Kakanui 822 from the valley
16 September 2006
Maps R26, S26
SSW of Kapakapanui, Kakanui rises 822 m above sea level, but only about 22 m above the logging road that runs from Akatarawa Saddle to the Waiotauru. So why would anyone bother to climb it? Well, there is a harder way - from the Akatarawa road 600 m below, up the long spur reaching northish then north-eastish from the first road bridge north of Staglands. We entered the forest immediately on crossing the bridge, traversed up an old slip face and soon found good travel on the crest of the spur. Quite a few old markers were noticed up to about 600m where the spur swings east and approaches Kakanui in a series of directional swings between east and north-east – no trouble on the way up, but offering interesting navigation to a descending party. We reached the summit pipe about two hours after leaving the road.
The return route was less direct. First, east from the summit, cutting off a loop of logging road circling north around Kakanui. We found south-tending spurs to tempt us off course, but finally ended up on the road at the tiny saddle just west of bump 762. From there along the road to the Waiotauru Saddle and down the Renata Ridge track as far as Maymorn Junction. About a kilometre south along the well-marked Maymorn Ridge track, a well-marked “V” junction indicates a well-marked side-track leading down to Frances Stream. Arriving at the stream we went west, crossed a second branch of Frances Stream and ascended a narrow bush spur that broke convention by saving its steepest parts for the higher sections, but brought us finally to the ridge about 100 m north of bump 708.
Now we were in territory that had been discreetly marked on a recce a couple of weeks earlier. Southwest down the spur to bump 508, then west to Chilly Stream, where a cairn indicates the start of an easy climb to the logging road at bump 535. Seven or eight hundred metres south along that road, a second road leads off towards Staglands; the worst of the gorse had been dealt with on the recce, and we emerged just on closing time to flocks of peacocks and farmyard sounds and smells. GOTOWO about nine hours. We were fortunate to have the permission of Mr John Simister, owner of Staglands, to cross his property and to park on his land.
- Party members
- Neil Challands, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader/scribe), Sieny Pollard, Tim Stone.