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Trip Report – Mt Paske, Rainbow Valley

Source: Nelson/Marlborough Section Newsletter – September 2018

After a couple of weeks delay, the stars finally aligned to provide perfect weather & stable snow conditions for this trip. From the Rainbow/Wairau confluence, we headed up the wide Rainbow River valley. Dominating the view ahead is Mt Iris, where Ben was to leave us to carry out track maintenance from nearby Rainbow Hut.

Adjacent to Iris the river narrows to a gorge & a farm track is followed through bush on the true left. Beyond this the valley opens out to a broad valley,& we got our first view of Mt Paske & the SEridge in profile. There was a good covering of snow on all the peaks from recent storms.

We reached Paske Hut early afternoon & the six bunker was already full with tents pitched nearby. Thankfully, we had all brought tents as we had had  advanced warning that eleven Nelson Tramping Club members had travelled up to the hut on Friday.

After pitching our camp nearby, & savouring a banquet of dehydrated dinners, we headed over to the hut & catch up with the other party. Having made numerous stream crossings earlier, it was good to warm the feet by the open fire.

By 5am the next morning, we departed camp & followed Paske Creek upstream. Where the bush dropped down to the creek we began angling uphill, heading for a basin above the creek waterfall. The temperature had started off cold, but it soon started warming up with the cursing emitted from our party as we struggled to make headway up the increasingly steeper slopes & dense scrub. We managed to break out of this & immediately donned crampons as we sidled open snow slopes towards the obvious saddle at the base of the SEridge.

From the saddle it was an hour and a half climb straight up the interesting ridge to the summit, gaining this by 9am.

Earlier forecasts of considerable avalanche danger on eastern slopes was borne out by the evidence of a significant slab avalanche

which had occurred on a slope south of Mt McKay. Although the avo danger had decreased, we decided to descend the ridge the way we came rather than drop off the ridge into gullies to the south that previous parties had done.

It was then back to the hut for lunch & a walk back down the valley to the cars where we rendezvoused with Ben.

Participants: Jerome Waldron (leader), Gerard Mayes, Frank Saxton, Jake Stow, Liam Sullivan & Ben Winnubst (Mt Iris track maintenance).

Posted: 04/10/18

Posted By: Narina Sutherland