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Heels 1962

Egmont Alpine Instruction 18 - 22 May 1961

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Egmont Alpine Instruction 18 - 22 May 1961.

The party assembled on Sunday, 18th at Hawera, at John Nicholls' home, between 2 and 5.30 p.m. After tea there, Mr. Nicholls drove us in his truck to Dawson Falls hostel from where we climbed up to Kapuni Lodge in pouring rain. Monday was also pouring with rain, but we climbed to Syme Hut in the afternoon having nothing better to do. Most of the night was spent in feats of endurance (Russian dancing,standing on one leg, etc.) and drinking yeast brew. Next morning it was still raining and so, rather than put on wet clothes, we sat around the stove and read. Late that afternoon Bill and I packed up and left for Syme in pouring rain, while the others prepared to evacuate for Robson Lodge.

It took a good hour and a half up to Syme and we got there just before dark. It was very cold that night. Bill tried to dry out his clothes by wearing them in his sleeping bag. I could hear his teeth chattering in the bunk below me. After an hour he gave up and changed into dry clothes and we both got to sleep.

About 7 a.m. I was dragged out to photograph a glorious sunrise. We were above a layer of cloud covering Taranaki. The mountain above us was bright pink with the sunrise. After breakfast we noticed cloud over Rangitoto flat, so we hung about the hut until the mist cleared, then left for the summit at about 9.30. We stopped to put on rope and crampons just above the flat and continued under perfect crampon conditions.

I had trouble with my crampon bindings and got tangled up in the coils of rope like a kitten with a ball of wool and then dropped my gloves down the slope. Bill took off after them nearly dragging me with him. We sorted ourselves out and continued. We met no technical difficulties other than a patch of ice needing stepcutting near the lip. We climbed down into the crater, dropped packs and climbed to the top. Few photos were possible because of a strong, cold N.E. Wind. The Shark's Tooth was most impressive, being covered with a think layer of fluted ice. We returned to the crater, lunched and set off down at about mid-day. At the hut we packed up and left for Robson, as it was too late to go round to Kahui Hut. Next day we walked round to Stratford Plateau and hitched a lift to Stratford and from there home.


Party: Bruce Popplewell, John Nicholls, John Ross, Trevor Hunt, Bill Stephenson, Jill Lloyd, Linda Redmond.