Ruahine Tops 1,600s and 1,700s: Saw tooth instead of Dragons teeth.

We had planned our Dragons teeth Adventure, spending hours researching the high traverse.

Flights were booked based on a good long range forecast and the excitement was building. This trip has been on the wish list for a few years.

Then the forecast took a turn, 77mm of rain for Friday night, not what we needed.

Time for plan B, going back to the Kaimanawa’s and doing a high loop of the 1,600s, the 3 peaks in Tongariro or a loop of the 1,600s in the Ruahine.

The forecast looked ok in the Ruahine so we researched Al’s mission in January where he covered all the 1,600s and 1,700s over two days!

We packed for two nights, three days and headed north. The Renfrew Road end entrance to the park is fabulous, very nice access to the tops. We had clear skies and warm conditions, perfect for being on the tops.

This is roar season so we expected to see a few hunters. We bumped into our first near Mangamahue, they were loaded up with a big stag trying to get it out.

As headed east to saw tooth we heard our first roars from what we later named the zoo. It was amazing to hear what sounded like a few stags roaring for hours.

We reached saw tooth and headed north. The roaring continued from the valley below. Soon darkness feel and we marched on under head lamps.

Saw tooth ridge

Hoping to get to Waikamaka hut for a sleep, we had a few 1,600s to cover to get there. The ground was familiar from our Sunrise to Limestone trip last year. We decided to drop straight off pt 1635 to the hut. This route is pretty gnarly in the dark and we did a bit of crawling 😦

After a hut experience with the loudest snorer ever we woke to rain and changed plans, heading to Waterfall hut, this was great travel over the Rangi saddle and down the Rangi creek, at Waterfall hut we meet hunters scraping the meat off large sets of deer antlers, they had seen 35 deer over there week and were taking 4 home. This was alot better than the guys at Waikamaka who had seen 1 deer!

Whio in the Kawhatau River

The hunters suggested a route up the spur on the north side of Trig creek to get up to Mangaweka and the Hikurangi range where four 1700’s were waiting. This was good travel after the first steep bush bash.

Marta on top of the Ruahine

We bagged the peaks on the Hikurangi range and pt 1632 above Pinnacle creek then we had the long downhill to Pourangaki Hut which hurt my knees. We followed deer tracks for the first half that had run down in front of us.

Pourangaki Hut is fabulous well worth a visit, the next morning we headed up our final hill to Maungamahue 1661m to finish our loop and headed back to the Renfrew roadend. A great few days in the hills 🙂

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Pourangaki Hut

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