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Trip Report – Hummock Peak Club Trip

By: Kyle Duckworth

Source: Southland Section Newsletter (Dec 2017)

We started ahead of the pack. Quite literally, myself and Annalise pulled up the night before to avoid the early morning struggle to make the 8am meet and had set-up camp adjacent an old historic cabin located at the base of ‘Pretty Hill’.

Morning arrives, 8am meet, we’re feeling refreshed. The ‘Southern folk’ arrive, they made it! After the group chats and some teasing comments towards Mr Humphrey’s, it was time to get to it. The start was flat (along the valley bottom), our only worry was avoiding the natural land-mines (cow poo) that littered the valley floor. Pushing up the first section of the ascent towards ‘Hummock Peak’ was a winding maze of prickly and sharp bushes, and the all too memorable ‘spear grass’, which was always true to its name (I can never seem to avoid this one!).

We kept on the South-West ridge as we made our way higher and higher, never too sure of visually identifying our end-goal and seemly finding the ‘false summits’ as our eyes wondered upwards, hoping to catch a glimpse of the summit (which never did come). We eventually found old-faithful, snow, this to some was a breath of fresh air when compared to the loose shale rock we had scrambled up below. Time to break out the Ice Axe and Crampons, away we go.

The transition from rock to snow saw also the transition from some visibility to low visibility and light, making it difficult to pick out the steepness and direction of our path, Mr Humphrey’s (now some distance behind with another member of the group) had mentioned we had to descend into a basin before we pushed for our final ascent. We spotted an opportunity to lose elevation between a small saddle allowing the group to find a route through the dense cloud and deep snow.

We began to push up from the basin onto the final slope, the angle made for perfect avalanche conditions, we quickly dug a snow pit, the snow pack was incredibly solid, this gave us confidence, we kept walking up, no hesitations. As we reached the summit, it wasn’t a case of “there it is!!!” but more like “hmmm we can’t go any higher in any other direction”… must be the summit! Success, break-out lunch.

It’s The New Zealand General Election final day, at 1824m atop Hummock Peak with two group members not yet casting their vote. For them (with little time to spare) it was a race to the valley bottom, into the car, and a drive to the nearest polling station. For the remainder, it was a gentle descent back to the car with a celebratory ‘bacon buttie’ and a pint of Speights best awaiting us at the brew house in Moss Burn.

NZAC Hummock Peak Club Trip Conclusion – Successful.

Posted: 22/03/18

Posted By: Narina Sutherland