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Trip Report – Day Trips in the South Island, NZ

By: Chris Bennetts-Cash

Source: Australia Section Newsletter

During my last trip we had astonishingly good weather and got of the mountain nearly a whole week ahead of schedule. So for a quick trip report I thought I’d mention some of the short, low-stress things we did to end our trip.

Mueller Hut

With impending weather we walked up to Mueller Hut as a morning trip. Climbing in the area is also worth considering, but it’s a destination worthy of ticking of the bucket list either way. We had a perfect morning for it so I donned what were to become my trusty mountain sandals and off we went up 423, 509 steps (or thereabouts).

Climbing at Sebastapol

After walking to Mueller Hut we spent an afternoon climbing the routes at Unwin Crag, a few hundred metres from Unwin Lodge. They’re fun climbs in a great position, and before long we’re joined by two other people staying at Unwin Lodge and start chatting (if you’re reading this: Hi Rachel and Scott!).

The following morning we sneak in a quick climb at Sebastapol Bluff “before the weather comes in” and I bail on my first climb ever, a slabby, run-out 17 in what has quickly become fairly heavy rain. I’ll never get that biner back… The climbing at Sebastapol is great though, highlights for me being the fully-bolted relaxed multipitch climbs around the classic Red Arete (14), technical slabbing at Poo Pond Crags (14-19) and Kingfisher Slabs. We retreated from the APPROACH to grey wall (and rapped off trees to get out)!

Wineries at Cromwell

What more is there to say? Hire a car, drink some pinot noir, enjoy the amazing scenery and kick back for a well-earned rest. You probably deserve it.

The Matukituki Valley

Last Summer’s walk out of Aspiring through the Matukituki Valley was awe-inspiring and Wendy is excited to see it. With a couple of days of OK weather we plan to walk into Aspiring Hut and be out two days later. As we set out from Raspberry Creek carpark (the start of the walk) we bump into Rachel and Scott, who are returning from exactly what we’d planned (not such a surprise – we’d recommended it to them before leaving Unwin Lodge).

The walk is a brilliant mix of grasslands, rainforest and alpine views, and on arriving at Aspiring Hut Donald – the warden – tells us about a new track opened in the past week that replaces the old Upper Matukituki Valley Track to the top of the valley and the Bonar Glacier. With unending rain at higher altitudes that seems an excellent way to spend a day and we become some of the first people to walk the new Upper Matukituki Valley Track.

Gorge Road Crag

A few years ago I’d talked about climbing at Gorge Rd and had been talked out of it, but it seems like a good way to get a morning climb in Queenstown. The carpark is about 2 minutes from the crag and the climbing is excellent, with a tendency toward steep but juggy schist. The following day we head to Coronet Crag and leave after three disappointing climbs – Endless slopers with nary a jug in sight!

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Posted: 06/05/16

Posted By: Narina Sutherland