05 June, 2008

Holdsworth-Jumbo Circuit

This tramp started off as a plan for Nicola and I to visit the geocache plane wreck on Angle ridge in the Tararuas over Queen's Birthday weekend. Over the preceding week the plan grew in participant numbers and then during the first day of walking, it diminished in ambition. We left P.N. earlyish and drove through the fog over to the Wairarapa and Mt Holdsworth.

The weather on the way up to Mt Holdsworth was icy cold but very nice and sunny. It seems that on our way up Holdsworth we went straight past
another geocache even eating morning tea right at rocky lookout, right where it was hidden.

The track up to Powell hut was good all the way up with native pigeons and curious mushrooms about. Once out in the tops the wind got pretty gusty and everyone was pleased for some shelter and lunch by the time we reached Powell hut.

After lunch, the walk across the tops to Holdsworth peak gave great views over the Wairarapa and into the Tararuas. It was from here that we got our first look at Angle peak which was between us and the the plane wreck. Things looked a bit steep and icey and so, as the wind increased I started to wonder how sensible it would be to take eight people out along the narrow ridge.

Most of the tarns we passed long the way were iced over and around Holdsworth peak there were some great ice sculptures which had formed from snow thawing and freezing in the tussock. From Holdsworth peak we continued along the ridge to Jumbo hut as the wind gusted stronger and stronger, all the time with bright sunshine.

We reached a very full full Jumbo hut about 4pm and negotiated some bunks. All the people staying there were really nice about sharing the space and we had 28 people sleeping on the 20 bunks in the hut (plus two in a tent). This was quite a contrast to some of the behaviour I saw in the full huts in Nelson lakes over Easter.

The sky remained clear overnight, making for great views of the lights from the towns of the Wairarapa. Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Martinborough could each be made out as a thin strip of lights.

The weather turned during the night and the clouds we had been able to see on Saturday came over to sit on top of Angle ridge. I don't think anyone was too disappointed about heading straight back down rather than making a three hour trip in the clag and the wind.

Once we dropped below the bush line the weather was much better and we had a pretty easy and pleasant walk back down to the car in time for lunch.

We were (L.-R. in the group photo above): Katrin, Nicola, Mik, Aurelie, Helge, Nicolas, Erich (& me).

There's a Picasa album with a few more photos from the trip:

08-06 Holdsworth-Jumbo

[Edit: Picasa Webalbums seems to be more than a little broken at the moment. Hopefully it will fix itself before too long. Here's the url for the album in case that helps.

(Or bring me a blank CD and I'll burn a copy of all 300 or so photos for you if you really want.)