own little segment of the river. It was very cool.
We eventually arrived at Kowhai hut 8 hours after we started walking. It was a cute little hut in an awesome location. The night ended with good chats around the campfire, a three course meal cooked to perfection (Cup-a-soup couscous, tuna pasta with fire roasted cheese Kranskys (that may or may not have been dropped in the fire), and marshmallows and chocolate) and vodka.
To be honest, the day couldn’t have gone much better.
The same could NOT be said about day 2 of the tramp.
Day 2 – Attempting to climb Mt Saunders
We left the hut in good time and after consulting the map and climbnz we decided to try bush bash the 300m to the bush line. The bush looked fine – it was between that and a dodgy looking slip so we took the bush. It was NOT fine and it soon became extremely thick and extremely steep.
Three hours of swearing at vines, whacking trees and cursing our ice axes later, we made it above the bush line. By this point, Georgia’s boots could only be described as utterly munted and were more held together by tape than fabric.
We continued on for a leisurely stroll up the ridge, loving the open country until we came across a very nasty jagged gash in the ridge line. Taking the advice of climbnz we decided to take the slippery scree sidle around. This took a long time and by the time we finally made it to the other side the day had crept up on us and we had to head back. Max had another look at the jagged section and thought “it looked sketchy but doable” and proceeded to nimbly amble across. Georgia and Luke got halfway, decided that they liked living and went back around for the sidle option. Max reflected “If it looks sketchy it probably is sketchy.
On the way back we decided that we would try to drop into the slip to avoid the bush from hell. Unfortunately there were bluffs leading into the slip so we got to deal with both the crap terrain and the bush from hell. How good. When we finally made it down to the slip we thought the worst was over. However the mountain gods weren’t too happy with us and sent a rockfall which hit Luke in the knee and nose and nearly took him out properly. To make things worse Luke was the one not wearing his helmet! (you won’t see him make that mistake again). When we got to the bottom there was another sketchy bluff we had to face. At this point Georgia said “at this point I don’t mind if I fall. At least I’d make it to the bottom.”
Excerpt from the Hut Intentions Book:
“10 hours of walking later. We did not make it to the top. 6 hours bush whacking. Do NOT recommend. Unless you love literally sliding through/climbing over/being in trees/bushes/tussock.“
Three very emotionally and physically taxed trampers made their way along the river bed towards the car park with nothing but fish and chips on their mind, thinking the ordeal was over. They were wrong. The mountains were cruel.
DOC said 3 hours. We thought we could do it in 2 hours. It took 4 hours. The rivers were high and we had to link up for every crossing (there were a lot). To make things worse it got dark. At this point the dream of fish n chips was gone. The track that existed on max’s dodgy GPS app no longer existed and so it was another final bush bash.
At 11:30pm (15 hours after we set off!) three emotionally destroyed and physically wrecked trampers made it back to the car. Amazingly there was a fish and chip shop open late and so we got the bliss of eating chips by the ocean while Luke played “I feel good” on the car speaker.
The heavens opened up on us on the drive back and we got back to Christchurch at 4am fully accepting that the next day was a write off.
Written by: everyone so we could all relive the trauma together ❤