Friday, January 14, 2011

A bit of a walk in Mt Aspiring National Park

With Mt Aspiring National Park on my doorstep sometimes I wonder why I don't visit it more often. So for this and other reasons last weekend saw me in the West Matukituki Valley heading to the iconic Aspiring Hut and a little beyond.

It was a trip down memory lane though - while I may not go there as often as I'd like, because I've lived nearby since '82, on this amble I was constantly assailed with a surprising amount of mostly lovely memories of a broad nature to do with climbing, tramping, skiing, 4wd, rafting, school trips, Search and Rescue... ad infinitum.

Let me take you on the walk...

Hells Gates just up the valley from where The East branch meets the West. The car road used to end here back in the 70s, when I had my first trip in to be a hut warden for a few days at Aspiring Hut. It was a long walk then...

Some wild water now bridged so folk can do day walks up the popular Rob Roy valley to the right, to see the glacier. I once helped get some disabled people to the opening back in the 80s...

Bridal Vail Falls never cease to fascinate me, and once again I made a mental note to self to walk up the awkward ground to check out the landing spot of all the water...

Looking out the window of Aspiring Hut with Mt Aspiring's summit on the right. I've enjoyed many social times of all sorts in this room and even done working bees painting and putting down a new floor. I feel a sense of history here as years ago I did some trips in the hills with one of the original builders, the talented pioneer mountaineer Harry Stevenson..

Further up the valley to Shovel Flat and there is the beautiful French Ridge climbing up to the right. I've seldom enjoyed the steep pull up through the bush, but once above bush line the travel is through an enchanting alpine garden that I always marvel at, but it's as 'mean as..' in a storm...

Heading back out in the cool of the evening, there is the roof of Aspiring Hut on the left...

Should you be interested, classic Brian Brake film footage of the building of Aspiring and French Ridge huts is now on-line

Bob I suspect this'll be another walk down memory lane for you too!

The problem with such stunning weather is a lack of clouds makes the landscape photography a tad boring and 'chocolate box'

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Blogger Bob McKerrow said...

Thanks for taking me up the Matukituki and seeing so many familiar sites. I remember ascents of the NW and SW ridge of Aspiring, trips up the East Matukituki, getting the VW stuck in a flooded stream just before Niger Hut, and all the pretty ladies I took up there under the pretext of teaching basic mountaineering.

Donald, you and i must do one of these gentlemanly climbs one of these days. I still haven't done Torres of Sedton from the West. how about flying in by ski plane to the western flank of Mt Sefton and we can trudge our way to the summit. Then there is Dechen, which I know Gollam wants to climb. Gollam can carry our packs as he seems younger and fitter. Gaston Rebuffat said " I prefer dreams to memories."

Dealing with heavy floods in Sri Lanka with over 1 million people affected. Long day where the old midnight starts on climbs helps a lot.

January 14, 2011 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
I would love to one day visit you and see some of this country with you. Perhpas I could tag along on the "gentlemanly" climb with you and Bob :).
Have just enjoyed nearly a month off and spent a fair bit of time in the mountains, including a very cool trip with a fellow blogger. Hope the New Year goes well.

January 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Dear Bob

Hope you can keep up the long hours on the flood relief work. It's not got much press here in NZ - easier to gather news from Aust. I guess, yet it's where you are where the greater needs of most lie.

Dechen would be fun! Looked at it from so many places. It seems it'd be a navigation exercise thru a maze of slots. Someone carrying my pack could help ;)

I'll start keeping eyes/ears open as to how to get close to the start of the fun.



January 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Dear Robb

Great to hear you've had about a month's worth of travel in your Ruahine Range - well done. The scale and ruggedness of the terrain looks far from "gentlemanly", but I dare say it's all about where we place our feet.

I thought your trip with Charlie was wonderful, and you captured and wrote of the essence so well. No doubt a month of being where your heart and soul can be open, brings forth a greater depth of expression.



It would be amazing and awesome to all have a trip together! Perhaps if we put it on our personal wish lists, it'll simply happen as is often the case in life.

January 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Rob's Blockhead Blog said...

Truly marvellous. Gave me a real lift.

February 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

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