Mount Ngaurahoe Trip
September was the month of Ngauruhoe. On the evening of Friday 11th, Simon, Kent and myself met at the Mangatepopo Hut. We had played with ideas of going up Ngauruhoe over night, on Sunday morning, on Saturday early morning… I have seldom seen the weather report changing that often. However, we finally agreed on starting our approach Saturday at 9am, which (so our hope) should provide us with nice weather and great view once we arrived at the top.
Saturday, 9:00am. The weather was extremely cloudy, as expected. Full of positive expectations, we started. I have to admit, around 11:00am I started losing my confidence. It rather looked like getting more and more cloudy instead of getting better. But of course, five minutes after I vocalised my concern, the clouds started fading and the sun came out. What a great feeling! What a great view!
Unfortunately, the ridge we used for our approach suddenly ended and we found ourselves looking at a big field of extremely dodgy snow on ice. The avalanche warning for the day was set to “considerable” – and so, after a long stare at the top (only about 100m away) we turned around. Simon returned to the hut on a very scenic route via the Tongariro summit, while Kent and I took the shortest route back – Kent due to time limitations, myself more due to fitness limitations. Two weeks later, we tried again. This time, Kent, Bernie, Robert and myself met at Mangatepopo Hut on Saturday evening. Nick joined us in the morning. Simon said he might meet us at the top. We started at 7:30am. Five minutes later, Simon joined us (running – and I’m pretty sure not just since 30 seconds) only to start leading the group – and if I remember correctly to be the first at the top. The weather was absolutely amazing. The snow was slush, but stable. At noon, the last group including myself) made it to the top. We finally stood at the top of Ngauruhoe!
These two weekends were very enjoyable. Although most of us had not met before, we instantly formed a great community of people who love the outdoors, the mountains, and climbing them for the best reason in the world: because they are there. Our fitness levels were quite different (with Simon the Machine at one end and myself on the other) but that did not matter at all. We all had a great time. I am planning to organise more of these trips (some in the snow, but I’m also thinking about summer trips). Mark Smith is planning to organise some rock climbing trips. I think it would be fantastic if we as the Alpine Club could do more of these trips together.
Posted By: Sefton Priestley