A brief account of a solid mission by a solid crew: Rachel Smith, along with Robert Phillips, Liv Martin, Kerry Clapham, Luke Whitehead & Alida van Vugt
The weekend began with a classic days’ tramping. After driving up to Mesopotamia, we negotiated our way up Black birch stream, featuring a bit of river crossing and off-track nav. We arrived at our bivvy rock below the Thumbs just before nightfall, and had a lovely cold night with amazing stars.
An early start on Sunday saw team High Thumb (Alida, Luke) boost up a couloir, while team Low thumb (Rob, Kerry, Rachel) went a more roundabout route. Soft early season snow made travel slow, and both parties turned back oh-so-close to the summit due to challenging chossy scrambling with no rope, after yelling a brief hello to each other across the gap between The Thumbs.
After returning from summit attempts the party headed across Brabazon saddle to Crooked spur hut. Things were taking a long time, due to the fact I had an ankle injury and was struggling with the off track travel, meaning we arrived at Crooked spur hut at night time. Things were turning into an epic…
Heads Down. We split into two parties, one with the gear, one with the injured person (me) and boosted out the remaining track in the dark, arriving at the car around 10pm, shattered after a 16 hour day. Thumbs up. We made it home (always good) by early Monday morning (3am). Thank god for 24 hour maccas in Ashburton. Another good weekend being infiltrated by nature.