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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mt Torlesse - 21st May 2011

Uncle Roddus Tramping diary:Tramp No.103
Mt Torlesse 21st May 2011

After staying home last weekend and also a couple of weeks previously because the weather forecast wasn't too conducive for a pleasant day climbing the planned mountains, I was hoping like hell for a good day for this trip to  a nearby peak which can be seen clearly from my town. This was a CTC trip and after picking up a prospective new club member form just around the corner, we met the rest of the party at Springfield, as I usually do. The day was brilliant, with hardly a cloud in the sky, as we headed up the Kowai River from the main highway about 8:30am. The sun was still well behind the mountain and the air crisp in the valley, but we soon warmed up with a brisk walk along the four wheel drive track heading up stream. We arrived at the John Hayward Memorial hut in around an hour and had a drink and snack before starting up the long ridge for our 1150M climb to the top of Torlesse. I had been on Torlesse before about 8 years ago, but got onto it from another direction and didn't have much visibility while up there. As we climbed, the wind grew stronger and much colder and at about the half way mark we were putting back on the layers of clothing we had removed lower down. At around the 1500M mark, I stopped for food and refreshments with the lead tramper 20 odd meters in front of me. As I sat down out of the wind, I heard him exclaim loudly just before I saw his backpack rolling down the hill in front of me. luckily I was able to leap down the hill and stop it just before it picked up more speed and disappeared down the valley. We ascended the last 400 odd meters a bit slower, but in sunlight and with falling wind speed and reached the top in about 4 hours from the cars.
With such a clear day, the vistas from the top were stunning, with clear views right down to Mt Cook/Aorangi, although the plains were pretty hazy. After enjoying the views and taking lots of photos, we settled down out of the wind to have lunch, after which we headed off along the tops to the east, circling round behind the hut and dropping down to the line of hills to the south of the hut. We were looking for a scree to drop back down to the river and after finally finding it also found that most of the shingle at the top part was gone but it got a lot better lower down. The scree took us back down to the kowai River just downstream from the hut and it was then just the long walk downriver back to the car.

Heading up the Kowai with Torlesse at the end

The John Hayward Memorial hut, built in 1973 for hydrology research

Looking across at Castle Hill and the Gap

Looking back down the ridge to the Hut and the Kowai River

Getting near the top

On the top looking across to Red Hill and Castle Hill. Mt Cook can be seen off in the far distance in the left of the photo

Looking across to Mt Oxford

Another shot of  the ridge we ascended, taken from the top


The Hazy Canterbury plains

Another shot of the Torlesse Range

Torlesse taken from around point 1152 above the hut, we came back down the ridge on the right.

Moss covered rocks, a small sample of the largest number I have ever seen in one area. Someone called them Vegetable Sheep

A full shot of the ridge we ascended

The scree we descended

A last shot of the mountain with the afternoon sun reflected off it.


Honora said...

Nice pics, Roddus. That climb keeps you fit, eh? It's a lot steeper than it looks in your photos I reckon.

The vegetable sheep is a kind of daisy! It's either Raoulia or Hastii spp.

Roddus said...

It sure was steep, but i have done worse. I didn't do too bad though, and not as sore afterwards as i thought I would be.

Bryce W recon they are Raoulia.

mike said...


Dying to hear all about it.

Thanks for link to your blog.

Great photos.

Lesley and Mike.

Roddus said...

Hope you and Lesley get up there yourselves someday, as you see it was worth it and the photos don't do the views justice.