Stanton Memorial from Tararua Lodge
26 October 2019, Labour Weekend
It was one of those windy day where the mountain was closed for skiing, but looked really good with the sun shining and the peaks glistening. I decided I wanted to have another go at getting to Stanton Memorial.
I had tried to get there by myself in similar conditions a year ago, but hadn't been able to see an obvious route down the bluffs, and there was no route on skis above the gully separating the ski area from the location of the memorial. The gully itself contained a waterfall. I'd turned back then as the winds got stronger and had struggled to skin back and keep the skis and myself on the ground.
This time the wind died away over the day. We headed away about 10:50 skinning on skis through the gap in the ridge west of the Lodge and followed a route to the National Downhill, and continued across the bottom of the Downhill at roughly the same altitude until we met the gully. We had a rest stop and Adrian headed back. Jim and I crossed the first half of the gully on skis and skinned down to a point where skiing was no longer possible as the ridge narrowed and dropped through rocks.
Leaving our skis behind we followed a fairly obvious route down into the second half of the gully and up its other side onto a flat topped ridge. There was still a reasonable amount of snow and it continued all the way. The going was pleasant the the route not too difficult, even though we still didn't know exactly where we were going.
Descending further we got a view of our likely destination which we knew to be a large freestanding boulder. We got to the Memorial at about 13:15 and spent 20 minutes there.
It was an easy matter to retrace our steps, and back at our skis take a better route back onto the ski field. We headed up to Delta Corner to ski back downhill to the lodge skiing out of the High Traverse onto the Delta Ridge and down the Yankee Face back to the lodge.
We got back to the lodge at 16:30. An excellent day.