Who we are and what we do
Alpine Sports Club was founded in 1929. Before that, a group of people associated with the University of Auckland went walking together under the name of the Sundown Strollers. Alpine Sports Club was set up to cater for a wide range of mountain and outdoor interests including tramping, mountaineering, skiing, camping, caving, canoeing and outdoor recreation. Since its inception, Alpine Sports Clubs has grown to be the second largest tramping and skiing club in the country with over 500 members.
Alpine Sports Club owns two lodges on Mt Ruapehu with a total of 56 beds and a newly refurbished bush hut in the Waitakere ranges to the west of Auckland. Members can use the huts using a booking system. Food and all amenities are provided in the Ruapehu Huts. The smaller Ruapehu Hut and the Waitakere bush hut are available for hire to outside groups on some weekends during the year when there are no scheduled club activities using them.
The club meets every first Tuesday of the month at the St Marks Church Parish Hall, 5 St Marks Road, (see meetings page for details and a location map). Meetings start at 8:00 pm and include a wide variety of interesting presentations including recent club trips, members antics from all over the world, guest speakers talking about related outdoor interest topics and expeditions as well as ski and equipment purchase nights and information about club activities. The club evenings are a social occasion and a great opportunity to renew friendships and make new ones or to meet leaders and members of proposed expeditions. Tea and biscuits are usually served after the talk.
Alpine Sports Club has a vigorous program of activities including day and overnight tramping trips, longer expeditions, skiing and ski instruction, alpine instruction and bushcraft instruction courses as well as a variety of outdoor activities including caving, canoeing, rambling, skin diving and mountain biking. Members are encouraged to support the many working parties the club organises to maintain and stock the club huts. There is a vigorous veterans and midis group and a family camping group who have often reached more than 200 people in total camping together in a remote location over Christmas and long weekends.
Alpine Sports Club caters for all age groups from teenage years, young and middle aged singles, family groups and veterans. There is a very strong participation by women on trips and in club activities. Alpine Sports Club has a wide range of experience and maturity within the club. Many members have tended to remain associated with the club throughout their lives giving the club an excellent base of experience from which to develop younger members and to complete large projects such as maintenance and construction of the club accommodation.
Families are particularly welcome at Alpine Sports Club. Alpine Sports Club has a wide variety of activities especially for families including easy day trips, camping together at Christmas, easy overnight tramps, biking and picnics. Families can take children from 3 years of age to the club huts at Tongariro National Park for skiing in the winter and for a mountain holiday outside of the ski season. The club lodge in the Waitakeres is regularly used by family groups. See the Family page on the menu bar above.
Brief History of Alpine Sports Club prior to 1929. When ASC was formed, a group of people associated with the University in Auckland went walking together, under the name of 'The Sundown Strollers'. The active core of this group eventually,- under the guidance of Professor Ronald Algie, joined with 6 others to form the infant Alpine Sports Club (Incorporated). Twenty people attended that inaugural meeting in the garden pavilion at Professor Algie's Remuera Road home. Membership has grown slowly but steadily to 425 in 1967, 750 in 1986 and 850 in 1994.
ASC's first huts were two dilapidated bushman's shanties beside the Anawhata Stream. The smaller was maintained while the larger was repaired and christened 'Chateau Mosquito' in factious comparison with the Grand Chateau being built at Tongariro National Park in 1928. These old huts have decayed long ago but the name lingers on in the name of the access track from McElwains Road (now Anawhata Road) to the Anawhata Stream.
ASC's third hut was built in 1933-34 on land purchased by the club along Anawhata Road but much nearer Piha Road. This is our Waitakere Hut and is still in use today by club members and their guests, school groups and other clubs, etc. This hut was destroyed by fire in an arson attack in 1998 and was rebuilt in 1999 making it the eighth hut the club has built. The adjoining property had an old hut, now dilapidated, that was built by club members. That property was purchased from Maurice Lennard in December 1983. The Waitakere Hut is used by members and their families and by school and youth groups and other outdoor associations.
Runnymead Hut was the fourth hut built by club members, this time in the Mangatangi Valley, Hunua Ranges. It was a basic hut made of punga logs and Malthoid (a bitumen impregnated fabric). It no longer exists as the waters of the Mangatangi water reservoir now cover the site to a depth of approximately ten metres. Built in 1949 it lasted until 1966 when the reservoir was filled.
Ruapehu Hut was built in 1950 with extensions added in 1956, 1962 and 1976. This is our first hut located in Tongariro National Park. Ruapehu Hut is therefore the fourth hut built by the club members.
The A Frame was constructed on a site just above Ruapehu Hut in 1966 by contract labour assisted substantially by club members. The A Frame is our fifth hut. It has remained in its original design since that time, although a move to enlarge the living and sleeping areas was started in1994.
The club runs popular summer camps for family members in various parts of New Zealand but mainly in the North Island. These are planned for the week between Christmas and New Year and have been very well supported since their establishment in 1969.
A limited edition club history "55 Years of an Auckland Mountain Club 1929-1984" was published in 1986 and is now becoming a collectors item.
In February of 2004 the club celebrated it's 75th Anniversary with a formal dinner held at the Ellerslie Convention Centre. Catherline Watts, Daughter of Sir Ronald Algie, was one of the keynote speakers. More than 250 members attended the function.
A Club Directory is published in June each year. This covers general rules concerning the use of our Waitakere and Ruapehu buildings, the tramping and climbing equipment the club has for hire, the list of titles held in the club library and the membership list. New members names appear each month in Alpinesport and eventually in the subsequent directory.
Details for joining the club can be found on the Joining ASC page.
For more information, contact Sue Fitzpatrick on 09-576-1069 to discuss the club and what it has to offer. You can use the contact link on the top menu bar or email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org