Last of the summer wine

A long hot summer seems over here with constant Nor Westers now bringing Autumn rain and wind, plus of course the white stuff although only higher up at the moment. This Summer was hardly a vintage one for me so roll on the winter season! The fitness is going up in time for winter after finally managing to get in some fairly steady training. Apart from  local bike rides and runs everything else has been on top of the Arthur range the closest area higher up I can easily access. Fortunately, Mount Arthur itself is relatively large and spreads out like a star into 5 ridges of which the normal tracked route to the summit is by far the least entertaining. Once off track plenty of fun can be had on each trip exploring nooks and crannies and trying some of the more difficult gullies and ridges. The last real day of summer-like weather I headed off on a Velo mountaineering trip to the North Twin a shark tooth mountain further down range and its highest point as well. It's a trip I've had in mind for a couple of years but an early reccon showed it would be at least a 12 hour day and it always seemed if I had 12 hours to spare it would be spent elsewhere. Without doubt, 12 hours and 58 minutes later I've concluded the east face of North Twin as the hardest all around velo mountaineering half day that can be done from my house. Tough ride , long walk in , a little route finding and a very loose series of gullies and scree shelves plus some ice-polished limestone led to the summit of this little climbed peak.  I have done the North ridge  and Twins traverse before which was a pleasant climb , clean and abrupt, looking far longer and more serious than it actually was the only real difficulty being the exposure. The East face was almost the opposite , hidden , loose and no fun but there was no exposure so to speak as you were locked in narrow gullies or looking eerily out into space on the sprawling convex Karst slopes.

A weird irony arose on the trip. After parking my bike I had a spontaneous urge to do the right thing and commit myself to safety so I finally heeded the ardent advice of friend Al and stuffed my bike helmet (For the mountain climb)  in my rucksack and than proceeded to slice my left index finger open on one of its sharp plastic edges. Thus the only safety equipment I had gave me the days only injury! At least by carrying the helmet I was assured that if at some stage of the day my foot got caught in a Karst crevasse the helmet would suffice to cut it off and set me free. To be fair on helmets and Al I did eventually wear the thing on the way back down from the top!!

With Tom on the South side of Winter peak

With Tom exploring an interesting Rock gully out the back of Mt Arthur (South face)

With Linna on Winter Peak

Scree running with Britta

Leo goes potholing

Isabelle and Linna looking very satisfied returning from Mt Arthur summit. 

Early morning escort up to Mt Arthur car park by Carl and Brad before heading to the Twins.

Some hours later and the North Twin is getting closer with the convex nature of the East face limestone Karst quite evident. On the lonely ridge leading to the North Twin I was surprised to meet a couple of French Nelsonian father's who had also been on their way to the North Twin but had been unable to find a route - rather fortunately perhaps as they had their two roughly 12 year old sons with them. 

On the summit , looking south to the just as steep but slightly lower South Twin and the rest of the Kahurangi National park.

On the summit a bit jaded and only halfway thru the day with the view Northwards back along the Arthur range to Mt Arthur