Spring Blues

 Summit rock of Chittenden with Travers range behind.

Summit rock of Chittenden with Travers range behind.

"30 years of bee keeping and this is the first time I had to feed the bees sugar through November to keep them alive", the honey man said to me as I tried unsuccessfully to buy honey. The spring has been too cold and wet for the trees to pollinate hence no food for bees and no honey for me.  That has been the nature of this spring , miserable, some sort of balancing act by nature to make up for the overly warm first 6 months of the year. The Earth's crust has also decided to do some balancing of its own with the major Earthquake in Kaikoura on the 14th of November reshaping the surface of the Northern east coast of the South Island. The bad weather and the earthquake has affected the lives of many and also my own plans this spring which involved a traverse of the Kaikoura ranges. Now it officially summer but the weather isn't cooperating - rain , wind and even another front sweeping through from the Antarctica with snow expected down to 1400 meters locally again for the weekend!

 Spring was going to be my main season this year - not much to show for it but have been up in the hills during a few of the better spells of weather. Below a photo essay of some outings during the last 6 weeks. 

Angelus ridge - on the loose rock.

 Heading up the pass between Angelus ridge on the right and Mt Angelus on the left.  Angelus ridge was days objective. It is rarely climbed and being off the beaten track, and not a particularly attractive ridge line of peaks, composed as I found out of extremely loose rotten rock.   

Heading up the pass between Angelus ridge on the right and Mt Angelus on the left.  Angelus ridge was days objective. It is rarely climbed and being off the beaten track, and not a particularly attractive ridge line of peaks, composed as I found out of extremely loose rotten rock.

 

One of the many waterfalls on the way up the Hukere valley - a lovely walk even under the leaden skies. 

 Approaching the peaks around the head of the Hukere valley.

Approaching the peaks around the head of the Hukere valley.

 Climbing high above the Col one gets a different angle on Lake Angelus which looks almost volcanic 

Climbing high above the Col one gets a different angle on Lake Angelus which looks almost volcanic 

 Steep loose rock and scree was order of day on Angelus ridge. Mount Hopeless behind.

Steep loose rock and scree was order of day on Angelus ridge. Mount Hopeless behind.

 The ridge line was wide but very broken and almost no rock was attached to any other making for very slow going.

The ridge line was wide but very broken and almost no rock was attached to any other making for very slow going.

 Although slightly lower , Mount Angelus to the West looked far more attractive than Angelus ridge ,  This Eastern face looks interesting and a project for the future maybe. 

Although slightly lower , Mount Angelus to the West looked far more attractive than Angelus ridge ,  This Eastern face looks interesting and a project for the future maybe. 

 Water falls cascade off the end of the Hukere valley

Water falls cascade off the end of the Hukere valley

 Despite the over cast and often light drizzle throughout most of the day the dull colored mountainscapes had a charm of there own.

Despite the over cast and often light drizzle throughout most of the day the dull colored mountainscapes had a charm of there own.

Arthur range

 November 30th last day of spring but still plenty of snow on the Arthur range.

November 30th last day of spring but still plenty of snow on the Arthur range.

 Going for a Gentleman's hike in the Arthur range with Bill.

Going for a Gentleman's hike in the Arthur range with Bill.

 Spring thaw makes these interesting snow and rock "crevasse's" in the Karst country on Mount Arthur - some like these you can walk through.

Spring thaw makes these interesting snow and rock "crevasse's" in the Karst country on Mount Arthur - some like these you can walk through.

 First day of summer and December and still a chance to wander in the snow. 

First day of summer and December and still a chance to wander in the snow. 

 Good trekking higher up.

Good trekking higher up.

Cotterell peak

 Jono purposefully making his way up the Hamilton river.

Jono purposefully making his way up the Hamilton river.

 The Hamilton river breaking out into wide rocky flats as we walk to the higher peaks several hours in.

The Hamilton river breaking out into wide rocky flats as we walk to the higher peaks several hours in.

 Finally leaving the river.

Finally leaving the river.

 Below Cotterell peak.

Below Cotterell peak.

 Jono prepares to attack the lower slopes.

Jono prepares to attack the lower slopes.

 Cotterell peak was a nice consistent snow climb.

Cotterell peak was a nice consistent snow climb.

 Summits getting closer!

Summits getting closer!

 Jono on top - Mount Travers behind.

Jono on top - Mount Travers behind.

 Lake Rotoiti in the distance.

Lake Rotoiti in the distance.

 Mount Travers 

Mount Travers 

 Looking along the summit ridge with Mt Hopeless to the left of Jono. Was good to have company for once!!

Looking along the summit ridge with Mt Hopeless to the left of Jono. Was good to have company for once!!

Mount Chittenden

 Jono had to head back to work but I continued up to Connors creek hut for the night and enjoyed my best nights sleep in a long while.

Jono had to head back to work but I continued up to Connors creek hut for the night and enjoyed my best nights sleep in a long while.

  While walking up the Conners creek route,you keep your eyes peeled looking for Chittenden which remains hidden until finally coming into a small grass clearing where it looms up unmistakably right in front of you. Although the track has been recut and is much easier than before nothing has been done about the mountain and it remains just as tough as it looks. 

While walking up the Conners creek route,you keep your eyes peeled looking for Chittenden which remains hidden until finally coming into a small grass clearing where it looms up unmistakably right in front of you. Although the track has been recut and is much easier than before nothing has been done about the mountain and it remains just as tough as it looks. 

   Steep tussock gives way to steeper rock which is fortunately quite firm than a snow basin which is still rising as ste  eply as anything on Cotterell the day before finally zig zagging up steep snow fields to the Top.

 Steep tussock gives way to steeper rock which is fortunately quite firm than a snow basin which is still rising as steeply as anything on Cotterell the day before finally zig zagging up steep snow fields to the Top.

 Cotterell peak now lies below me on the summit of Chittenden.

Cotterell peak now lies below me on the summit of Chittenden.

 Looking South , the impressive Mount Una in the Spenser mountains is center rear  view behind the other mountains.

Looking South , the impressive Mount Una in the Spenser mountains is center rear  view behind the other mountains.

  Spiny like the back of an ancient dinosaur the "easy" descent route over the ridge line to 2167 filled me with trepidation - was very tired I think and that eats the morale. I descended very slowly to the low point on the ridge then decided to attempt to down climb/slide into the Begley  valley, something new I

Spiny like the back of an ancient dinosaur the "easy" descent route over the ridge line to 2167 filled me with trepidation - was very tired I think and that eats the morale. I descended very slowly to the low point on the ridge then decided to attempt to down climb/slide into the Begley  valley, something new I

   It was difficult finding a route but with alot of zigzags finally hit the easier scree at the bottom and started the long hike right around the Southern side of the mountain to Conners col. Bluffs forced me ever lower which meant a fairly long but easy climb back to the col. Pretty exhausted by then and gave up any idea of doing the Chittenden 2142 double and headed straight back to Conners creek hut and the bike for a nice cool one outta of the stream. A beautiful hours ride in the twilight 30kms from the nearest other human was the end of a great 2 day outing

 It was difficult finding a route but with alot of zigzags finally hit the easier scree at the bottom and started the long hike right around the Southern side of the mountain to Conners col. Bluffs forced me ever lower which meant a fairly long but easy climb back to the col. Pretty exhausted by then and gave up any idea of doing the Chittenden 2142 double and headed straight back to Conners creek hut and the bike for a nice cool one outta of the stream. A beautiful hours ride in the twilight 30kms from the nearest other human was the end of a great 2 day outing

 Cotterell peak has risen back above me on the descent.

Cotterell peak has risen back above me on the descent.

 Some rather fine un-named peaks rise high above the Begley valley to the West.

Some rather fine un-named peaks rise high above the Begley valley to the West.

  Bluffs below 2167 to the South of Chittenden  forced me ever lower which meant a fairly long but easy climb back to the col.  A beautiful hours bike ride out in the twilight 30kms from the nearest other human was the end of a great 2 day outing,

Bluffs below 2167 to the South of Chittenden  forced me ever lower which meant a fairly long but easy climb back to the col.  A beautiful hours bike ride out in the twilight 30kms from the nearest other human was the end of a great 2 day outing,