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The volcanoes at sunset, viewed from near Rangiwahia Hut. Peter Laurenson

Chair’s report: 

Winter has arrived and it's not long before our Snowcraft courses get underway.  Alex Waterworth and his team are in the final phase of preparing to deliver the new syllabus. Courses are fully subscribed and we had to close off the waiting list.  Alex puts a great deal of time into planning and running Snowcraft.  Thank you Alex and your instructors - we are fortunate you make yourselves available. 

If you are heading up to the maunga and have a spare seat or want to fill someone else's spare seat - maybe put a post on our facebook page.  

Parking at Whakapapa may be more problematic than last winter with RAL's new parking policy.  Hopefully this isn't the case and members can take full advantage of the hut at Delta Corner.  Alternatively, TASC has an excellent lodge at Tukino and we pay club member rates.  

It's not long before we have our AGM and election of the committee.  The current committee has a strong breadth of skills and experience.  However, we always need new people coming on board to keep the committee fully staffed.  I am stepping down so a new chair is needed.  Maybe the time is right for you to join the committee in some capacity.

See you at a Section Night!
Cheers, Keith
Views from Mount Tuhau. Eva Duncan

From the editor

Thanks to Eva and Peter for photos and trip information :)

Last week we had another excellent section night with Aviette building our avalanche knowledge, we will have some more information in next months Vertigo. Thank you to everyone who was able to come along. 

Last week I had the opportunity to get involved in the Climate Response Accelerator run by Creative HQ. "The Climate Response Accelerator is a 12-week programme designed to help impact-focused entrepreneurs solve some of our planet’s most urgent challenges." It is amazing to see the passion and innovation from these entrepreneurs interested in solving our urgent climate challenges. To find out more visit

The Aotearoa Climbing Access Trust is proud to present the ACAT Birthday Bash at Hangdog Saturday July 10th 6.30pm. We have a bunch of awesome events lined up such as the Leap of Faith, the Gumboot and Glove Rally, the Dyno challenge, an Auction where you can pick yourself up some sweet new gear as well as food and spot prizes on the night.
This event is for all climbers, from crusty Trad Dads to first timers. The price of entry is $20 with all proceeds going to the Aotearoa Climbing Access Trust and will be used to ensure future access to Crags all around New Zealand. You can find out more about ACAT at
We’ll be turning the music up for this one so don’t be afraid to dress up and enjoy the best indoor climbing that Wellington has to offer while supporting an amazing cause.

Email any photos from your recent adventures, tag @nzacwellington on Instagram or share to our facebook page we love to share what members have been up to.

Do you have a blog / website where you write about your trips? I'm planning to put together a feed of members blogs to share with members. If you would like your blog to be included please reply to this newsletter with your blog / website details.


In this Vertigo
To view past Vertigo's and notices click this link 
Wet and Wind in the Rimutaka. Eva Duncan

Section News

Gear Hire

We are looking for a new gear custodian, if you would like to find out more please reply to this email.

Thank you for the replies, we hope to have this up and running soon.

No gear can be hired until we have a new gear custodian.

The Section has gear for hire: avalanche transceivers, ice axes, shovels, stakes, hammers, helmets, crampons, probes, PLBs, ice hammers (entry level). Each item costs $5 per week with the exception of PLBs – PLBs are free but require a deposit of $50 refundable on return. 

InReach for hire
We suggest that all climbing parties carry a PLB as well as the InReach. If there is demand the section will purchase another one or two. The benefit of the InReach is that you can send and receive text messages, receive weather forecasts, and send an SOS in an emergency.
The InReach comes with 3 preset messages: 1. Delayed but everything is ok; 2. Starting our trip now; 3. This is where we are. Messages received from the InReach include a link that can be used to see the location. When hiring the InReach you need to provide an email address that will receive the messages and also advise if you’d like to adjust the preset messages.
The InReach can be paired using bluetooth to a Smartphone which has the Earthmate app loaded. This makes it much easier to type in messages. We recommend that you take a powerpack to keep the device charged and also only turn the InReach on when you need to use it to save battery power.
There’s a $50 deposit for hiring the InReach and a hire charge of $20 / weekend.
Additional charges will be incurred if you request weather forecasts or
use non-preset messaging. 

Discounted PLBs offers a 5% discount to all NZAC members for NZ purchases of PLBs. Two brands are on offer - KTI SA2G and McMurdo Fast Find 220 (not always in stock). To use the discount, the coupon code on the website is NZAC05 and the owner, Peter, asks you to send a copy of your membership card to


Section nights
All scheduling is subject to Covid Level status, but at time of writing it is as below. Remember, our venue is now the Guest Room at the Southern Cross Tavern,
39 Abel Smith Street, from 6pm.

Tues July 20th, Peter Zimmer from Landsar will be sharing his experience to keep us safer in the mountains. We also have Bivouac showing off some of the new mountaineering gear.

Dates for the rest of the year
August 17th
September 21st
October 19th
November 16th

If you would like to make a presentation at a future Section night, or have a suggestion about someone else to present, please let Juergen know

Video recording of May Section night , Derek Cheng 'The Darran mountain range in Fiordland National Park is the country's most awe-inspiring destination' video link

Mapping app View Ranger demo slides 

Video recording of October Section night , Paul Maxim and Geoffroy Lamarche presenting climbing in the
European Alps, including Mont Blanc. video link

Accommodation on Mt Ruapehu
Our snowcraft courses for the past few years have been run out of the
Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club lodge on Whakapapa. We’re always
made to feel welcome and the lodge is well situated a short walk from the top of the Bruce Road. Membership to the club is extremely reasonable - $35 per year or $50 for a family membership. Members stay at the lodge for $36 a night including food. If you’re looking for somewhere to base yourself for your winter pursuits or rock-climbing over the summer months go to to find out more about joining the club.

Nelson Lake Transport New Service
Bespoke & flexible transport solutions around the Top of the South Island to and from St Arnaud. Members of FMC can make use of our FMC discounts; 10% discount offer
Trips & Transfers~Nelson Lakes and Beyond
Jennifer M 022-6154915 ( whatsApp/text.)
Ngauruhoe at sunset, viewed from the veranda of Rangiwahia Hut
Ruahine Rime
Words and pictures Peter Laurenson

There had been rain, but now a window was opening, at least on the south western end of the Ruahine Ranges. Time to enjoy some tops photography with Shaun Barnett, while giving the legs a stretch.

We arrived at the Renfrew Road end late morning, in no hurry because our intended route up Deadman’s Track, giving access to the Whanahuia tops, is gradually inclined. We also hoped that the cloud cloaking the terrain would burn off as the afternoon wore on. While that didn’t appear to be happening as we climbed, we did enjoy some great landscape photography on the rounded tops as cloud swirled, revealing glimpses of folded hillsides and stream beds bathed in warm sunlight.

Even more spectacular was a coating of rime ice. Delicate at first, but consolidating as we climbed higher, it made for a crystal landscape that glinted sunlight and tinkled as we made our way through it. By the time we reached Mangahuia at 1,583 metres, when the clouds parted the rime coating was so dense that it looked like light snow-cover on the range ahead. Neither of us had encountered so much delicate rime before. It really was beautiful, though any chance of retaining dry boots disappeared as the afternoon sun gradually melted much of it, turning the trail into a trickling stream.

The sunsets in the west, viewed from the un-named 1,635m highpoint above our campsite

After three or so hours we found a small flat picturesque tarn-scape that looked like a good bet to set up the tent, located southeast of an un-named 1,635 metre highpoint, just off the trail leading on to Triangle Hut. The weather remained undecided about whether or not to obey the clearing forecast, but that evening, as we tinkled our way up on to the highpoint, it eventually did clear and we enjoyed some lovely light, particularly as it caught the rime ice still spread out around us.

Under a clear sky it was very cold that night; and bright too, because we were illuminated by a blood moon. I made a half hearted attempt to photograph it, but in bare feet due to my boots being saturated, I didn’t last long outside the tent. I was more motivated by a calm, clear dawn, in which
the moon was still clearly in view.

A blood moon at dawn, from near the top of the 1,635m highpoint

Unfortunately Shaun woke felling a bit unwell. He’d forgotten to pack his ground mat and really felt the cold overnight. As he’d already been over my morning’s objective on a previous trip he opted to enjoy the morning sunshine while I siddled around to the next saddle containing a larger tarn (which
would make an even better bivvy site due to the line of sight to Mounts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe that it offered), then climbed easy ground up to 1,661 metre Maungamahue.

Reaching the top took me through the heaviest rime ice yet – big blobs coated the tussock, breaking and tinkling all around me as I moved up. The view was worth the effort – east to Te Hekenga and the Sawtooth Ridge, north to Mangaweka, while Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe held my eye to the northwest, and Taranaki was clearly visible in the distant west. In the south the nearby 1,635 metre highpoint dominated. On my return I discovered that the easier route is to climb that to 1,600 metres, then drop back down rather than siddle, which appeared to be the more direct option but is actually more difficult terrain.

The big view northwest form the top of Maungamahu, Sawtooth Ridge and Te Hekenga on the centre skyline

An hour or so later I was back with Shaun enjoying a brew in the sunshine, which had perked him up nicely. Our route out retraced our steps until a little north of Mangahuia, at which point another trail gradually descends west along a long broad ridge to Rangiwahia Hut (1,320m). We stayed there that night, enjoying more beautiful dusk and dawn light playing on the intricately folded landscape of the Rangitikei, lying between us and the volcanoes. Next morning involved a couple of hours of easy descent on a mostly excellent track, the highlight for me being a gracefully arched bridge high above an un-named river that joins the Mangawharariki further down.

Fastpacking  Kaimanawa Kaweka Traverse

28 hours of hiking in two days? Andy embarks on his first two-night fastpacking trip — the Kaimanawa Kaweka traverse — and documents his journey through video and GPX navigation.


When you look at the map of the North Island there is a huge wilderness area east of the desert road all the way out to Hawke’s Bay.

A few years ago I tramped a magic loop on the edge of this area up the Waipakihi river and back over Umukarikari.

The Big Sunday Run crew had done a few missions in the area and there was chatter about a trip in February. We circled a weekend in the calendar and started to plan.

I found a route in my Classic Tramping book, a gift from my father in law that inspired our Tararua SMR trip two years ago.

The classic Kaimanawa Kaweka traverse has a big block of private land in the middle of it. Thanks to the generosity of the land owners there are permits available when the hunting blocks are not being used (

We found an account of a tramping group that had done the trip and started to map out our plan.

My father in-law connected me with one of his tramping friends in Turangi to find out about possible transport options. Kevin was incredibly helpful, not only did he offer to provide transport, his son Robert had done the trip a few months earlier and was able to help with the trip planning.

After getting all the info we could, we made a plan.

We would set off from Kaimanawa Rd on Friday afternoon and if the weather was good, we would bivi next to the Rangitikei River (estimated time of seven hours). Saturday we would cover the rest of the Kaimanawas including the the island range, the high point Makorako, the river valleys of the Mangamingi and Ngaruroro and spend the night at one of the huts in the Kawekas — hopefully Te Puke to keep Sunday as manageable as possible (estimated time of 15 hours). Sunday we would head out to the road end at Makahu Saddle (estimated time of nine hours).

We had a group of four adventurers who were keen and available that weekend. Marta was keen for some more GODZone training, Al is a true explorer and loves new country, and Anthony was very excited about the route — one of his relatives had trekked it when they moved to a Hawke’s Bay School back in the olden days. I was stoked to be doing a big adventure in new country.

The weather thumbnails were looking promising as we did our final packing. Cyclone Gita was going to hold off until we finished. This was my first two-night fastpack trip and getting our gear and food right was going to be helpful for a successful trip.

I found a freeze dried back country adventure food pack and added my normal muesli bars, chocolate bars, ten Kransky sausages and lots of tailwind for my drink bottles.

We met Kevin at the Kaimanawa Rd turn off and set off up the Umukarikari Range. There were two school vans at the car park.

It was a beautiful afternoon to be on the volcanic alpine tops of the Umukarikari Range. We had views for miles. I caught my first view of the steep rocky cone shaped Makorako, the high point in the Kaimanawa Range that would dominate the horizon for the whole trip. The school group were at Waipakihi Hut — they had traveled from the far north that morning and were enjoying the last of the sun from the deck.

The climb to junction top (1600m) was one of the most awe-inspiring outdoor experiences I have ever had. The sun was setting behind Ruapehu as we climbed the lovely alpine ridge and the vastness of the area was starting to make its presence felt. Standing on the top, we looked down into the steep Rangitikei Valley. It was dark and ominous and the lights of Taupo were our last glimpse of civilisation for two days.

This was the start of the private land for which we had a permit, as well as the end of the marked track. We had a GPX provided by Robert, but he hadn’t followed this route due to hunting activities that meant his permit required he cross the Rangitikei further south. We dropped down into the valley under headlamps trying to follow the GPX path. It was rough and lots of scrub meant we were bush-bashing quickly. Soon we were stuck in a creek and bluffed out by a 10m waterfall. We got on our hands and knees and crawled through the scrub until we finally got back onto the spur, which meant we could stand up. Marta announced rule number one for the trip: if we have to crawl, we would turn back and find a better path.

Bush bashing in the dark

We continued to bush-bash down to the Rangitikei, which was hard and slow progress but we finally we got to the river. We could see a little island up the river that looked promising for bivi spots. We found a nice spot to sleep and boiled some water for a late dinner. Sitting there in the middle of nowhere after a tough few hours brought on the magnitude of the adventure we were on. Halfway into tomorrow (Saturday), we would be about as far away from civilisation as you can get in the North Island

We didn’t get much sleep, as it was cold and we were travelling light. My experiment of not bringing a sleeping bag was a failure. My bivi bag was fine for a hut but not for being outside at 1,000m. I set up my camera in the night to capture the stars and when I got the camera from the river bank, it had been moved by some animal and was sitting upright no longer facing the stars. I hope I got the shot.

We set off with the fear of more bush-bashing. The river was beautiful, so clear with blue ducks playing in a magic looking swimming hole. No time for swimming yet. We wandered down the river hoping to pick up the sign of a route where the GPX left the river. All of a sudden Al appeared at the creek we had come down last night. He had been delayed leaving town and was planning to sleep on the tops and catch us at some point this morning. It was great to see him arrive safe.

We found a cairn and to our surprise a good route out of the valley on to the island range. Today we would cover the moist alpine island range, the range with Makorako as the high point in the Kaimanawas that dominates the horizon, and the subalpine scrub areas of Mangamaire. In the heart of the area were the river valleys of the Mangamingi and Ngaruroro. We would finish the day entering the Kawekas in the beautiful beech forest with moss-edged trails and tussock-covered valleys.

Anthony spotted a red deer looking at us from the next ridge. The top section was spectacular — easier climbing than our Tararuas with nice, wide runnable ridges. We got caught in a rough patch of scrub heading down to the Mangamaire and I had to put my over trousers on to stop the leg pain from the sharp scrub. I had a nice dip in the river before we headed up the next hill. Anthony stepped on a wasp’s nest that led to a furry of Italian swear words and some sprinting to get away. A few stings later, we settled into our afternoon rhythm of crossing rivers. It was about this time I realised I had been wearing my tee shirt back to front and inside out. The brain was clearly working slowly this morning! I got to try one of my new smoothie packets, which was a real winner. (Note to self to always pack those).

We reached the lovely Tussock Hut at 6pm and pushed onto Harkness Hut. Robert had warned me about how slow this section was with river crossing after river crossing in thigh to waist deep water on slippery rocks, which was tough work. It was great to find Harkness Hut was nearly as nice as Tussock Hut. We ate and crashed. It had been a big day.

It looked like we had 24kms to cover on the last day and were getting picked up at 3pm. It ended up being 31km. Lucky we left at 7am (thanks Al). My timing estimates are often optimistic, which can be problematic.

The top sections in the western Kaweka Range are a nice mix of greywacke and alpine scrub, while the barren loose rock looks like its from another planet. In between these are the beautiful beech forest trails lined with pretty moss verges.

The only people we saw from Waipakihi Hut to the end were a dad and his sons who had helicoptered in to do some hunting. We ran lots of the ridges and had our breath taken away by the views.

There is a special feeling that comes from an adventure like this — a mountain adrenaline that makes you feel fantastic.

Huge thanks to Kevin and Robert for their help and to my fellow adventurers.

The trip took us 28 hours hiking time, including the odd quick water stop. We started Friday afternoon and finished by Sunday afternoon.

FMC thanks Andy Carruthers for his permission to reproduce this article, first published on his ‘Great Walk Adventures’ blog. 

Fast Packing the Kaimanawa Kaweka Traverse 


Member Discounts – Instruction courses
Some of NZ’s quality training providers have come on board to offer some excellent NZAC member discounts on their Instruction Courses. Support
NZAC and support local businesses,

check out the member discounts below:

Alpine Club National News

FMC News
To the south of Mangahuia (1,583m) Peter Laurenson

Coming Trips, Courses, Events

NZAC Ski Touring Meet

The NZAC Ski Touring Meet is a fun sociable weekend, and a great opportunity to get out and do some ski touring. 

The meet is based at Tukino Lodge on Mt Ruapehu and is also a chance to find like minded people of similar experience and to enjoy some spring touring adventures. 

Please note this is not a led trip, so you will need to start or join a group, and once your group leaves the lodge you will need to be able to look after yourselves.  To help keep safe, you will need to record your intentions on each day in the lodge intentions book when you arrive and leave the lodge.

Friday, 8 October 2021  1:30 pm 
Sunday, 10 October 2021  6:00 pm
Tukino Alpine Sports Club
Info pack and registration form

Snow Trips

We are planning to run Snow Trips this winter for members who have attended Snow Craft courses.
We are looking for members to help with organising these trips. If you are able to help out, please email

We plan to run these three trips
A Nelson Lakes trip Sept 24-26th (confirmed details soon)
A Tapi trip Oct (unconfirmed) 
A Tukino trip Sept 24-26th (confirmed see details below)

We are also looking for experienced leaders to lead trips, please email if you are interested.

A Tukino trip Sept 24-26th 
North island late season ice and winter meet,
$120 Tukino Lodge
Petrol costs organised per car on the weekend
Food included
18 spots available 

Options to climb at tukino, cathedral rocks, or summit peaks depending on conditions. 
This is a meet, not an instructional weekend, so participants need to have the ability to be fully self sufficient and the experience to manage themselves on the hill. 
Expressions of interest to

Trip Planning
Here is the trip planning workbook for anyone interested in planning a section trip link


Covid 19 impact
In Level 1 trips can run and scheduling new trips is possible. In Level 2, not.
With the most recent developments we are not even trying to guess what
happens next. All club actiuvity is a case of ‘watch this space’!
NZAC Central Office has provided some guidance on what’s appropriate,
including being mindful not to take risks that could require a rescue; keeping
track of who you are with on a trip (tracking); following Government
requirements regarding personal spacing, washing hands, etc.
As new trips are proposed we will brief the trip leader on protocols
appropriate at the time.
If you’re uncertain about the skill level required with any of the trips, would
like to register your interest or to find out more, email us at
Also, please contact us if you’re keen to run a trip yourself – the Committee
can help with advertising and logistics.

NZAC instruction courses
Click for more details Ice Climbing Ski Touring High Alpine Skills

The NZAC's nationally delivered winter instruction courses are now open for registrations. These courses are very popular and so early registration is advised.

Glacier Ski Course - Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park
Looking to take your skiing into the high mountains? This course is for competent backcountry skiers who are looking to ski tour on glaciated terrain. Spaces on the Glacier Ski Course are of high interest this year. Confirm your place now to not be disappointed. 

Course dates are Wednesday 8th to Sunday 12th September and Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 September. 


Save the Date - FMC’s 90th Anniversary

29 - 31 October 2021, Queenstown 

The Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ warmly invite you to celebrate our 90th Anniversary, with a weekend of activities, discussions and debates.

Our event is the weekend after Labour Weekend, so it is the perfect opportunity to take some leave, go on an adventure down south and then join us for our celebration!

During Friday and Saturday evenings, join us for Taonga Lands and Waters: Conservation and Recreation for the Future.  Experts in conservation law, ecology, Maori issues, recreation, and wild rivers will present and debate.  Politicians will present their perspectives on priorities for conservation legislation’s future. Respected outdoors people will discuss sustainable recreation, alongside inspiring presentations from the young rising stars of our outdoor community.

Prior to the evenings' activities, local FMC clubs will be organising day and half-day tramps, paddles, climbs and visits to some of the nearby recreation opportunities. A chance to mix and mingle with other like-minded folk from around NZ, whilst enjoying Queenstown’s backyard and discussing the future of conservation and recreation.

Watch for reminders and announcements via our Backcountry magazine, monthly newsletter and social media channels. 

A morning view across crystaline rime to the volvanoes, from the top of Maungamahue (1,661m) Peter Laurenson

Section Contacts

Powered by volunteers
We’re always thankful for volunteers and members stepping forward to help the section run smoothly. A lot goes on to keep our club going, virtually all powered by volunteers.
On the back page is our ‘Club on a page’ summary. It gives an at a glance description of all the things we do, how and why. Feel free to print a copy and pass it on to anyone who might be interested in becoming a member or volunteer. And if you’d like to learn more about how you could get involved, please email us at

Role Name Contact

Acting Chair,
Keith Munro 
Treasurer  Eva Duncan 

Keith Munro 

Gear custodian

Trip coordinator 
Adam Power 
Vertigo   Andy Carruthers 
Section nights  Juergen Oesterle 
Banff  Emma Hayward 
Photo comp   Guy Dubuis 
Social media   Sam Brown  
Patron  John Nankervis  
General Committee Carolyn OShaughnessy
Richard Graham
Stephen Hunt
Peter Laurenson

Getting to know the members

Here are a few questions to answer and share with the club, email your answers for future newsletters.

Adam Power,
 Trip coordinator, Member
Who is your hero? 
I have many people I have looked u to over the years in the climbing community, Bonnington, Doug Scott, Dougal Haston, Johny Dawes, John Dunne, Catherine Destivelle and many many more. But hero wise, my Grandad, he was a former Japanese POW and endured some real hardships during war time. He survived and was a great example to me of hard work, patience and love.

What is your biggest fear?
Missing out on all life has to offer.

What is your favourite mountain?
Alpamayo in Peru was special to me as Id wanted to climb there for a long time. Pumori in Nepal really sparks my interest and I'd love to climb it.

What really makes you angry?
My Son missing the toilet and peeing on the floor *daily occurrence!!!

What motivates you to spend time in the mountains?
Isolation, experience an adventure, fairly standard I guess,

What is your proudest accomplishment?
My kids

What is your favourite book to read?
I can pour over guide books for hours and hours, but when Im in the mountains I love to immerse myself in reading something completely unrelated to climbing, I really like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and my favourite of his is 100 years of solitude. 

What makes you laugh the most?
anything childish, toilet humour.

What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
Took the kids to see a musical called 'in the heights'. It has a predominantly Latino cast, my wife is Colombian and we enjoyed a lot of the cultural references in the film.


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