Baaa! - 14/10/2016

Baaa! The (mostly) weekly newsletter from VUWTC.
Sorry for our absence the last few weeks. As the year goes on, things get hectic, tramping can become sparse, and typically, life takes us all in strange and wonderful directions. 
This week, we had our Annual General Meeting, which of course means that we celebrate a fine year of tramping, climbing, canyoning, caving, and of course, general revelry and debauchery. 
It also means we congratulate our committee on a job well done over the year, and welcome in a new committee to take us into the 2017 season. It's bittersweet for some, and for others, a cause for a great big sigh of relief. 

A big thank you to all members who attended (even if only for the pizza) and helped us elect our new committee.

All the best for your exams, holidays, and summer. Hopefully lots of trails will be broken, huts bagged, and cliffs topped out.

All the best,

Welcoming our new committee.
It's out with the old, and in with the new. Our new committee does include some old faces, but also a lot of fresh new ones, who will undoubtedly lead us through to a fantastic 2017.

First and foremost, our dear leader and President: Cécile Massiot.

Our Chief Guide and last year's Social Officer: Simon Lind.

Our Assistant Chief Guide, tramper and skier extraordinaire: Sacha Parker

Our new Secretary of Order and German-ness: long time club member Achim Gädke.

Our Co-Treasurers (embezzlement and money-laundering claims unconfirmed): New hire Justin Hurst, and old-hand Kieran Paton.

Our Climbing Officer: The always enthusiastic, and sometimes slightly lost Jordan Kendrick.

Our Conservation Officer: Tree-hugger Tariga Hunt

Our Social Officer: The amazingly energetic and passionate Sam Mythen.

Our Publicity Officers, who may need to wrest this publication from my cold dead hands (I'm drunk on wine, don't judge!): Cushla Smith and Viljami Tervo.

Our Huts Officer: Yours truly, Andrew Glover

A final special mention to our two gear custodians, who have perhaps the most demanding job of all, and often the least coveted. For the first time I can remember, we had two more than willing volunteers for this role, who showed a true passion for what it entails.

A big round of applause to Helen Howell and Abby Sucsy, both new to the club this year, but undoubtedly two ladies who will leave a lasting impression on the club.

If you need to get in touch with us for any reason, our contact details can be found on our website and Facebook page.
Dom bagged his final Tararuas hut the other week. Fantastic work!
Coming up...
We'll have a summer calendar going up in a jiffy, once we get some annoying paperwork out of the way. In the meantime, please join us for our end of year dinner, which will be held at 7pm at Oriental Kingdom, Left Bank Cuba Mall. Here we celebrate an excellent year, and ready ourselves for the next! 2016 T-shirts will be available to those who want them, $20 a piece, limited stock.

Here we also award the billy awards. For those not aware, the billy awards are exactly what they sound like. Beaten up old aluminium billies that you wear on your head, in recognition for fame (or infamy) garnered throughout the year.

The categories are:

Tramper of the Year: Awarded to the tramper who has just done the most awesome tramping, gone out a lot, and just generally been an amazing asset to the club.

Climber of the Year: As above, but for climbing.

Most Promising New Member: This goes to a new member of the club who has shown fantastic enthusiasm, commitment, and drive. Someone who we recognise will continue to make a great impact on the club going forward.

Most Geographically Embarrassed: As the name suggests, this goes to the tramper, or trampers, who have found themselves lost in the most ridiculous manner at some point in the year. The most geographically embarrassed tramper could expect themselves to get lost within 500 metres of a carpark.

Piker of the Year: This award goes to the guy (or gal) who despite all claims to the contrary (honestly, I'm coming on the trip next week) never quite makes it to the car park on the day.

Baaa! - 3/8/2016

Yeah. Sheep. Woooooo! 
Snow. Winter. Exciting!

Avalanche Awareness Evenings in August at Bivouac Stores
4 evenings across the country when you can understand the destructive power of avalanches, when and why they happen, and how you can safely have fun in the mountains and avoid danger. Read more

There is a charge of 5NZD, might be worth while.

Be safe in the snow
The VUWTC Committee

In Case You Missed It!

The meeting was called to the attention by Gandalf nodding in approval to the energetic tones of Epic Sax Guy. There was a slightly aggressive, though very needed, talk from our president about gear and correct hut etiquette followed by a much more pleasant strip tease. Also by our president. For more info about the former check out the gear section on our website (link at the bottom of the page).

Things That Happened

I went on a run. Kinda. We planned to go on a heinous suffer fest. Then we got to the road end and there was kinda a hill. Jordan still went on a heinous suffer fest but the rest of us decided to be a whole lot more relaxed about things. It was still trail running, you can tell because we didn't look at any of the views, but just without pain. After we got out from the drizzle we ate cheese toasties. It was really nice. 
Midwinter Christmas

The planned route for Midwinter Christmas involved drowning and so the plan was changed. In order to avoid the rain and the subsequent rising river a diversion was planned. Instead of heading into the Orongorongo River Valley they headed up into the VUWTC standard. With a rather relaxed couple of hour walk into Atiwhakatu Hut the eating and partying commenced. Apparently Micheal whipped up some magic with fish and there were large quantities of banngers and bacon consumed as well. We know a good time was had because they were told to shut up three times. And as we know three is the magic scientific number. Therefore it is scientific proof that an awesome (if incredibly inconsiderate) time was had.  

Coming Up this week

With a rather large portion of the our club leaders heading away on an avalanche course this weekend our only trip we have running is a day trip on either Saturday or Sunday. This will be in Zealandia which is a pretty awesome place. This is being taken by Andrew who works at Zealandia and so may be able to wrangle a discount.
Copyright © 2016 Victoria University of Wellington Tramping Club, All rights reserved.

Baaa! - 26/7/2016

Welcome back to the new semester for those who are just joining us, and those who have been back a while already, don't fret, we have some awesome trips coming your way. The semester calendar should be up and published very soon indeed, if it's not already at time of writing. We've got Midwinter Christmas going away this weekend, which is going be be awesome fun, so I hope a good number of you end up making it. I'll cut the fluff for now and get into the good stuff. 

Happy Tramping,

Things we done did...
Over the weekend, a few of our fearless leaders went on an Avalanche Awareness Course up at Mount Ruapehu, in order to make them even more fearless, even in the face of big scary things like thousands of pounds of snow tearing down a hill at them. According to Max, they were having so much fun they even forgot to take photos. A likely story, I'm sure...
Nevertheless, we now have a host of people who are just that little bit more prepared for everything the outdoors can throw at them, which is pretty awesome.
Viljami and Patrick went on an awesome midweek jaunt up to Mount Holdsworth on Wednesday night. They climbed a couple of hours up to Powell Hut from the Holdsworth car park, and got a nice relaxed start in the morning at 9:30 or so, followed by a run/jog back down to the car park and a hasty drive back to Welly, since both of them had to make it back in time for an afternoon lecture. 

Good keen men right there.
A beautiful photo from Mt Holdsworth on Thursday - There's even more snow than most of the Midwinter trips saw!!
Things we gonna get done did...
This weekend we have the very awesome Midwinter Christmas. As you may already know, this is just a rocking awesome Christmas party in the middle of winter. It's just our antipodean way of making up for having to celebrate actual Christmas in the summer, with beaches and barbecues, and long summer tramps...
Anyway, we'll be heading into the Orongorongos to Waerenga Hut, which TTC have kindly hired us for the night. Bring your fanciest feast, your favourite beverage, and your dankest memes. Cost will be $20, which will cover food, petrol, and accommodation for everyone. If you haven't yet signed up, and think this sound like your thing, click the signup link below, but make sure you do so before 11:59pm Wednesday, else you might miss out.
Dom talked briefly about AIC2, coming up in about a months time. This is a great opportunity for you to learn some winter tramping skills if it's all new to you, or to expand on your knowledge base if you're a seasoned veteran. Preliminary cost is around $50, and Dom will have a signup form on the facebook page very soon.
Wellington Walk Fest!!

Alex gave us a stunning presentation on the benefits of Wellington Walk Fest. This week everyone is headed to Miramar to see some awesome bunkers and stuff like that. I've never really been on one of these so I can't say much about the antics that go on, but I've heard that it's always pretty awesome. If you want to participate, get in touch and let us know!
Copyright © 2016 Victoria University of Wellington Tramping Club, All rights reserved.

Baaa! - 21/7/2016

I would like to offer my apologies for the  lack of our weekly newsletter of late. I would also like to assure you that all is not lost. Baaa! will continue (and the number of 'a's will remain inconsistent). When coming back from the break everything does get a bit hectic, with the majority of the committee recovering from the lengthy Midwinter trips (and some not coming back at all...) we were a little slow getting off our feet.
For those of you wondering about what trips there may be this weekend; a lot of our club leaders are going on an avalanche awareness course which means we are unable to run a trip. However with the conditions on the mountain not looking ideal there is a small chance that the course will be postponed so keep your eyes on the Facebook page on the off chance a last minute trip is organised. We will be back next week with a vengeance, in the meantime enjoy a trip report from one of our Midwinter trips. 

I am not too sure I can sign this off the way I normally do so...
Instead of on behalf of the VUWTC Committee,
Just on behalf of myself,
See you next Tuesday and maybe even at Hangdog tonight,
A kinda nice photo I took on my Midwinter trip coming down from Harman Pass

Mi(l)dwinter 2016 – Nelson Lakes

Naturally, not everything can go to plan on a midwinter trip, especially not in VUWTC. We had a late withdrawal for medical reasons, trimming us down to a sparse three-man group, and then on the day, our ferry to the South Island was delayed by three hours. Not a great start, but not the worst I’ve had either. This meant that we didn’t get to Mt Robert car park until about 5.30 in the evening. It did mean though that we got a stunning walk up to Bushline Hut under a clear, moonless sky. The stars were absolutely breath-taking, and on our many breaks on the way up the hill we caught plenty of shooting stars. Arriving at the hut at 8.30pm, we found the hut quite full already, with a family and two couples taking up a lot of the space. Harrison and I decided not to bother with dinner, while James – having packed a great deal more food than necessary – tucked in. We went over the map for the next morning, when we’d be heading to Angelus hut, since this was all new to Harrison, and then tucked in for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, we were treated to another glorious day. Clear skies and nary a breath of wind. Perfect conditions for the ridgeline. We had a pretty lax start, as we were in no rush at all. I didn’t expect the walk to take more than five hours including breaks. Probably the most startling thing to me as we made our way along Robert Ridge was the complete absence of snow, where last year it had been six inches deep or more. I wasn’t feeling confident about our chances of using our crampons at all at this point, although I was thankfully wrong in the end. All in all, it was a beautiful but pretty nondescript day. Harrison and I swapped the lead a few times, where we’d blast forward for a bit before settling down for a snack and a rest. I was definitely glad for the camelback I’d purchased a few weeks before, the rising wind left my lips chapped and a constant flow of water was exactly what they needed. In the end we reached Angelus Hut after about four and a half hours, which was bloody decent I thought. We had some good chats with a German couple, and some fantastic card games, taught by Harrison in the case of some very obscure ones. After a filling meal of couscous and salami, and a few games around the fire, we went off to bed. We were planning on hitting Sunset Saddle the next day, and wanted to get a good start.

As it was, we had to change our plan. The morning can be summarised with one word. Clag. No way in hell were we going up over the saddle in that weather. So we took the alternate route down the Cascade Track. DoC explicitly states that the track can be extremely hazardous in winter conditions. As it turns out, they weren’t joking one bit. The route was extremely icy. At one point I spent ten minutes just staring at a piece of track with six inches of ice on top, a snowy tussock slope above, and damp tussock sloping to a precipice below, before deciding the least insane route was the tussock. On top of this type of problem, the track is incredibly steep. More than once I lost my footing entirely, and I nearly lost my ice axe at one point. After about an hour, we had descended maybe 200 metres, and travelled perhaps 500 metres horizontally. I’ve seen snails move faster. Still, we got to the bottom in the end, and were all the happier for it. I’ve never been so pumped with adrenalin in my life. Once we reached the Travers River, it should have been smooth sailing all the way to John Tait Hut, our stated goal. Unfortnately, there must have been a bit of miscommunication. I, after a quick word with the guys, blitzed ahead to John Tait to set up the mountain radio, fully expecting the other two to be just a little ways behind. I arrived at 6.15pm. By 8pm, I was starting to get worried. By 10pm, I realised that James and Harrison were either at Hopeless hut, or they were dead, and either way, I couldn’t do anything about it right now, so I may as well go to sleep. Unsurprisingly, they’d gone the wrong way at the junction, and ended up at Hopeless Hut. 

The next morning, both of our temporarily separated groups got an early start. I emptied my rucksack of all but the bare necessities, and after a quick sandwich and coffee based brekkie (Harrison had the oats) I headed four and a half kilometre back down the track to the Hopeless Creek junction, where Harrison was already waiting for me. James appeared a few minutes later, and together we made the trek back to John Tait for lunch. After an extended break, we continued on to Upper Travers Hut. I honestly don’t recall how long this section took, although the posted time was three hours, and that feels about right. The constant avalanche warnings somewhat belied the complete lack of snow on the peaks above us, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to be careful, right? At Upper Travers we were greeted by a party of 11, and amazingly, a generous cuppa from the folks already well established. They were a couple of family groups with some mostly grown up children, and made very good hut buddies. At this point, I realised we could make rice pudding, and James gladly parted with some of his rice to make it happen. First time I ever made rice pudding, and I think it turned out pretty well. 8/10, would half-ass again. 

The next day was a big one. Up over Travers Saddle, and down to West Sabine Hut. The posted time was 6-10 hours, but as it turned out, it was only five. We started at 9.30am, and quickly encountered a DoC crew putting up avalanche warning signs with help from a helicopter. We tried hitching a ride a couple of times, but they didn’t bite. It only took us about an hour and a half, including the time taken to put on our crampons (yay) to reach the saddle. It was all downhill from here, quite literally. Possibly the most depressing part of the trip was being most of the way down, nearly at the bush and seeing it was only about another 2.5km to West Sabine, and thinking it would only take an hour. In reality, it took two and a half. For some reason that track is just devilishly slow. I shudder at the thought of doing the Saddle traverse in the opposite direction. Still, we made it to West Sabine before three, which gave us plenty of time to get the (absolutely amazing) fire going, and cook a hearty dinner. We mulled over whether we should go to Blue Lake, but at this stage all of us were feeling a bit run down and we had a few muscle and tendon issues we didn’t want to press, so we decided to just press on to Sabine instead.

So it came to our last actual day of tramping, though we didn’t know it yet. We had another lazy start, this time leaving at midday, since we knew very well it would be a cruisy walk down the river to Sabine. The most I can really say about this piece of track is that it’s a beautiful walk next to a river, and a very much wished that I was tubing down it instead of walking. There is however a stunning bridge over the Sabine just before the hut, where beneath it is just a beautiful deep, blue pool in the river. If it had been summer I would have jumped in, no question. We made it to Sabine in about four and a half hours in the end, and noticed immediately there was a radio to call a water taxi. After some deliberating over the cost, we decided that we’d rather that than the seven-hour slog back to the car that we otherwise would have taken. So it was that the next day we were collected from the Sabine Jetty at 10am, and zipped across the lake to Rotoroa township. From there we hitched back to the car. We were lucky enough in the end to only have to walk about 10km on the roads, just over two hours’ worth. I will say that 6km along SH6 is somewhat hair raising, but we caught a lift all the way to St Arnaud in about 15 minutes once we reached Kawatiri junction. Lucky for us.

All in all, the most luxurious midwinter trip that I’ve ever been on, and worth every cent.

Scribe – Andrew Glover

View from Angelus Hut out over the frozen Tarn
Copyright © 2016 Victoria University of Wellington Tramping Club, All rights reserved.

Baaa! - 24/5/2016

Greetings an salutations to you all. For all those too scared of geeting a little soggy to come to the meeting you sure missed out. Missed out an a pretty decent but not excessively awesome meeting. Yeah, don't you have egg all over your face huh? Any way, if you want to make up for this transgression the you can. This weekend. Because it is going to be wetter than a cow on the west coast.

Hope to see you by the fire,
The VUWTC Committee

In Case You Missed It!

As as been mentioned over the last couple meetings the entire reason for the Tramping Clubs existence is Midwinter. Midwinter is great. Unfortunately you need to go to the Better Island (formerly the Middle Island (currently the South Island))to do this, and as Dom pointed out this costs money. If you have spent all your money on alcohol, as all good students should, and are now huddling against the Southerlies with nothing more for protection than the insulated piece of plywood you call a wall because you can't afford a heater then why not huddle in the bush. At least they have huts with fires. There are all sorts of great options as alternatives to the Better Island, Taranaki (see photo below), Tongariro National Park (which has a couple of options), the Ruahines (which are gorgeous), and our own stomping grounds, the Tararuas. Believe it or not but it does stop raining in the Tararuas sometimes and you can end up with plenty of snow. So if you want to have a Midwinter on a budget then the North is open for you. Cheers Dom.

For the first time in a while we are aiming to have t-shirts before the end of the year!
There will be a button somewhere (below) linking you to the google form where you get to decide what you want the tees to look like. You have two design options, and four colour options. We will print the design option with the most votes, and two colour options with the most votes. Numbers will be according to how many people chose which. Timing-wise we will let you know closer to printing time when they will be ready. Once they are all printed we will be bringing them to meetings for you to buy. This should be at the latest in the first couple of weeks of next trimester.

Last Weekends Adventures

While the Tramping Club did go for a stroll over the weekend it wasn't hugely exciting. What was exciting is what Kieran has been up to. Kieran also likes adventuring in winter but he finds the South Island far too cheap. So instead he went to Europe. Apparently the Pyrenees are pretty cool. Instead of our small bush huts they have huge lodges with blankets and meals supplied and just general lavishness.
Unfortunately these cost about €50, fortunately they are closed in winter. I know, I know, this doesn't sound much like a 'fortunately' but it is. Because when they are closed you can sleep in small lean-tos at them for free. There were many different walks that were had. Starting, as all tramps seem to in Europe, through road tunnels and then graduating to tunnels through the sides of very sheer cliffs, and not forgetting the tunnels with signs warning about the danger of flash floods. Signs that were ignored as it had already been raining for two days. A very enjoyable trip all up and it is recommended that leave uni, get a real job, and save up money to on exciting adventures overseas before coming back and realising how great New Zealand is.

Coming Up this week

It is cold and wet and sad and no one wants to go outside except for Dom, who cant because he has to go over the ocean, and Achim who is planning a day walk. This day walk of his will probably go up on the facebook page at some point. Keep a weather eye.

For all those who were excitied about Cocktails at Kime sorry, but no.
Copyright © 2016 Victoria University of Wellington Tramping Club, All rights reserved.