Pinnacle Ridge M
March 27 2013
Pinnacle (877 m) is stunning in most conditions and the ridge track needs regular traffic to keep the old foot pad clear, so Pinnacle Ridge was my pick for a Wednesday medium trip on March 27.
We set off from Holdsworth car park at 8.45 and were lucky that it was still cool after a clear night, as a 26 degree maximum was forecast. There were only three of us as the two from the Ngaio end were not able to arrange transport. We made good time for the 500 metre climb up to Pinnacle and enjoyed a morning tea of Trampers Oat Slice and a giant screen view up to Jumbo and along the Atiwhakatu.
From Pinnacle the foot pad peters out through about 100m of rock and regrowth, then resumes on entering the bush proper along a ridge to 862 (where an eye on the compass is needed to avoid heading off on a NE spur to point 800). From there the going is good, with a number of white markers and a clear foot pad. At point 846 there is a French flag marker indicating the way to what appears to be a marked track down to the Atiwhakatu, most likely via a prominent SW spur.
Once on Pinnacle Ridge proper, the markers and foot pad continue but become increasingly overgrown and obscure from about a third of the way along. My interpretation was that few trampers are now doing the full ridge route to the Mitre Flats track at the other end, but instead are now heading off on a side route to the Atiwhakatu, or, as Diane Head has done on one of her trips, crossing the river at Atiwhakatu Hut, climbing up to the ridge and returning to the Holdsworth road end from there, which would cut the trip by about two hours and make it more suitable as a medium, especially for a larger party.
We lunched close to the end of the ridge and then descended to the Atiwhakatu Track. There are a few slips along the track so there was still some climbing to do. The area around Atiwhakatu Hut is being tarted up with lots of formed sections of track and some sandstone topping. An official sign told us to make our ‘presents’ known to construction workers along the route.
We were back at the road end at 4.30, where Rosemary jumped in the Atiwhakatu boots and all to freshen up before the drive back. Quite a long day for a medium and it would have been even longer with some of the very large parties on the Wednesday mediums nowadays so I would more likely do a shortened route another time.
- Party members
- Marg Conal (leader and scribe), Anne Opie, Rosemary Wilson