Sunday 14 August 2022
The Pohokura suggested Middle Stream or Armstrong Saddle as destinations for this tramp. The
choice was to be based on the weather; with snow on the Ruahine Range it was decided that we’d
try for a snow craft event on the Armstrong Saddle. A party of 14 left Te Aute Road; 10 in the van
and the Blake family in their car. We were to pick up Paula at the yellow bus on the corner of
Poukawa Road and SH2. At Waipawa Peter took us up the Tikokino Road, which is on the true left side of the Waipawa River, veering onto Makaroro Road which crosses SH50 before joining Wakarara Road. As we approached the Ruahine Range we saw that the snow was not as thick as hoped for.
With the lack of snow, it was decided that, crampons would not be needed but it might be of value
to take ice axes; thus began the first bit of snow craft education; how to attach an ice axe to a pack.
Triplex Hut was to be visited on the return trip so the group split into two parties. The faster party
would aim for crossing the Armstrong Saddle. Five club members crossed the Armstrong Saddle braving the chilling wind ascending from the valley below combined with the snow-capped mountains. With 2 ice axes between us we were hoping for some snow related skills. The snow was scarce so instead we marvelled at the views as far as Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe in the west and Hawkes Bay to the east. The track was sheltered from the wind in places but also a little treacherous with ice patches in the shade. The tarn was a great example of how cold it was above Sunrise hut. It was iced over and looked spectacular surrounded by the golden mountain flora.
Once at Sunrise Hut the remaining group found a sheltered spot on the eastern side veranda to have
lunch. There was a smattering a snow around the hut; enough for a few snowballs to be made and
thrown. A mobile snowman was made by Kerri; as after photographing this I did not see it again I am sure
that it became a missile for the orange clad yeti. The Armstrong Saddle Group returned to the hut and after a few more photos from the ‘knob’behind the hut, we regrouped and started the descent to the car park with a deviation into Triplex Hut.
Triplex Hut is a standard $5 per night hut in which it is now required to book a bunk on line. The track is holding up well after its 2021 upgrade; there is little evidence of pooling of water and therefore the accumulation of mud. Some would say that it has been over manicured.
Party: Peter B, Simon W, Nic W, Brent H, Janice L, Glenda H, Carole C, Paula K, Des S, Anne D and Anne, Kerri, Teresa and David B.