A Year in the Mountains 2016

Over a year ago I started reading these amazing stories about people traversing the length of the Tararua’s in a single day. The stories were filled with adventure, challenge and inspiring country. After completing our Great Walk challenge I was looking for the next challenge and something closer to home with less nights away from the family was appealing. I connected with Chris Martin from the Wellington Sunday Big Run crew and started showing up for the Tuesday night runs from the Southern Cross.  I got to meet all the epic adventurers I had been reading about. Chris, Dave, Tim, Al, Lou, Marta and Chris who is the chief organiser.

During the year I got to hear more stories and plans about awesome adventures. I set about taking on some of the missions.

In January Dan and I headed up to Mitre Peak.

In March Anthony and I headed up to do the Broken Axe Pinnacles and Plane Wreck

Late March on a trip to Christchurch I ran Goat Pass (the Coast to Coast run route)

In April four of us did the Tararua Southern Main Range

In May I went on the Ridge Runners trip to the Old Ghost Road

In June Anthony and ran round Mount Taranaki

In August Marta and I attempted a snowy Southern Crossing and Anthony, Mark, Marta and I did a night snowy mission to Hector and back.

In October Anthony, Hugh and I did a Dundas loop

After our SMR in April Anthony and I planned to make an attempt on the famed SK route. Dave gave us some compass and gps training, Chris gave us a timing schedule and I got lots of help on the food to take. In December it all came together. The perfect weather window was lining up for December 17th.  We dropped a car at Kaitoke and got a cab to take us to the train at Maymorn. From Masterton we got a cab to Putara and borrowed Tom’s car from the road end to get to and from Putara base camp.

There were 5 groups planning missions from Putara on that day, Marta dropped in at 2.45am to tell us they had turned around from the tops due to the rain and wind, Al, Dave, Paul and Tom were hunkered down in Herepai Hut waiting for it to clear. We got started just after 3am and hit the tops as the sun was starting to raise. It was spectacular climbing up under lights seeing the group in front high on the slopes above it reminded by of scenes from climbing movies. This was the adventure I had been dreaming of. As we hit the tops Danny and Sam sped past on their way to setting the speed record. Once the sun rose and the wind died it got beautiful and hot, it was so clear we could see Hector from the top of Dundas and all the main range in between.

Coming down towards Drac Biv, 7 hours into our 24 hour mission I slipped and rolled badly on my ankle, my SK day was over. I could still walk carefully on it but couldn’t move quickly. I turned around and walked 9 hours out to Poads Road where I was kindly picked up by Anna.

Anthony and Carlos continued on the epic SK route and Anthony completed the full route in one continuous push. An amazing achievement. Carlos headed out at Otaki from Kime with an injured ankle. We are planning the next attempt:)

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