The weather seems to have settled a bit on the mountain after weeks of wet weather since Labour weekend. But now just to spoil things, the maunga is now at volcanic alert level 2, which means that a visit to the top is no longer an option until a drop to level 1.
I had the pleasure of looking after a group of high school pupils who had completed the Northern Circuit. They arrived at the lodge sodden and were grateful for hot showers, a good drying room and thawing out with the help of our lounge heaters.
Usually during this period there is the opportunity to do a bit of ski touring on the upper slopes of the mountain, but the snow disappeared rapidly after Labour weekend.
By the time you read this, the lodge will be open for three weeks from Boxing Day. Information on this can be gained from reading the item on the club forum.
The gondola will be running along with the restaurant over summer. Details of offers and conditions are available on the RAL website. The Sky Waka gives access to the upper mountain for walking beyond and to the top given favorable conditions. If saving money is your preference, then there is a poled route to the restaurant which gives a pleasant walk on a good day.
There are many options for day walks below the lodge which are listed in the lodge intentions book.
Some club scheduled trips will be based at the lodge on 26th to 28th February. Staying at the lodge puts a different perspective on comfort after a hard day out on the trails. Like the high school students, you can enjoy some comfort after a wet trip, or more likely in February after a hot summer’s day.
There is also the opportunity for club members to base a group (private or family trip) from the lodge. Make some plans with your friends or family and talk /email the lodge booking team to find a time that is suitable.
Looking forward, things are still very disturbing overseas so no one can predict the future but here is hoping we will all have access to a vaccine before the ski season.