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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mount Alexander 13-14th March 2010

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary:Tramp No.87
Mount Alexander 13-14th March 2010

Here is my report of my latest exciting adventure in the mountains of the South Island of New Zealand. This was another trip run by the Christchurch Tramping Club and I jumped at the chance to do this one as it was on my list to do because it is one of the trips written up in Nick Groves "South Island Weekend Tramps" and all the tramps I have done in that book have been real fab. The last trip to Mt Owen is also in that book.
Mt Alaxander is a very rocky peak of 1958m over looking the Taramakau River near Atkins corner on the West Coast. The forcast was for southwesterly winds about the tops, so it was looking good to go, as southwest usually means clear on the west coast. We tackeled the mountain from the norwest side, starting up the track beside Camp Creek just off the Lake Brunner Road. We left about 10:30am on the Saturday and headed up the gentle incline on the true right of Camp Creek. The first 2 hours of this walk is through lovely west coast forrest, with plenty of Punga ferns amongst a large variety of small trees and shrubs and the occasional large beech tree. Some rock hopping is also encountered up creek beds and a sidle above Camp Creek before dropping back down to cross the creek just below Camp Creek Hut.
After we leaft Camp Creek hut, we cross a small stream and then start on a very steep 650m climb up to the bush line. The forrest here was just awesome, quite diffrent than what we had encountered earlier and as we got higher the trees got smaller and much more twisted and warped. The track was covered, in places by a fine red carpet of Rata needles. As we got past the tree line and into the scrub the track steepened and although it was easy enough to follow, it was a bit overgrown, but this was good because we had to use the plants to help pull us up as we climbed. At around 1300m the track turns into a poled route through the tussock and grass and the many rock formations present. The tops were, at this time, covered in a light mist, so visablilty was limited as we tried to find out way to point 1328, where we camped for the night at the end of the tarns. A feast was had that night as some of the blokes had brought desert, and one totally dedicated young fella wipped half a bottle of cream with a small wisk, to have with the strawberrys and chocolate mousse, and seeing as they had more than they could eat, I bravely offered my assistance to help consume what they couldn't. After dinner and clean up, the fog rolled in and the tempreture dropped sharply and so, even though it was still daylight, an early night was had, especially as Sunday was to be a quite long day.
Sunday morning dawned fine and clear as predicted, the wind stayed light and so it was looking like a promising day. The idea someone had of breaking camp by 7:00am went out the window as most of us didn't rise till nearly 7 or just after and so it wasn't untill about 8:30 that we finally left the tarn and headed up the hill on the way to the summit of Mt Alexander. After meandering through the rocky tops for about half an hour, we reconnected with the poled route, and lightened our packs of our tents, sleeping gear and other unnessary items, before heading on up to point 1795. The travel along the top between point 1795 and Mt Alexander itself was quite a challange. It involved much rock hopping, some rock climbing and scrambling as well as a few nerves. Much of this part of the mountain was shattered shist and much of the rock resembled petrified trees to me. We made the Summit just after lunch and had a leasurely lunch amongst the rocks with the magnificent views all around us.
All that was left now was to scramble back the way we came and then desend the killer ridge we came up  and back to the cars,which we did in about 5 hours. all up the day took about 9 hours.
A truly Magnificent trip and another must do for any local trampers.
The gentle start of the track.

A bit of bolder hopping, but we never had to get wet feet the entire weekend.

Camp Creek

Me by a side stream

Some plants

More rock hopping

This is where we cross Camp Creek before going up to the hut

Glad I'm not the milkman on this side of the island

Camp Creek Hut

We were tempted to stay here.

One of the coolest huts I have seen

The forrest changes quite dramatically after the hut

The carpet of rata needles

And the twisted trees

The steep ridge we climbed above the tree line

The poled route

Nearing the tops

Our destination for the night

Tarn camp

The next day looking back at our camp site

Looking back towards our camp before we head up to point 1795

Asending point 1795

Point 1795

Mt Alaxander, our destination.

Looking down to crooked river

The Shatteres shist rocks along the ridge.

Still a way to go but fun to be had.

looking back to point 1795.

My god, did i just walk along that

Me at the the top of the world.

A lunch break before heading back down.

Our friend the Weka.


Honora said...

Really enjoyed your photos, Roddus. Been there three times. You'll have to come back and have a bath! We stayed in the hut last winter.

Roddus said...

Yes, Honora, the bath looked very tempting. could take a roast and cook it in the old coal range.

Bryce said...

Looks like an awesome trip Im very jealous but as you know Im obssessed by Salmon at the moment !

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great trip. Is that ridge near the summit as narrow as it looks in your photos? Looks like its a long way to fall! I want to start doing alot of tramping and camping out on mountains. Is this one a fairly good one to start with? I always look at that peak and say Id love to climb to it.

Roddus said...

Yes, it was a bit of a sharp ridge, but i don't remember it being a problem, the one we did last weekend was worse, but i love that sort of stuff. some people struggle with that sort of terrain, even some of the most experienced trampers i have tramped with.
I you are new to tramping I would suggest going out with a club or some more experiencec friends especially before doing something like Mt Alexander.

connar ross said...

i did this a mouth ago got two chomis was a grat trip