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Monday, March 29, 2010

Mt Sinclair 28th March 2010 aka A Day In The Fog

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary:Tramp No. 88
Mt Sinclair 28th March 2010  aka A Day In The Fog

I don't usually bother expending all that energy and experiencing all that agony climbing a steep hill just for the hell of it. I like to have all encompassing views and lovely sunny days to inspire me to do it, but sometimes the weather gods just don't wanna play my tune.
This was another trip with the CTC. Our faithfull leader and the rest of us had been assured by the Metservice website that the Canterbury high country was going to experience a FINE day. Now it appears that their definition of fine is slightly different to mine. If they had predicted overcast with little wind, I would have accepted that, and if they had predicted low cloud shrouding the mountains, with very light snow, I would have congratulated on their pinpoint accuracy and properly have stayed at home and continued reading the latest biography of Led Zeppelin. Still it was a good day, with some interesting events to make up for the lack of views at the top.
I arranged to meet the rest of the party at the Geraldine Arundel Road bridge, over the Rangitata river. I had to leave my place by about 7:00am to get there about the same time as the others. Rushing out the door just after 7, I felt that something wasn't right with my sock in my left shoe, but ignored it as I was only driving and would be changing into my tramping boots later on. I got to the bridge in good time and setteled to wait for the others. Then I remembered my left foot and hopped out of my car to remove my shoe and adjust my sock. After removing my shoe I found my sock to be fine and so started wondering what was going on with my sneaker, I Suddenly had a thought and put my hand in my shoe to see if perhaps the inner soul had bunched up at the toe of the shoe. My finger tips suddenly touched something that didn't feel very shoe like and I quickly withdrew my hand and gave the shoe a downward knock on the towball of my car and much to my surprise a mouse fell out. After a good giggle to my self I tried to ring home on the cell phone to tell the Mrs. what had happened to that mouse the cat had brought in last night, but she didn't answer her phone. When the rest of the party arrived they thought it was hilarious and the well dead mouse was last seen hanging out a car window before being unceremoniously tossed over a fence into a paddock to await further adventures.
With promises that the weather will clear, we proceeded on the long drive up the Rangitata River to Mesopotamia Station. After checking in with the station owner or manager, we drove round to the side of Sugarloaf and prepared for our assent.
The weather was stubbornly refusing to clear and all we could see was the bottom quarter of the mountain. Our leader had a GPS reading of Lake Sinclair, our first destination, and so he pointed us in the right direction and off we went climbing up the face of Mt Sinclair through snowgrass and tussock and other shrubs and disappearing into the cloud after the first 300m or so.
After climbing about 900m in the fog and light snow we dropped down into what we hoped was the lake basin, but we couldn't see anything and started to doubt, but another check of the GPS and further descent, we suddenly stumbled upon the lake. Lunch was had fairly quickly so we didn't all freeze and we optimistically predicted that we would soon climb above the cloud into brilliant sunshine at the top. Again the weather wasn't playing our tune and we stayed in fog all the way to the top at 2065m. A quick stop at the summit, photos of not much were taken and congratulations were issued for making the summit in 3 1/2 hours, including the stop at the lake, at least the very long day the leader had been mentioning was starting to look less likely. As we came back down the same route the weather was kind enough to lift for a moment and give us a view of the lake. We got back to the cars about 4:30pm, which meant we took about 6 hours to do the trip and with the 3 hour or so drive home it looked to be that we'd be back by half seven. Not a chance. After stopping in to see the Station owner/manager again to let him know we all got out safely, we headed back down the road with the other car behind us. After several kms we stopped at a stream to get some water for one of our party and we noticed that the others weren’t behind us, so we waited, and waited, and decided this wasn't right and better go back and look for them we found them still at the Station getting a jump start from the farmer. We set off again, this time we followed them in case something else happened and sure enough after about 10km of so they started loosing power, it appeared that the alternator had gone, so we juiced them up again from our battery and had to do that a couple of times to keep them driving. By the time we got back to Arundel it was 7:30pm and getting dark, there was no way they were going to get back to town like that. FORTUNATLY yours truly had his car sitting at the bridge waiting patiently to go home and so a potential tricky situation was sorted and I didn't get home till after 10pm. Which was still earlier that our leader on his last trip to Sinclair.

 Sugarloaf, behind where we parked.

 A FINE Day.

Another Shot of Sugarloaf

Lunch at the lake

Wasn't that the Loch Ness Monster I just saw.

Is there life on Mars.
 Idiots in the mointains

This is the real top.

Hey, Theres the lake.

 Almost got to see something.

Looking down on the lake after the cloud briefly lifted on our way down.

Coming back down below the clouds.

Note: Of course the clouds did lift a bit on the way home, but not off Sinclair.

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