2016/05 May Bulletin

posted 1 May 2016, 18:31 by Wakatipu Walker   [ updated 26 Jan 2017, 00:10 ]

Mt Allen/Touhys Saddle   Sunday 10th April.   


After relocating vehicles to have one at Meg Track carpark....9 of us started off up the hill from Crown Range Saddle towards Rock Peak, then on towards Mt Allen. It was sunny yet cold enough at that altitude for us to need to wear both hat & gloves.

After morning tea stop which then Judy had to retrace her steps to find her phone !!

We carried on along the ridge, with numerous ups and down, along past Queensbury Hill, where we all found a sheltered spot out of the cold wind for lunch. There were stunning vistas in all directions. Back south to where we came from, west to Crown Peak, north to Mt Aspiring and east to Lake Dunstan in distance.


The wind got very brisk indeed at one point that most of us needed to pull up our neck buffs and cover our faces from the wind.


We continued along the ridge then had a steep descent all way to Tuohys Saddle where we hoped to have had 2nd lunch break but the wind was indeed too cold and brisk to even contemplate stopping.


On down all the way to car park at Cardrona, where we had one car and also Judy's sister met us there with her car too.

Stopped off at Cardrona Hotel for a drink around the outside fire, before heading home again.


Its always a long way across the tops for this walk.


Distance- 22.6kms,

Average moving speed 4.3km/hr

Elasped time - 6.55hrs but Moving Time was 5.15hrs.

Ascent- 935m

Descent- 1535m


Thanks to Di for all these figures from her GPS. Also thanks to Jude for organizing & leading this trip.


Trampers, Roger & Lorraine, Margaret, Jude, Judy, Lindsay, Pritt, Di and Pip (scribe and photos)

View down to Gibbston
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Greengates – Deep Creek   16th April 

Following the cancellation of the Stafford River trip due to forecast rain on the west coast, this Greengates trip was resurrected from the trip list.

First up on this trip was a visit to the hut  5 minutes up the track, where we were surprised to find it was looking “lived in” complete with a variety of alcoholic drinks in stock. The weather was good and comfortably cool as we ascended the new zig-zag track up to Greengates Saddle, where the pines and larches are running amok beyond where they have been sprayed. A gentle wander down the old track led to Greengates hut which has some new roofing, and a sign recording the Tramping Club’s work here in 1981(see archive photos later in bulletin). Next stop was the remains of the Deep Creek pub where the poplars were a wonderful colour, and then down the bank to the bottom of Deep Creek gorge. Unfortunately it was right at the bottom of this bank where Louise slipped and badly broke her ankle. We immediately set off the beacon, and moved Louise down onto a small flat area where we tried to make her as comfortable as possible. Having 2 doctors and a physio in the party helped. We were way down in the depths of a narrow gorge , and we were worried if the beacon was getting picked up and how the rescue helicopter would be able to get Louise out when there were no landing places. After a while we moved the beacon about 50 metres up the hill to the south where there was more sky visible, and Jude went further up where she fortuitously managed to get a 111 call out. It was a great relief when the helicopter arrived, and it had the winch to extract Louise. The medic was lowered, Louise splinted and winched up to the helicopter and whisked away to Invercargill hospital – the whole operation was done with amazing efficiency and precision.

It was now mid-afternoon and we had to decide whether to finish the route, or return the way we had come. The horrible thought of having another accident and beacon activation meant returning by the same route was an easy decision. So after a late lunch we made the return trip safe and sound to our vehicles in Long Gully.

We all wish Louise a good recovery, and hope eventually you can get out on more trips again in the future.

Party: Louise, Jude C, Margaret, Lois, Roger, Lorraine, Peter DLM(leader and scribe)

Footnote: While we were waiting for the helicopter, approx 4 jet aircraft flew over us as they approached the Queenstown airport – I was told later by the Rescue Coordination Centre that at least one of these planes picked up our beacon. I have included a few notes about beacon activation in this bulletin.

Remains of Deep Creek hotel – in use for 1 year(1863) before Skippers road re-aligned


Bullendale Anzac Day 25th April

After driving to Skippers, 9 of us set off up the track at 9:15am in coolish temperatures, but with a promise of sunshine. The extent of dead larch trees (from the spraying program) is incredible in it’s completeness, but you see much more views as you walk along the track around to the 1st creek crossing. The creek was cold but not too deep as we did the first of scores of crossings, and passed around the dam to the open flats above. After a couple of ups and downs we reached the site of the old Bullendale hotel about 12pm, where Lois tried out the old bed. After this, there was a gut-busting final climb up to the DOC Bullendale hut where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the sun, - a truly wonderful spot which would be good to stay a while.

After lunch, the leader tried (but failed) to find an easy way down from the hut, especially as one of the party had their right wrist in plaster. Eventually we arrived at the old Battery site where there is much old iron relics to view. As time was against us, we deferred visiting the old machine house and bakery for another day, and set off back the way we had come. Except this time we followed down the gorge all the way, which was a really enjoyable creek traverse with occasional side scrambles, and is slightly quicker. Then it was on down the river flats to the dam, where an ankle was rolled – the leader was wondering if the beacon would be needed for the second week in a row, but fixed with handy ankle brace for the final kilometre.

A quiet drive out ended a fantastic day in the hills, with 6 new converts to the charms of Bullendale.

Party: Pip, Jude, Lois, Vicky, Lindsay, Roger, Lorraine, Judy, Peter(leader and scribe)

 Photos: Lindsay(above)     Judy(below)

Important things you might not have known about Beacons 

Firstly, the owner or user of the beacon should read the manual (every year or so if you have a poor memory) – there is a lot of important information in here.

On a tramp, all party members should be told where the beacon is being carried. Also all party members should know how to activate the beacon, as the instructions written on the beacon can be in quite small print.

When setting off the beacon, place it (as much as possible) where there is a clear view of the sky, especially to the north. This is because there is a GEO(geostationary) satellite  in a fixed position high above the equator which can pick up the signal instantly if there are no obstructions from the terrain. In addition to this satellite, there are LEO(low-earth-orbiting) satellites regularly passing over your position, however there may be a delay until one passes over.

When the beacon signal is picked up, the Rescue Coordination Centre will phone the contact numbers listed in their database. So if the contact knows what the beacon user is doing, it can help their planning for the rescue.

After making the accident victim comfortable, you should prepare the site for the helicopter arrival – make yourselves visible, scout out where you think the helicopter will access the site (however the pilot will ultimately decide this), pack loose items away, and when it arrives crouch down and stay in the pilot or winchman’s field of view, ready to respond to any signals they may give you. If you are unsighted (to the rear of the chopper) do not move.

If you are leading a club trip, take the club beacon. This is because once you have set off your beacon, you need to get the battery renewed by the manufacturer, or buy a whole new beacon. I have been told some agents may service/replace the battery for free if your beacon is used for someone else’s rescue, but this is as yet uncomfirmed. More on this later in the year when the club purchases a new beacon.

Finally, as Jules Tapper told us at the last club meeting – do not hesitate to set off the beacon. Even at night the chopper can get there using night-vision equipment.


From the Archives

Every month the editor will show interesting photos from the Club’s 2 old photo albums.

This month it is relevant due to our recent visit to Greengates.

1981 – Greengates hut

A fit looking Robert and Hans (still club members today) and Graeme T (left Qtown a couple of years ago) do repairs on roof.

Iron flown in by helicopter, organized by Roma McAndrew.