Tararua Tramping Club

Te rōpū hikoi o te pae maunga o Tararua   -   Celebrating 100 years of tramping

Trip Reports 2023-09-08-Tongariro

Search trip reports

(:template each:)

{=$Name}? {=$Summary}



Photo Tips Drag and drop upload Edit page   Max size 32MB

StudentAlpine1.jpg: 955x714, 241k (2023 Dec 17 00:34)
Photo Bharat Pancha
StudentAlpine2.jpg: 955x714, 267k (2023 Dec 16 22:32)
Photo Bharat Pancha
StudentAlpine3.jpg: 864x679, 206k (2023 Dec 16 22:33)
Photo Bharat Pancha
StudentAlpine4.jpg: 969x646, 54k (2023 Dec 16 22:33)
Photo Bharat Pancha
StudentAlpine5.jpg: 969x727, 213k (2023 Dec 16 22:33)
Photo Bharat Pancha
StudentAlpine6.jpg: 971x647, 158k (2023 Dec 16 22:34)
Photo Bharat Pancha

This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 95, no 11, December 2023

Student alpine trip to Ruapehu

8-10 September 2023

As the light of our head torches bounced along the path, the jingle of crampons and ice axes combined with the crunch of gravel underfoot created a simple rhythm. We chugged along the tourist motorway, the dark night concealing the huge landscape surrounding us. By the time we had settled into the flow of things we arrived suddenly at the hut. We quickly set up our tents and hit the pit, a big day ahead of us.

I awoke to the deep quiet of the alpine, and rose out of my cocoon of warmth into the bitterly cold morning. Everyone made their way slowly out of their tents and walked stiffly over to the breakfast table to cook up a very welcome warm bowl of porridge. Finally the sun’s rays peeked over the mountains and bathed us in their glorious warmth. We kitted up and broke camp, heading along the boardwalk deep into the valley. What had started as a freezing morning turned quickly into a blazingly hot day as the sun shone straight through the blue skies onto our heads and sweaty backs. We began to climb up into the south crater, and as we looked across the Whanganui plains we could see the proud slopes of Taranaki Maunga looking back at us, seemingly floating above the clouds. It was a truly beautiful sight to behold.

After crossing the south crater, we put on our sharps and had a quick refresher on self-arresting. I personally loved throwing myself down the mountain and relying on the pick of my axe to stop my slide. After that we picked a route up the flanks of the mountain and trudged slowly upwards, navigating rocks and shallow snow to the highest point of the trip, where we had outrageous 360 degree views of Taupō and surrounding volcanoes. The snowy landscapes seemed to stretch out forever. I felt I wanted to spend the rest of my life up there, exploring these huge and powerful mountains.

We zoomed down the way we came up, sliding on our bums, whoops of joy filling the crater. We experimented (unsuccessfully) with snow shovel skiing and engaged in the compulsory snowball fight to celebrate Stu’s 64th birthday. When I’m 64, if I can nail a 16-year-old in the back of the neck with a massive snowball with half the vigour and energy that Stu demonstrated that day, I will be a happy man.

After we recovered from the trauma and exhaustion of the battle we ambled back down towards the hut, the dying rays of the sun lighting up the valley with deep colours of gold and red.

We cooked up a well-deserved dinner, and enjoyed the last of the sun before the cold night set in. A few of us opted to camp on the ridge above the hut, and were rewarded for the slog up the hill with the most perfect campsite I have ever seen. Positioned above the valley, with views of the surrounding hills and, more importantly, the massive mountains looking down on our little collection of tents. We stayed up late into the night lying upon a bed of tussock, talking about nothing and everything, with the multitude of stars to keep us company.

In the morning I unzipped my tent to the bluest of skies and the best view of my life. The rest of the group joined us for breakfast on the ridge, and we spent the morning hopping around the boulders and exploring the little nooks and crannies of the ridge. Greta and Sarah were sitting on a particularly large rock when a kārearea landed just a couple of metres away from them. It spent a few minutes surveying them in silence, and left as suddenly as it had arrived.

We made our way back down to the hut, and ambled back to the van with all our gear hanging haphazardly off our packs, the sun glinting off our ice axes and the mountains behind us.

Thank you, Stu and Mr Pancha, for making this trip happen.

We’ll be back.

Party members
Fynn Marno-Simpson (scribe).

Page last modified on 2023 Dec 16 22:37

Edit - History - Recent changes - Wiki help - Search     About TTC     Contact us     About the website     Site map     email page as link -> mailto:?Subject="TTC: 2023-09-08-Tongariro"&Body=