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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.

Tramping — In the Spotlight


In the Spotlight

The Tramping Club was founded many years ago. On the club's first outing the party all put their footwear too close to a drying fire, burnt them, and limped back along five miles. This tradition has been maintained.

Today the committee makes an effort to teach new club members by sending them on easy trips with experienced leaders.

The club provides a variety of tramps during the year, ranging from Sunday afternoon on Mt. Victoria to a strenuous three week mountaineering trip.

Many modern students seem to do much work and are unable to spend a whole weekend tramping. Therefore trips for only one day are arranged—though not really tramps at all. However, they are thoroughly enjoyable. With just a light rain coat, a litle lunch, and something to eat ... off you go!

The weekend trip varies from the very easy to the very hard. Usually the party leaves on the Friday night for an ill-defined objective. Invariably, it is wet and cold, the transport is late, and the leader has forgotten his map. In the small hours the party arrives at the hut . . . and collapses into the bunks.

However these trips are almost always popular—they offer wonderful views and a considerable sense of achievement. Many of these trips are done in the Tararuas and Orongorongos close to Wellington.

The climax of the tramping year comes in the Christmas vacation when several long trips of two or three weeks are planned. A long trip like this is the true test of a person's tramping ability. It is a strange feeling when one is quite out of touch with civilisation for the first time in one's life.

Why do people go tramping? Not only for the scenery—this is slight compensation for the physical effort, the getting cold and wet and lost. Some say that they get pleasure from leaving behind the aids and props of our normal life— they like the independence which they find carrying their own food and equipment far from civilisation.

In an effort to introduce trampers to the intricacies of snow and ice the Tramping Club has, in the last two years, organised two very popular volunteer courses. "Candidates" first learn to clamber up smooth rock faces and to train their eyebrows to hang on while their limbs search for grips. These lessons learnt, the school goes up to either Mount Egmont or Mount Ruapehu and candidates learn not to jump on each other while wearing crampons. In the course of one such training period, most trampers learn enough to be able to cope with most of the snow and ice that is met with on tramping excursions.

The club is particularly proud of its hut, which is the product of a good deal of hard work by past members. The hut is the scene from time to time of club parties— the evenings particularly are enjoyable.

A sober note, however, is struck by the plaque on the wall, commemorating two members who were killed during a club trip some years ago. The need for strict observance of the basic safety rules is ever present. Most, in fact probably all, accidents could be avoided if the proper procedure is followed.

Intending trampers should not be in a hurry to buy gear. There is much shoddy material on the market, and price is no indication of quality. Experienced trampers are happy to give advice on gear.

If you have read this far, there is a good chance that you are suffiently interested to want to take the next step and join the club. Good people to contact are Nick Bullock, phone 16-402 and Vivien Jamieson, phone 398/2916.