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Heels 1970

Easter 1970 - Hikurangi

Easter 1970 - Hikurangi

About 100 miles north of Gisborne there is a group of five good peaks, which, although composed of very ordinary sandstone, rear up very sharply. There are several unclimbed routes. During Easter, Lesley and I went to try Hikurangi - the highest and easiest. With torrential rain and low cbuds, the first day, Friday, 26th March, was far from successful. We picked a few mushrooms and camped among cow turds beside the road. We had only a vague idea where the mountain was.

Saturday however was perfectly fine. We crossed the Tapuwaeroa river by cage and three and a quarter hours later arrived at the GC&TC Hikurangi Hut. The route follows the main ridge from the Pakihiroa station manager's house towards Hikurangi, at first along a farm track and then beside a fence line. After lunch another one and a half hours saw us on top. We scrambled up the shingle slide behind the hut, spent about 10 minutes on a disced track in bush, then emerged in scrubby sub-alpine veg. From the bush line the ridge rises steeply; near the top there are several rocky parts and the south face falls away hundreds of feet in rocky buttresses. We left our pack on the West Peak and crossed a small notch to the main peak (c5720'). Spectre de Brocken's followed us along the ridge, haunting mists on the south face, but northwards the view was clear across miles of bush covered ridges and valleys, to the Bay of Plenty and Mayor Island - floating off the horizon.

On Sunday, struck by a dreaded lethargy, we didn't try another peak, but motored down valley and headed for the nearest hot pools.

"For the first time for many years I have returned to the mountains and with powerful effect. It was stupid of me to neglect this specific remedy".

Conrad Meyer. *