Mt Owen 26-28 March – Group A trip report
I’ve been wanting to do a nice relaxed 3 day trip up to Granity Pass and Mt Owen for several years. Last year’s attempt was cancelled due to it being the first weekend of lockdown, so I rescheduled the trip for the last weekend of February this year – the most reliable time for good weather right? However, the forecast was all over the place, a completely different story depending which hour you looked at it, and we nearly cancelled the trip again. Good thing we didn’t as we definitely got the most optimistic version of the range of forecasts!
We set off on Friday morning along with Andrea’s intrepid Mt Bell group – a total of 9 people. After a very civilised morning tea at Mike’s place, and a drama-free crossing of the Dart Ford, we were on our way. We headed up the ridge track in very sweaty humid weather, with glimpses out to the impressive rocky peaks. After picking our way down the Devil’s Staircase, we arrived at Granity Pass Hut about 4pm. Great spot, stunning views. We shared the hut with one other person – a Swedish backpacker who had stuck it out since before lockdown.
Saturday morning dawned reasonably clear, and we headed off along the clear ground trail towards Mt Owen. After a short while Group B branched off towards Mt Bell. The rest of us continued on through the karst formations, picking our way around a few tricky bits, to arrive at the summit for a very early lunch. There were clouds blocking the distant views, but we got a good view of the closer surroundings, including the 4 tiny dots of the other group on the Mt Bell summit, before the clouds started swirling in. Well worth the effort. We got back to the hut mid-afternoon, with plenty of time for chilling, or going for short walks.
It was a bit claggier on Sunday. Andrea and Chris had managed to persuade my entire group to follow them out over Billy’s Knob, enticing us with the promise that we would avoid the Devil’s Staircase and walking in the stream bed. Instead we got a strenuous climb up a steep hill though myriad Spaniards! We arrived at the base of the grey imposing mound of Billy’s Knob, which was fortunately much less intimidating than it looked. Sadly no views from the top as the clag had well and truly come in. After a steep descent back to the track, we continued back to the car via the Blue Creek route which was very steep and slippery. Some made a short detour to the Resurgence which was well worth a look. The rain held off until we were almost back at the cars. Back to Mike’s for afternoon tea before heading home to soak our Spaniard cuts. A fun varied weekend with great scenery and great company, thanks everyone!
Group A: Michele (leader and scribe of this report), Peter, Richard, Leah, Christine.
Group B: Andrea (leader ), Chris, Mike, Rob.
- Trip Grade: Fit
- Trip Duration: Extended Trip
- Trip Area: Kahurangi National Park