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Heels 1968

All The A's Except Adkin, Angle Knob, Aokaparangi, Aston Or Alpha Or How a FE trip nearly became FA

page 27

All The A's Except Adkin, Angle Knob, Aokaparangi, Aston Or Alpha Or How a FE trip nearly became FA

Only 1 person in the whole of the tramping club thought that it was possible to conquer all the Tararua Peaks beginning with A in a weekend, so it was rather a surprise for all, that 4 names appeared on his trip list. However 2 of those were seen in the common room on Friday morning, earnestly discussing prospective trips for that weekend, just about everywhere in the Tararuas from B to Z.

The first blow came when the Ohau was not in flood despite heavy rain all day, so all had to go up to Te Matawai on Friday night in wet and miserable conditions. Next morning the rain was still pounding on the roof. By the time we realised that it was only drips from the trees under a clear sky even Tom thought it was too late to get to mid-Waiohine that night. Everyone wanted to go to some different place so we democratically decided to go somewhere nobody wanted to go - and set out at 11.30 for Tarn Ridge. Conditions were pleasant at first, with good snow conditions over 4000' but it was rather bleak and misty when we got to Tarn Ridge at 4. Saturday - 1½hours shorter than Friday night.

Sunday dawned with sleet and a gusty southerly. Another 11 a.m. start had us heading for the nearest low level hut - Arete Forks. Sunday - 2½ hours shorter than Saturday.

We settled down into a nice hut with a fire, foam rubber mattresses, no draughts, and no rattles - until about 5 p.m. when the peace was shattered as 5 noisy, filthy, dripping wet individuals clattered into the hut. They kept saying something which sounded like "Anybody here seen Harry" so we weren't surprised to see a sixth arrive later. Only one person slept well that night - and he was a very loud snorer, and also managed to whistle in his sleep all night as well.

Monday morning was murky at river level but on setting out up Table Ridge we climbed above the cloud just below the top of the ridge. Here was a fantastic view of high snow-covered peaks surrounded by a sea of mist which stretched out over the whole of the Wairarapa. A rather cold wind made sitting down unpleasant, so we trudged across the snow on to the top of Brockett, then finally up the steep icy face onto the Mitre. After a last look at the views we dropped back into the mist and hurried down to the peasant-ridden Mitre flats hut for lunch. A speedy journey down to the road end followed by no roadwalking had us back in Wellington by nightfall.

- N.K.W.

Party: Tom Clarkson (leader). George Caddie, Clive Bolt, Nick Whitten.