Easter at the A Frame (it's all about the contrasts).

Summit views and brilliant sunshine, driving rain and whiteout, it's all about the contrasts!

Easter at the A Frame

Arwen Vant

Photos here: Easter 2018

Summit views and brilliant sunshine, driving rain and whiteout, training for a marathon or lying on a couch – Easter at Mt Ruapehu in 2018 was all about contrasts.

We had 17 people in the A Frame, including 5 kids ranging in age from 7 to 13, while the Manukau Tramping club filled up Ruapehu Hut.

A leisurely Friday morning arrival, supported by many hot cross buns, saw some folk out rock climbing on Meads Wall on Friday afternoon. We found an easy line that even the kids could get up in tramping boots. Beautiful rock, great friction and great views. The kids found bivvies and crevices in the rock in which to hide, so many games ensued. Some folk relaxed in the hut and enjoyed the sunshine.

Four Seasons in one day

The next day we had a party of eleven on a circumnavigation of the Pinnacle Ridge. Once over the ski field, the kids swarmed up the slope to the ridge at top speed, leaving adults behind in their wake. High winds made getting over the ridge a little exciting before descending to contour below the bluffs. Further up the valley we found a stunning green oasis, a huge patch of mosses and other low growing plants around a natural spring.

Unfortunately the weather came in earlier than expected which made for some very cold, wet and challenging conditions which wasn’t helped by high winds on the ridge and then low visibility and driving rain in our faces as we descended back onto the ski field. The children all managed magnificently but there were some pretty cold hands and feet. Returning to a heated hut and a drying room was a welcome relief!

Other people visited Turangi on the Saturday, while a couple of crazy buggers (Robert and Leigh) decided that running up and down the mountain road repeatedly would be a good idea. They said something about training for a marathon along the Great Wall of China……

Chocolate and summits

Easter Sunday kicked off with a rather manic Easter Egg hunt for the kids, while adults were getting on with packing for our summit (or at least Dome) attempt. We set off on a crisp sunny morning and encountered amazing rock archway close to the hut. An exciting discovery with great photo possibilities!

We made our way up gully and ridge systems (and many false summits) until we could see the Dome. It was a big walk but once the kids had the final ridge in their sights, there was no stopping them. Many of the adults hadn’t been up for years to see the Crater Lake, Tahurangi; and Paretetaitonga up close was a highlight. Dome Shelter had been removed the previous month so there was quite a bit of reminiscing.

For the kids, let’s let them speak for themselves…….

Ellora (7 yrs)  “Getting up to the Dome was my highlight. It had been a long walk but seeing the Crater Lake for the first time, I never thought I’d see it as a child.”

Evelyn (13 yrs) “I really liked the view of Crater Lake with the glacier coming in to it.”

Rohan (9 yrs) “I like climbing up to the Crater Lake, because it was the first time I saw the Crater Lake in my life, and it was really good weather.”

Scott (8 yrs) “Going down was awesome because we were going really fast and did lots of slides. And there was snow they we threw rocks at.”

Mobile phone apps Backcountry Navigator and NZ Topo Maps Pro were put to good use to confirm our position as we descended the final stretch to the hut in limited visibility.

Meanwhile Lesley and Helen took on Te Heu Heu Ridge and enjoyed some excellent views.

Other highlights

Inside the hut there was jumping on cushion towers, building forts and squab castles, ping pong and an Easter Egg hunt for the kids, with plenty of sitting and drinking wine for the adults. Food was practically gourmet with cooked breakfasts every morning, and delicious dinner and desserts in the evenings.

Manukau Tramping club stayed in the Ruapehu Hut and also did a trip up to the top.

And special thanks to our international visitors from Canada for good company, good conversation and great pancakes!!

We’ll leave the last word to Jim Williams, who achieved a lifegoal with the trip up to the Dome – success on what was his third attempt.

Mountain Hubris by Jim Williams

I climbed a mountain

I have very sore legs now

Ow ow ow ow ow

Photos here:  Easter 2018

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