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Trip Reports 2011-02-11-Chamberlain Creek-Ruamahanga River Gorge

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This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 83, no 2, March 2010

Down the Creek without a Paddle, Chamberlain Creek

10 February 2011

After a failed attempt of Chamberlain Creek on Waitangi Weekend due to high winds, three hardy souls: me - Hayden Richards, Daniel Rogerson and Franz Hubmann decided to traverse it in a day the following Thursday.

We left Wellington Wednesday night and stayed in Masterton. After a short nap we were up at four in the morning to give ourselves as much day light as possible. We left the Putara Rd at 5:30am. A couple of hours tramping in the pre dawn darkness and we arrived at Herepai Hut only to be met with thick pea soup about the tops. With a couple of stops to check the map and take some bearings we arrived at East Peak for second breakfast.

With Franz leading the way off East Peak we made our way down to the saddle between East and West peaks. We dropped below the clouds and bush bashed through thick leather wood to the head of Chamberlain Creek. Thirty minutes of hard work later we arrived at the first small waterfall which we skirted around on the true right.

We decided to suit up and put on our wetsuits and harnesses. Great move because 15 minutes later we came to our first abseil, a big waterfall. Boy, was it a drencher, with a second waterfall soon after. From there it was a couple of hours of boulder hopping and sliding down the creek to our lunch spot with a view up the creek towards East Peak. After lunch we had more rock hopping and sliding till we got to our biggest abseil - two waterfalls on top of each other that ended in a deep pool which we had to swim away from.

Our next big obstacle was a five metre waterfall with a deep emerald pool at the bottom which we decided was a good one to jump. After throwing our packs down and letting them float to the side we took the plunge one at a time. What a buzz! Another couple of hours of rock hopping, sliding, jumping and swimming and we came to the next waterfall we needed to abseil. It was easier to traverse out to the true right and abseil down beside the creek.

Five minutes later we met the final waterfall, seven

metres ending in a big cauldron with a deep pool, which would have been a good one to jump but we were all a bit tired at this stage, so we chickened out and abseiled it instead. A couple of tricky rapids later we arrived at the convergence of the Ruamahanga River.

Time for a quick lesson on pack floating and we were off down the Ruamahanga River Gorge. Three hours later with a few swims and plenty of rock hopping, we arrived at Roaring Stag Hut as the sky was turning red. We had given ourselves just enough daylight and no more to safely do the trip. We dried off, had the last of our food for dinner and walked the last three hours out to the car under lights. We arrived back at the car at midnight. 18.5 hours for the round trip. We were all dead beat but had a fantastic time on this epic canyoning trip!

More photos can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page.

Party members
Hayden Richards(scribe), Daniel Rogerson and Franz Hubmann.

Page last modified on 2011 Apr 06 23:11

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