|Joining the CTC|
|About the CTC|
The trip got off to a wondrous start, as we hurtled through the Christchurch mist out into the clarity of the pristine Southern Alps, somewhat apprehensive however, due to the inclement weather forecast. But as Sheffield went by and Springfield approached, the glistening peak of Torlesse emerged, almost glittering in the moonlight, beckoning, even begging to be climbed. Given that certain members of the party had been disappointed by the elusive peak in bygone days, it was almost impossible to resist. After a relatively uneventful but incredibly scenic evening we found ourselves back in the club hut at about 0300.
Sure enough, the next morning the weather had packed the proverbial sad, leaving little prospect of any worthwhile excursions, except for a small session up to Punchbowl Falls, and a somewhat larger session of playing the ancient but venerable game of Scum. All members eventually circulated from Scum to President, but tribute was paid to our worthy leader by ensuring that he won the last round.
Finally, on the Saturday, the elements coalesced to form a near perfect day, and we were off at the crack of dawn (eight o'clock anyway). The first leg of our adventure was to cross the Waimakariri (Gosh! to the uninitiated it was a tad chilly) and onto the Anti Crow hut, where we met an old hunter who seemed to have spent his entire life there. A brief break there and then off on a boulder bash up the Anti Crow river, until the inevitable happened, we had to start climbing up the mountain. Yes folks, actually start climbing. Hard, I know, but you get that on the big jobs.
Having got most of the way up the mountain, a late lunch was leisurely consumed, and we were off again. Our next pause was when we got to the snow, where Emma and the scribe were given a brief but competent two minute crash course in ice-axe self arrest techniques (without the crash). Then onto the white stuff. This was really quite straight forward as a wonderful staircase was provided all the way to the top of the Col and down again. Stu' and Flo' would probably have us believe that they had something to do with its creation, but that remains to be seen. The one thing that was a smidgen disturbing on the way up, was this whitish cloud coming and going on the ridge, except that it wasn't a cloud per se, but snow drift. This became evident when we reached the ridge and became part of it. The wind was certainly a hindrance to the lesser experienced of the party (the scribe at least) who cowered in fear of being blown off the mountain by the stronger gusts. Having got off the steeper snow, the going got a little easier for a while until we discovered the joys of unstable moraine traversal. Shortly thereafter the sun re-aquainted itself with the horizon and then we discovered the joys of unstable moraine traversal in the dark. Eventually we reached the bush and by either Divine Providence or good navigation or both, the Avoca Hut was found. After at least twelve hours since we set off, to say that the hut was a welcome sight, would be an understatement. A fine tasting meal was had indeed, with much hunger as the best condiment of all.
The scribe wasn't at all sure he would manage to get out of his bed, much less get back over the Jordan Saddle, but this he did along with the rest of the party. Even Flo' had no trouble, in spite of our best efforts to slow her down before we left. (LESSON--When using aluminium pot grippers always use the wire billy handle as well, especially when the billy has a low profile rim. Boiling water scalds.). The trip up the Galilee to Jordan Saddle was relatively straightforward, and mercifully quick in coming. After another leisurely lunch we were off down the Jordan River. A billion boulder bounces later we were onto Turkey Flat, and to some rather welcoming cars.