Autumn Beginnings

 Brent and Jake leading the way towards the North Twin

Brent and Jake leading the way towards the North Twin

 

The Arthur range can be easily seen on a clear day from Nelson and culminates to the South in “The Twins” arguably the most impressive mountains in the Kahurangi national park and certainly the most demanding from a mountaineering standpoint. They are surrounded by some very wild and spectacular Karst country which adds to the difficulties, excitement and scenic beauty of travel thru or over the Twins. There are no walk in’s to the North Twin and only the South side of the South Twin offers any easy passage to the South Peak and even this requires fairly demanding tramping to get to the base of. Joined by adventure athletes Jake and Brent fresh off the Godzone adventure race we left the Mount Arthur car park , traversed the Twins and than descended to the Baton valley in a little under 12 hours and although the pace never seemed high the legs and body told a different story for a few days afterwards. It was my fourth year running on a "Twins" trip - only the first year I never made it underestimating the time required and having to dash to work that same evening. Its a trip that doesn't get boring or much easier- even the walk in is a quality hike and I am certainly looking forward to more time on the Twins.

Earlier in the month of March I headed up to the another of the very spectacular region's of the Kahurangi National Park-  the Mount Owen massif of the Marino mountains. It was the 5th year running in what has also become an annual trip. Each time I've started by biking the 85 km's to Courthouse flat, an extinct mining settlement and then hiking a different mountain in area . The Karst country is somewhat milder in form here than on the Twin's but spectacular none the less and each time up here I wonder why I don't come more often.

 

Looking upwards  - after leaving the car at the Baton ford and biking back to Motueka for the following days Traverse of the Twins. They are certainly looking mighty impressive rising over 1500 meters higher than the valley floor!!

 The Twins offer the best mountaineering in the Kahurangi national park - my local neighboorhood.

The Twins offer the best mountaineering in the Kahurangi national park - my local neighboorhood.

 Fortunately at this point a wire cable was provided - by whom???

Fortunately at this point a wire cable was provided - by whom???

 Highlight of trip is the Keyhole as one begins the ascent of the South Twin.

Highlight of trip is the Keyhole as one begins the ascent of the South Twin.

 the entry and exit of the keyhole, afterwards one corkscrews up onto an exposed ledge.

the entry and exit of the keyhole, afterwards one corkscrews up onto an exposed ledge.

 Jake and Brent admire the gigantic forms of the Karst landscapes that rear all around us

Jake and Brent admire the gigantic forms of the Karst landscapes that rear all around us

 one of the many exposed spots during the day

one of the many exposed spots during the day

 The way forward , up over the South Twin.

The way forward , up over the South Twin.

 I went with adventure athletes Jake and Brent, 2 very solid performers. Jake has climbed throughout the European alps and is very fluid on the rock - here he points the footholds to Brent on the final part of the South Twin climb !!

I went with adventure athletes Jake and Brent, 2 very solid performers. Jake has climbed throughout the European alps and is very fluid on the rock - here he points the footholds to Brent on the final part of the South Twin climb !!

 The final meters of the "hard " part of the day are over and now its just a walk up the final meters of the South Twin with the South Wall of  North Twin and route we had just traveled all behind us in this picture.

The final meters of the "hard " part of the day are over and now its just a walk up the final meters of the South Twin with the South Wall of  North Twin and route we had just traveled all behind us in this picture.

 Descending down the sometimes trap lined Paddy's ridge where we soon lost any sort of track . We all fell and bruised ourselves many times down that slippery bush bash but only I managed to draw some serious blood with a nice tumble at one stage. The "easy" walk out to the Baton ford turned out to be a fairly major part of the day - here is one of the last views of the Twins and the Arthur range from Paddy's ridge.

Descending down the sometimes trap lined Paddy's ridge where we soon lost any sort of track . We all fell and bruised ourselves many times down that slippery bush bash but only I managed to draw some serious blood with a nice tumble at one stage. The "easy" walk out to the Baton ford turned out to be a fairly major part of the day - here is one of the last views of the Twins and the Arthur range from Paddy's ridge.

 Courthouse flat , the site of a now vanished mining settlment and as far as the bike goes.

Courthouse flat , the site of a now vanished mining settlment and as far as the bike goes.

 Sergio and Mei were the motivating force behind this trip to Owen. Here they are in front walking through the lower sections of Karst on Mount Owen. 

Sergio and Mei were the motivating force behind this trip to Owen. Here they are in front walking through the lower sections of Karst on Mount Owen. 

 The final meters of a nice mornings walk up Mount Owen

The final meters of a nice mornings walk up Mount Owen

 Then Sergio and I tackled Mount Bell. We went directly up the West face which provided a bit of entertainment. At the top the Westerly gale was awful, it provided a good tail wind home on the bike later though.

Then Sergio and I tackled Mount Bell. We went directly up the West face which provided a bit of entertainment. At the top the Westerly gale was awful, it provided a good tail wind home on the bike later though.

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The Autumn light made for lovely views , here across to the West Coast with Mount Kendall in center picture.

 Looking South West 

Looking South West 

 North from the Top of Mount Bell

North from the Top of Mount Bell

 Looking back up Mount Bell before descending to Ghost valley 

Looking back up Mount Bell before descending to Ghost valley 

 Huge Karst wave on "Fred" the mountain beside Mount Bell

Huge Karst wave on "Fred" the mountain beside Mount Bell

 Walking out with a final look at  "Fred"

Walking out with a final look at  "Fred"