Remutaka Pass to Remutaka Incline Summit MF
9 September 2020
Leaving the Remutaka Trig Track carpark, our party of seventeen walked past the sign warning not to attempt this track in high winds, and headed up.
At the last zigzag before the saddle we turned right and angled uphill, following a lightly-cleared old route up to the ridgeline then south along the main range crest. There has been an old track along here for many years that has periodically been cleared and then become overgrown again.
Having been recently cleared it wasn’t difficult to get through the first section of scrub. Then we emerged onto a short open section of ridge crest with scrub that is sometimes only ankle deep. This gives spectacular views over Lake Wairarapa and the Pakuratahi Valley, but is fully exposed to wind.
It was very windy up there and everyone was having difficulty standing up, especially the lighter members of the party. If the exposed section had been longer we would have had to turn back, but after some struggle we got past the open bit and followed the cut route into the low bush on the eastern side of the range crest. From then on we were sheltered from the wind and continued south along the range just below the crest.
David found a concrete trig marker that is directly above the Remutaka railway tunnel. If they ever lose the tunnel, they could start digging down from here to relocate it. Further along, the track enters tall native forest which clothes the eastern side of the range here, whereas the western side – visible from the Incline – is entirely scrubby, with dracophyllum and gorse. In a couple of sections it was easier to sidle or drop a little east to avoid some thicker bush. Soon after passing pt 710 the ridge drops towards a low saddle. Staying in the taller bush just east of the scrubby ridge crest, we dropped nearly 200 metres before sidling to the right through a short scrub belt – that has not been cleared – to reach the saddle and then drop into the small creek to its west. After having lunch by the creek we climbed up a few minutes to the west to reach another low saddle and pick up a recut track - actually an old bulldozer track - marked on some maps - that descends through scrub, gorse and pines to reach Back Road a few minutes above the Incline Summit.
Turning north, we followed Back Road until a short dead-end logging track called Miro Road branches off it. Jenny and John had previously gone that way and suggested it as a short cut up to Via Dela Rosa (the forestry road that leads back over the hill to SH2). After a short but awkward descent to the creek at the end of Miro Road we followed up this valley, soon entering delightful native forest, before climbing up an open kamahi spur to reach the forestry road not far from the saddle. We followed the road back to SH2 to end a 7 ¼ hour trip through varied scenery.
The ridge crest track is not marked, is sometimes indistinct, and is not fully cleared, but it is now easier to get along there than it was.
See also Paul McCredie’s: Der Fliegende Trampers on Vimeo. Sarah White sent a comment from Ross Wakelin, Narvik, Norway: ‘ … after several months in lockdown trampers lose all strength in the legs and are barely able to stand. However, if let loose to crawl around in the gorse they can regain some functionality in the course of a day’.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Peter Barber, Joan Basher, Helen Beaglehole, Paul Bruce, John Dement, Tricia French, Franz Hubmann (leader and scribe), Gerald Leather, Jenny Mason, David McNabb, Paul McCredie, Anne Opie, Janette Roberts, Lynne White, Sarah White, Peter Williams.