Three Kings MF
3-5 August 2018
This was meant to be a snow trip but most of it had washed away by the weekend. The tops were still covered in cloud and after a little debate we left our ice axes and crampons in the car.
We got a brief glimpse of the tops from the Barra track - no snow visible. Paul and Sarah were right.
Heavy rain was forecast for the Saturday evening, coming in from the east. The question was whether it would arrive early, and we had decided to give the trip a go.
On the Saturday morning, in cloud and slight drizzle, we headed up the attractive South Mitre Stream from Mitre Flats Hut. I’d like to explore this stream further in summer.
After an hour we reached the base of North King Spur and headed up. Good travel through fairly open forest, and we reached the bushline after another 2 hours.
Just before the bushline we found some relics of a nearby 1942 plane crash that Dave Reynolds had told me about. Someone had moved a few bits of wreckage over to the spur - probably quite a long time ago. With the poor visibility we didn’t feel like looking for the actual crash site -apparently one or two hundred metres around to the north. I am told it was an Airspeed Oxford and that the 2 people who were on board are buried nearby.
Above bushline we were more out in the weather. Poor visibility and drizzle but only light winds. Scrub slowed things down a bit and everything was a bit soggy. At the top of North King we turned left to traverse the Kings in a cooler drizzly south-easterly breeze. Only small patches of snow.
My original idea of trying to drop off South King directly to Mid-King Biv will have to wait for better conditions and we headed down over Baldy instead.
We followed down the old ‘Barton Track’ which is on the spur northeast off Baldy. A few cairns above bushline were helpful, but there were only occasional markers in the forest and the GPS was used several times to keep us on the correct spur. The bush was mostly good travel. We hit the current Barton Track a couple hundred metres above the bridge across South Mitre Stream and gratefully returned to Mitre Flats Hut after a view-less 9 1/2 hour day.
We appreciated a fire that night as the rain set in. Home again on Sunday morning, by when the rain had mostly eased, with time for lunch in Carterton.
Thanks to Paul McCredie and Sarah White for an enjoyable trip.
Paul has made a video - with a ‘Game of Thrones’ flavour. (See https://vimeo.com/283860830(approve sites)) Franz Hubmann Footnote Paul made enquiries of Jane Mulryan, Senior Adviser, National Monuments and War Graves at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. She reported that both airmen, R. A. W. Abrahams and J. E. N. Corin, are commemorated at the Auckland Provincial Memorial at Waikumete Cemetery and that there is no reason to suppose their remains were ever removed from the crash site. The crash occurred on 14th January 1942.
- Party members
- Franz Hubmann (leasder and scribe), Paul McCredie and Sarah White