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Heels 1969

Clyde - Garden Of Eden - Perth - Godley - Havelock

Clyde - Garden Of Eden - Perth - Godley - Havelock

On leaving Erewhon station, we had to cross the Clyde which was running high and tricky to ford. Then the suffering began in earnest as we ploughed across the monotonous boulder infested riverbed. To avoid a river crossing we decided to sidle a bluff. An hour later we were back having come to a second, horrible looking bluff by an uncrossable stretch of river. It was now only a short distance to Broadleaf hut. This is a scabby musterers hut overrun with mice and starlings, which provided us with entertainment as we dried out our gear during the afternoon.

In misty conditions next morning we continued up the true right of the river. An hour and a half up river a brand new forest service type hut was reached (Curses, why were we stuck at Broadleaf). At McCoy junction, we crossed the river to avoid Armada bluff but after recrossing were faced with the worst bluff of the river. We followed up a lead of scree to climb up to one side; but sidling across and descending down the other side which was enough to make any seasoned Tararua leatherwood basher feel at home. "How do I get down this steep bit?" "Just jump, land, and disentangle yourself." From here it was easy going to Agnes Bivvy, where we settled in for the night, with thoughts of reaching the Garden of Eden next day.

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"Curses, misty again." "Yes but there's no wind. We'll give it a go." Soon we were suffering up over glacial rubble and then onto the moraine of the Wee McGregor glacier and then onto the glacier's snow. Plod. Plod. Must keep to the steps. What my turn to lead. Curses. Plod. Plod. Damn this mist. Can't see a thing. Plod. Plod. Where are we? Which way do I go now? We were now at the top of the glacier and trying to find Perth Col in the mist. We decided to make for the dark shape ahead and so reached Perth Col. At noon the mist cleared and we could see all. Peaks all around, with the Garden of Eden stretched out ahead and slightly above us, behind its protection of schrunds. We were soon on our way. It was necessary to climb almost to the top of Baker Peak before sidling around, and commencing the long grind across this great snow plateau to Adams Col. On the way we spent much time and discussion in locating Eve's Rib - our escape route for later on. (The Rib is almost due south of Adams Col). At Adams Col we spent much time and energy in leveling out a campsite. It was well placed - surrounded by tremendous scenery, with a good slope nearby for snow-cave fanatics. On some rocks above the col (an easy scramble from the tent) was a most useful pool of water, which saved us the doubtful pleasure of having to convert snow to water.

We lazed around next morning (Xmas day) in perfect conditions and eventually set off for a stroll up Guardian Peak. We sidled along to a prominent snow rib - neatly missing some cracks in the process and then just kicked steps up to the summit, where we had a lazy time until we eventually returned by the same route.

George and I traversed the ridge from Adams Col over Newton (8200') to Tyndall (8282') the next day, again in perfect conditions. The ridge, which went up and down over several large bumps, was fairly easy mixed rock and snow. The rope was needed only once on a rock pitch and even this could have been avoided if we could have been bothered retracing our steps a short distance. All along the ridge the rock was beautifully firm and solid. After lunching on the summit of Tyndall we dodged down between schrunds onto the Garden of Eden and back. In the meantime Arnie and Phil had climbed up onto the south peak of Farrar (7900') by a snow route. We all arrived back at the camp with the afternoon murk at 2 p.m., and two hours later left down Eve's Rib for the upper Perth R.

The next day was devoted to 14 hours suffering as we moved seven miles down the Perth R. Just past our camp the flats ended and the river became uncrossable as it cascaded down boulders and so we were forced to follow down the true left. We sidled down the edge of the river to Prospectors page 26Creek. When we were not scrambling across, over, through, or around huge boulders, we were fighting our way through dense west coast scrub and bush as we sidled above parts of the river. On the way down we actually caught a bedraggled chamois. However, he was very thin and appeared not to be eating as a result of a jaw wound and eventually Arnie had to put him out of his misery. Prospectors Creek was reached and finally crossed - after we had spent half-an-hour searching for another means - by jumping over a swift flowing narrow part of the stream. After this, being sick of boulder hopping, we decided to sidle on an endless high terrace about 200' above the river. Scone creek was reached and crossed at a good spot with the aid of a rope all ready being used by the deerstalkers in residence at the forest service hut on the other side. As Pascoe's guide book says: "The Perth is by no means the worst of the West Coast Rivers, however ...."

A rest day was now declared. The day after we set off up Scone Creek for Sealy Pass (5800'). A fairly good blazed track went up the true left of the creek and soon we were past the Bettison Stream junction at a point where we had to cross the stream to avoid an apparently impassible bluff. On this crossing, and the one later, when we returned to the true left, we had to use a rope - so swift was the stream. After the second crossing we could not find the track and so blundered across a bluff. The route was then a long walk up avalanche debris over the stream, followed by a reasonable boulder hop. At Scone Glacier crampons were put on and soon we were in a large basin under Sealy Pass, where lunch was taken. We then plodded over the pass and down the other side to the crevasse free Godley Glacier. We soon had camp set up on some moraine in the middle of the glacier.

Cloud hung around the peaks during the next day, although there was still a lot of sunshine about and the peaks were often clear. We had intended to climb something during the day but somehow at three we were still playing cards in the tent. A tongue and Meat party then arrived having just vacated their campsite at Dennistoun Corner. They told us that the best route up D'Archiac was from here and so after a forty minute sprint we were setting up a camp again. That night the cloud cleared away and we set the alarm (i.e.Arnie) for three so an attempt could be made on D'Archiac (9279').

With first light, we left the tent in perfect weather and perfect crampon conditions and soon had sidled the ice-fall in Dennistoun Glacier and reached Revelation Col. From here we led up loose rock and then snow on a steep rib. page 27We then pigeon-holed across a large snow shelf in beautiful snow conditions and when the snow ended climbed up easy rock to the narrow summit ridge. On the summit, we indulged in the usual activities before beginning the descent. The only difficulty on the way down was the snow ledge which now had the sun on it and was soft. However, it did not avalanche and early in the afternoon we were back at camp.

Again in perfect conditions, the next day we left over Pyramus (7340') for the Havelock. At the head of the Godley, Terra Nova Pass leads to the St.Winifred glacier and the Havelock R., but because of an icefall in the glacier it is easier to traverse over Pyramus, to the right of the pass. I cramponed up hard snow all the way to the summit, while George and Phil, who took a different route up the last section, struck soft snow and arrived somewhat later. Arnie, who had climbed the peak before, sidled the summit and started descending well ahead of the rest of us. We all met up on the way down and proceeded down to the St. Winifred Glacier, below the icefall. After an easy tramp down the St.Winifred stream, the Havelock was reached at St.Winifred hut. Here we stopped and spent the afternoon sunbathing.

Next morning, we wandered down the river to camp about 4 miles from its junction with the Clyde.

Erewhon station was reached next day and we were soon churning up dust from almost two weeks of fine weather as we headed for Christchurch and home.

Party: George Caddie, Arnie Allan, Phil Burgess, Keith Jones.