Day trip to Clem Creek Spur and Cone Peak
15 September 2007
Clem Creek Spur and Cone Peak are most easily accessed from Walls Whare in the Eastern Tararua Forest Park. One reason for this trip was to see the new suspension bridge over the Waiohine River replacing the old swing bridge which, with its one person at a time loading restriction, was no longer able to cope with the increase in visitor numbers to this area. DOC administers and maintains 479 bridges throughout New Zealand, of which 116 are suspension bridges. The suspension bridges are a more solid structure then the swing bridges and as a consequence have a higher loading restriction. (In the case of the Waiohine bridge, this is 8 people at a time.) Similar structures exist in the Waingawa and Tauherenikau catchments. At 94 metres, the new Waiohine bridge is one of the longer suspension bridges in New Zealand. The new bridge will probably be more stable in high winds and those users who suffer from vertigo will be able to cross the bridge without constantly looking down and checking their foot placement.
After some mandatory photos, we started our trip to Cone Saddle with a rather steep climb, which was made slippery by overnight rain. The quality of the forest in this area always makes the climb an enjoyable experience. On reaching Cone Saddle we started on the sidle track which crosses Clem Creek, and from a small saddle the spur to Cone Peak can be accessed at S26 090236. Initially the spur is rather steep on a NW direction until reaching 084240 when there the direction changes to just north of west. At this point there is a spur from a forks in the Makaka Creek catchment joining the Clem Creek spur. This spur could cause a problem when descending. After travelling for about 100 metres on this bearing, the spur wings back to NW before the western side of the spur is bounded by a large slip and the direction is more to the north at 080243.The rocky slip edge provided some good views to the West and South and a cloud free Alpha Peak. The spur is now clearly defined and continues to Cone Peak, passing through some stunted silver beech and sub alpine scrub before breaking into the tussock. Just on the edge of the alpine scrub there was a good view into Makaka Creek (or Long Flat Creek) and the adjacent Makaka Creek spur, which provides a good route to Neil Forks Hut via Cone Ridge. On the top, conditions were a bit cool, and the western range draped in some rather threatening cloud. Just inside the bush edge we found a good spot for lunch out of the wind, but alas no warming sun. On our descent we followed the track back to Walls Whare and were treated to some good views of Bull Mound and the Reeves-Tauherenikau ridge just before the Block XIX track.
Back at the car we reflected on a most enjoyable day’s tramping.
- Party members
- Bill Allock, Marg Conal and Dave Reynolds