Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No.51
Mount Taranaki - 28th December 2004
Mrs Roddus and Myself went on a holiday up this way over Christmas and new year and I had never had the opportunity to do any tramping in the North Island and seeing as we were staying in New Plymouth I was very keen to have a crack at The Mount although I had been warned by my mate Bruce that the weather is very fickle on The Mount and I would be very lucky to get a clear day.
We arrived in New Plymouth late afternoon on the previous day and went straight to the DOC office to check on the weather conditions for the following day. The forecast was for heavy rain through most of the day. The day we arrived the weather had been very pleasant and warm and there was no sign of any approaching rain. I decided to be prepared and got myself ready after dinner for a possible days climbing on the morrow. I got up at 5:00AM to check what the weather was doing and found a clear day greeted me, so off I went.
Drove to the North Egmont visitor center and parked up, already at an altitude of 952M, so only had another 1500 odd meters left to climb. Was on the track by 7:00AM following the four wheel drive track up to the Tahurangi lodge, where I stopped for a rest and second breakfast. Then continued up a gully and then some wooden steeps before continuing up the main ridge following the marker poles. I saw another tramper ahead of me heading up on the snow just to the left of the ridge and when I got to the point where he left the ridge, I decided to do the same as the ridge was quite hard going as the ground was soft and crumbling. While putting on my crampons, my camera, in its bag, rolled out of my pack and tumbled 200 odd meters down the snow, where I saw it come to rest. I couldn't be bothered going back down to get it and as I knew exactly where it was decided to retrieve it on the way back.
I continued up the snow and then the poled route swung to the left following the ridge, but it was very hard ice and I really had to dig my crampons in to get a grip. I saw where the other tramper had gone before me on the softer snow and decided to follow his route. It was very steep up this close to the top and I soon found that this probably wasn't quite the correct route to take as I found myself having to climb a sharp ledge with my iceaxe, which was fun but not quite the way to do it with only one iceaxe. I then saw the other tramper coming out in the gut below me, where I should have been and looking up at me probably thing why did I follow his route. Any how, I dropped back down into the main crater and had lunch and enjoyed the hazy views.
My diary is a bit vague about what I did next as it says I dropped off the West Ridge, which probably means I dropped off the East Ridge as the West Ridge would take me away to the other side of the mountain. Anyway, what ever I did, I eventually crossed the pole route and then proceeded to Bumslide down the snow back to my camera. I got back to the Car about 1:30PM, in 6 and 1/2 hours just in time to watch the clouds quickly form around the summit.