Seven Club members left at 7am in 2 cars on Sunday 26th July from Richmond. The group arrived at the Rainbow ski-field car park 2 hours later. 2 additional passengers (hitchhikers) were picked up en route to the skifield. A beautiful clear and crisp winter morning greeted us with hardly any wind and not a single cloud to be seen, but temperature was well below 0°C.
We started the walk shortly after 9am, equipped with crampons and ice-axes, Chris leading the way. The snow was mainly powder and not very deep, so we quickly removed the crampons for an easier walk. After a few minutes up, we started to heat up and removed jackets and jumpers.
We put crampons back on as we reached the base of Mt McRae, after a 1h10min walk. The snow became compact and hard, perfect to reach the top (1878m) where we were rewarded by the glittering of Lake Rotoiti under the sun, and an amazing view of the snowy tops of Mt Owen, St Arnaud, Travers and Raglan ranges. We followed the ridge line which required a mix of rock climbing, as well as walking in both hard snow and deep snow powder, slowing us down dramatically.
We arrived at the saddle at 11:30am (3.3 km from start) for an early lunch and decided to stop there and not go any further, saving Peanter Peak for another day.
On our way back, Debbie, Kath and Jack practiced some self-arrest on softer snow whilst Chris, Dave, Clare and Oliver kept going on the ridge towards “West Bawl” and walked down the “Walking access 6-1”. We all arrived at the cars around. 2:30pm. After making ourselves comfortable with dry sock and dry shoes, we went for a well-deserved warm beverage at the Café. We departed the car park at 3pm, arriving back at our respective cars in Richmond 2 hours later. We fare welled each other having enjoyed another fantastic trip with the NTC.
Debbie (TL), Chris, Kath, Clare, Jack, David and Oliver (scribe)
- Trip Grade: Fit
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Trip Area: Nelson Lakes National Park