In the last week of August 2017 Kevin Canning came from Canada for a quick look around and a bit of skiing in NZ. Unfortunately, he arrived but his bags didn’t, al least not the first day, so we had a day hanging around town waiting for bags to arrive and explored Arrowtown and went gold panning.
The only way Kevin was getting any gold out of Arrowtown was to steal it.
Chasing the tail of the weather window, on 24-26 August I went up the Macauley Valley north of Lake Tekapo. This was the first real 4wd action either of us had done and there was lots of this looks scary – errrrr….. gun it as we made our ways across the river (many times).
The gun it mentality eventually got us in trouble as we were hesitant to truly drive straight up the river, we tried to shortcut on some pretty stout crusty snow and found the weak spot after about a 150m and only 50m from the river again.
After spending two hours getting unstuck from the snow, we made it to back to the river and decided that we didn’t want to get even more stuck further up the valley, so we got ready, packed our bags and set off for the last 8km to the hut.
Kevin had all the cold stuffs for our food strapped onto the back of his backpack. On the last few hundred metres to the hut climbed up an old moraine wall we discovered that Kevin’s dangling ski crampons had made short work of the supermarket plastic bag and cellophane wrapping for our chicken breast for dinner and the bird had flown the coup. Thankfully we brought an emergency meal that we could incorporate to have an acceptable dinner.
We enjoyed great weather on the 24th on our walk to the hut but the next day, the 25th the weather started to deteriorate throughout the day as we made our way up our intended target of summiting Mt Sibbald. As we approached the col at the Upper Tindell stream the winds really kicked in and we had to stop walking to brace ourselves against the win at increasing intervals. It was pretty obvious, if it was this windy on the lee side of the mountain, as soon as we crested the col we would be blown off the ridge so we made a decision to have the best skiing we could around upper Tindell stream and retreat back to the hut.
That night, we were surprised by the appearance of about six 4wds, the canterbury 4wd club had arrived and obviously had more experience and gusto in driving up the river than us! We got some good tips and an easy lift back to our car the next day and a convoy and some tips on the way back to Lake Tekapo. This let us avoid walking the 8kms back to our car in the drizzle that had developed. Thanks clubbies!
Total climbing: 3534 m
Total descent: -3377 m
Total Time: 03:25:42