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Heels 1966

Nelson Lakes National Park — Or The Next Day Was Gloriously Fine So We—

Nelson Lakes National Park

Or The Next Day Was [unclear: Gloriously] Fine So We—

Our basic plan was to climb everything in the Sabine and Travers Valleys in about eight or nine days. We left Wellington on the evening of August 20 on the Aramoana, equipped with Trevor's commodious station wagon and by midnight we were well established beneath a rude notice saying 'no Camping' on the shore of Lake Rotoiti.

Tndwgpsw spent most of it wandering up the Travers Valley to John Tait Hut (2700'). The following day was unsuitable for climbing but during the afternoon we made a trip or rather waded through the snow up to Cupola [unclear: isn] Hut (4800') and back/ I found this was valuable practice for climbing _out of my own footprints.

Tndwgfsw decided to get up early (Brrr) and attack Travers from all sides, especially the northeast ridge. Snow in the bush made it difficult going up to about 5000' but we were pleased to have a blazed route which led out onto the ridge at the bushline. Snow and rock conditions were good on the ridge, but about 1000' from the top we were obliged to move off the ridge into a clogged-up couloir. However, at 2 p.m. we lunched on the summit. There was some view to the north, down the valley but otherwise it was misty all around. (7670') 19°F, clam. The descent to John Tait took about 1/3 of the ascent time. We took the summit Creek route.

[unclear: Twdwgfsw] once again [unclear: le][gap — reason: illegible] hut before dawn to have a go at Cupola or Hopeless or [unclear: s[gap — reason: illegible]thing]. Something was all we conquered. About midday we eventually [unclear: reached] the saddle (5900') between Cupola and Hopeless and hopefully set out along the ridge towards Cupola. But it was hopeless. We were moving one at a time as the ridge was [unclear: c[gap — reason: illegible]rwiced] very narrow and icy in parts. We conquered a little peak on the ridge and we could see the Cupola - miles away. It appeared that we had climbed up to the wrong saddle. However the weather was still perfect so we had lunch (6400' 26°F calm)(visibility everywhere) and salubed back to John Tait. That night 10 Crusaders joined us in the hut page 11 Tndwgfsw spent three hours ploughing up to Upper Travers Hut (4300'). The next was bad (!) blowing, hailing, Snowing, cold etc., so we Just went over Travers saddle (5900' 24°F gale, visibility 10 yds in all directions), down to Sabine Forks (2100') and up the west Sabine For 1½ hours to a most commodious frog (3000').

Tndwgfsw decided to conquer Franklyn or something (once again it was to be something). By 10.30 a.m. we had reached a ridge at 6600' and had merely to decide which peak was Franklyn and which was the best way to it. Of course we made both decisions wrongly and finished up on a peak to the north of Franklyn where we lunched (7250' 30°F slight breeze, visibility perfect). We were separated from Franklyn by two rock cliffs - one down and one up. The ridge was therefore unsuitable, so we democratically (3 to 1) decided there was insufficient time and soon after, we realised that routes from the west were being continually swept by avalanches. Abandoning the attempt on the peak we set off down a large gully to the south, dodging [unclear: avalanches] and [gap — reason: illegible] about 1000' above frozen Lake Constance We [unclear: cramponned] down to it and saw Colin do a magnificently controlled boulder dodging glissade down the lower part. From here (4600') we took several compass bearings of peaks the results of which indicate many major errors in the maps of this area, e.g. Franklyn should be further south or Lake Constance further north by about 1 mils. The same day we went down to the Sabine Forks Hut again.

Tndwgfsw salubed down to Lake Rotoroa (1400') which has an abundanee of sandflies even in August.

Tndwgfsw climbed up to the Robert Ridge (5800') and Lake Angelus (5500'). I had rather a fright when half way across I decided [unclear: to] test the thickness of the ice. (2 ft snow and linch ice). Crack, crack. I made carefully for the nearest shore. Later in the day we passed the skiing peasantry deep in a basin (the tow had broken down,) and arrived at St [unclear: Arnaud.] (2000')

Tndwgfsw went home.

N. B. One finest quality aeroplane altimeter was carried on this trip.

Party - Trevor de [unclear: Stigtr], Colin Smyth, [unclear: Al] Chapman,

Tom Clarkson (author).