Tararua Tramping Club

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

Trip Reports 2024-02-14-Remutaka

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Kotumu 1

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Kotumu 1
Kotumu 2

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Photo: Mike Wespel-Rose

This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper Volume 96, no 3, April 2024

Ōrongorongo River - Kotumu circuit SF

Wednesday 14th February 2024

Twelve of us from the TTC Wednesday trampers’ group took part in a slow/fit trip near the southern end of the Remutaka Range. We had obtained permission from the Ōrongorongo Station for access to the parts of the trip on their private land.

We left the carpark at the road end just after 8 a.m. and proceeded up the river via the access road that runs upstream. It was already windy and overcast.

A little over an hour later we got to Red Rock stream. A few metres past the stream we found the beginning of the marked trapping line that would lead up to the top of the Remutaka Range. Certainly a steep spur in places, the route was generally straightforward to follow. In some areas of the forest the understory had completely vanished. Was this the result of excessive grazing by goats/deer/pigs?

We passed 29 A24 traps on our climb to the ridge top. The trap line then curved around to the northeast and towards The Peak. However we now turned southish to head towards Kotumu. There was no more marked trail and the ridge top was wide and undefined but navigation was reasonable with some help from David’s phone trace. A little before the summit of Kotumu we came to a section of dense scrub and tall grass. The leader was advised to go on the western side but decided to try and bypass it on the east. We ended up having to push through dense shrubbery. And the wind in the open was now blowing robustly. Back into forest and we reached our highpoint (786 metres). We discovered a ground pipe section in the ground indicating the summit, which no-one in our group had seen before - this was a first ascent to the summit for everyone in the party.

The next section of this route is tricky. There is a massive slip on the left side of the ridge dropping 700 metres to the sea. To the right is steep bush. We descended keeping close to the slip but not too close. This slip edge makes a useful ‘handrail’. Through gaps in the trees we could see a farm hut on the farm land beyond and just 50 metres from the bush edge. However between us and the bush edge was 100 metres of superdense vegetation, seriously infested with bush lawyer and ongaonga. What fun. We zigged and zagged, pushed and dragged our way through. At one point it was necessary to walk along a narrow grassy section with the slip dropping away seriously to the left and a dense thicket of ongaonga on the right. Care required.

Then on to the farmland and up to the hut for a latish lunch (1.30 p.m.). Sitting in the hut eating our sandwiches, it was like a boat in a storm rocking and shaking with the wind-battering we were getting.

Leaving the hut we had over two hours walking now in the open along the farm road, at 700 metres for a start, to return to our cars. Interesting that there is this farmland close to Wellington at 700 metres asl.

The views to the south coast, across to Wellington and out into Cook Strait were super. And as the massive gusts came through we lurched and staggered our way along, some linking up to stay down. Challenging and energy-draining conditions. There must have been over 50 knot gusts along the ridge.

Back to the cars by 4ish, our day was a little less than eight hours.

In spite of the wind, Jim Gibbons took some great photos which you can see on the TTC Facebook page version of this report, and also to be found there are other photos from the day. Thanks to everyone for joining me on this rewarding route.

Party members
Mike Wespel-Rose (leader and scribe), Karen Baker, Jim Gibbons, Susan Guscott, Jane-Pyar Mautner, David McNabb, Peter Morton, Rob Munster, Sieny Pollard*, Sue Scott, Peter Smith, Chris Ward.

Page last modified on 2024 May 06 07:58

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