Mount Rolleston - Easter '69
Mount Rolleston - Easter '69
After several hours travelling on tramper-climber laden public transport, a cold wet Arthur's Pass township was reached. Sometime later, after much searching and a warmed debate, tents were pitched next to a colder, wetter and noisier Bealey Chasm. Pits were then bashed for sometime.
That night (Thursday) saw the initiation of the trip meal service - a cold war (weatherwise) between the two tents. Trying to conserve heat, one would yell from the depths of one's pit ...."Jones, bring over the stoo and we'll cook it for you." (Kindness obviously didn't enter into it.) Actually the rest of the conversation was typical, too.
"The pressure cooker's got lice in it."
"You cooked last night."
"Got your power Wharry, and I'll fill your primi, over here."
Pit bashing weather continued until about noon on Friday - we decided then to go up to the pass before lunch. Needless to say, after trying our hands at Southern Alps scrub-bashing, nature walking, scree-climbing and high speed descending - off Goldney Ridge - it was late afternoon. Then Brian performed - fell off a boulder (which was made for rock-climbing) backwards into a neckdeep, freezing, isolated puddle of water. Three other people almost fell off, too, laughing.
Saturday began with frozen condensation, but we soon found ourselves wandering up the Bealey River, towards the avalanche debris comprising the Bealey "Glacier". The Bealey Slide was long but interesting on permanent snow and frozen shingle. Highly exciting moments were had by all, when some thawed-out rocks hurled themselves, purring at Brian. Some rubble climbing later up thru a gut, saw us sipping snow tanges on Goldney Ridge and watching a party start up the beautiful Otira face. Blue ice on nearby Philistine and the rotten Rome ridge discontinuity were also admired.
Two hours of revolting rock, but enjoyable "climbing" and we were bikeriding on the Low Peak and staring at Sissons and party wandering around the horrible 'shrunds under High Peak. After strolling on for a while, we roped up to go over a slab. The Crow neve was deemed not suitable for this party, we stuck to the ridge which was easy - there usually being easy routes round difficult places. Memories here of chevalling over an interesting portion, then bellaying Jones along a pack track which sidled it. After a section page 20of glazed rotten rock, Keith and I found ourselves being glared at by the obviously impossible 'face' of the High Peak. Keith didn't think so, so gullible Wharry soon found himself being bellayed from the notch, (between Middle and High Peaks), from below. (A pathetic gesture of support that was). However it was good rock, with good bellaying spots and we soon found ourselves on the final summit nerg of the High Peak of Rolleston, having previously heard concluding piking noises from Nev and Brian on Middle Peak. The summit became crowded as the other party came up off the face. In near perfect weather we photographed, ate Bermaline, photographed, ate scrog, photographed and took more photos.
Even though the ascent had taken seven hours, it was 3 p.m. when we managed to drag ourselves away. Coming down, all the easier routes were obvious and the rope was put away. (Or was it because the other party had used their rope only two or three times on the face?).
One rock tunnel and several rock "avalanches" later everyone was back on Goldney Ridge. Descent was via the Otira Slide - first on shingle, then on snow, perfect for glissading, except for the presence of copious 'shrunds.
A small stream at the bottom was deemed a fit place to slake screaming thirsts, and enjoy a rest.
One and a half hours later, the majority of the party was at the road, where they were rudely disturbed by an, I-don't-know-anything-about-first-aid A.C. bloke. His mate hadn't managed to reach the road. Two brave lads, (must give Nev his due), went back to render assistance, or do what they could for the badly exhausted bloke.
A hairy ride into town followed - the car had damn all brakes and you know what that road is like. Things turned out o.k. - if you like groping around in bush at night, feeling ahead with outstretched iceaxes.
Pits were resoundly bashed until Sunday afternoon - with intermittent breaks for swearing at the tuneless singing of Jones and Lupton. Ever been driven to sleep by 'Lloyd George' sung for hours in ugly monotone? That afternoon, storm gear was proved ineffective in the bowels of the Devil's Punchbowl.
Monday, we rode out and into Christchurch, where two delightful dinners were indulged in, one after t'other, before the long trip back to Wellington was undertaken.
Party:- Brian Davis, Nev Lupton, Keith Jones, John Keyspage ii page iii page iv page v