Voyage along the Southern Alps from Arthur’s Pass to Aoraki
A brave party of four, the fabled Pirates of the Rakaia, undertook the long and treacherous journey beginning at the waters of the mighty Waimakariri and ending at the foot of the lofty mountain, Aoraki.
Week 1: Over the hills to far away
The mad pirates set out across four mountain passes: Harman Pass, Whitehorn Pass, Hokitika Saddle and Frew Saddle. On their second night they read the legend of Jakob Lauper, first man to make it out of the Whitcombe valley alive. The tale warned of many dangers in the unforgiving western land. The pirates laughed at Jacob’s tale of despair, but little did they know what they would soon encounter…
As soon as they descended from Hokitika saddle into the mighty Mungo the pirates found treacherous trails created by the Permolat Scoundrels. There were (frayed) rope swings across gaping chasms, and markers leading across V4 boulder problems. These trails worse than bush bashing. The pirates braved their way through the entrapments and made it to Frew hut, a safe-haven with a bounty of food.
WEEK 2: The Waters of the mighty Whitcombe
It rained every day. The drowned pirates wished that they had a ship. They trudged and trudged and trudged. The river crossings were desperate… at one point Sach had to resort to doing a Jakob* manoeuvre to cross a stream. It rained. It thundered. Everything was wet. The pirates were left with no dry clothes to walk in, and no way to stay warm besides dancing kea calisthenics. The Whitcombe was rapidly driving the pirates insane.
When the rain finally abated the pirates made a bold and daring escape across the mountains to their homeland, the mighty Rakaia, to rest in the homely Reykjavik hut.
*first man to make it out of the Whitcombe valley alive. A Jakob maneuver refers to his description of crossing a flooded river: “holding myself up to the neck in water, I reached the side, and the little notch in the wall, let go the rope, and held fast to the notch. I had no trouble to cross over; being deep in the water, it supported me, so that I could hold myself up with one finger. Thus I got on to the next rock with ease, from whence I could get into the bush.”
Week 3: The pirates go gardening
With fresh supplies the pirates decided on a change of occupation: gardening. They daringly ascended McCoy Col, Rangitata Col, Lambert Col and Satan saddle itself to reach the Garden of Eden, an expansive icy plateau. They never actually saw the Garden of Eden because it was foggy.
Gardening in the fog was cold, and all the plants had died so the pirates made an escape down the aptly named adverse creek. Rachel had a go at bum sliding but had to abruptly change plans when she found herself about to slide off of a cliff edge. Sacha ran down the slope atop a large boulder. The other two were carried by giant kea to safety… And so the pirates made it to the safety of Scone hut, where fresh scones were indeed waiting.
Week 4: To end of the map
Packs laden with a bounty of food, the Pirates battled their way up the dreaded Whataroa valley. There were many sandflies. The tracks were such so slow going that time went backwards. The party had to flee the bullets of hostile hunters. The pirates needed to make an escape from the terrible west coast…
They crossed over Whataroa saddle, clambering over house sized crevasses, abseiling off of spoons down steep rock faces, and trudging in slushy snow. They at last arrived at Castle Kelman, built some fortifications to keep the tourists out, then sat and drank hot chocolates in peace.
Finally, the four pirates walked down the mighty Tasman, longest glacier in the land, and made it to the end of the map, Mount Cook Village. They drank a Corona to celebrate.