Trip Report – Unwin Christmas Meet
By: Andrew Barrett
Source: Canterbury / Westland Section Newsletter (February 2017)
Although a smaller turnout than the last meet, the 8 of us attending had a fantastic time. Six of us opted for a trip up Mt Edgar Thompson on the Saturday, with Graham and Jude enjoying the walk up Sebastopol. We enjoyed some good food at the Old Mountaineers Café on the Saturday night – despite some members of the group being rather jaded from the day’s activities. On Sunday, most people opted for climbing in the sun at Sebastopol Bluffs and enjoying the scenery.
The trip report below was written by Matt Aldridge regarding the Mt Edgar Thompson day trip on the Saturday.
After discussing possible options for a day trip on Saturday we settled on the east ridge of Edgar Thomson, whilst being serenaded by the Fairlie Flukes. The rest of the evening consisted of a meet and greet whilst Andy tried to supplement his meagre supply of gear, having left most of it in Christchurch.
The 5am alarm didn’t see much action for the first ten minutes but the team dragged themselves out of bed and set off up Hoophorn stream an hour later. Walking poles were graciously shared to aid in a couple of river crossings (many thanks to Tim, Jenny, and Alan) before the real work began. We walked up the 2nd gut on the left towards the saddle west of Mount Hodgkinson and exited it far too late (many apologies).
A quick break on the saddle to celebrate half the vertical gain, and then it was easy going up the ridge with fantastic views of Cook to the North and Pukaki to the South. The alpine shrub eventually gave out to what unfortunately turned out to be soft snow. Progress remained steady with Andy kicking steps as frantically as he had searched for gear the previous night.
Soft snow on steepening slopes wasn’t a pleasant prospect and caused two members of the group to retire, with the rest of us plodding slowly on. We pushed on up some soft snow slopes, gained the ridge and walked the last 20 minutes to the summit. After a brief photoshoot on the summit we had time for a quick feed, then donned jackets against the stiffening breeze and began our descent. Impressive bum-slides were observed of both Tim and Jenny as they appeared to slide down the mountain side in an armchair of snow. The going was quick and we were back at the saddle within an hour. A much easier route down the tussock was spotted and the descent down to Hoophorn stream was swift.
Andy’s refusal to cross the river on the walk out resulted in some dangling from matagouri branches, but we eventually caught back up to Tim and Jenny. Shortly after we were back at the cars and minutes later enjoying a much needed shower at Unwin where we were reunited with Flo and Alan.
A very enjoyable trip, thanks to all involved and Andy for organising the meet.
Posted By: Narina Sutherland