I looked at the weather forecast on the Monday and it looked alright. Rain on the Friday and Sunday and clear on the Saturday, the climbing day
By Tuesday the forecast had gone rotten, two fronts passing through one hitting on our Saturday. I sorted out a good book and made sure we had some cards in the group.
We met as usual at the station and took the Ferry and what is now a familiar drive to St
Arnaud. We patently didn’t sleep in the shelter on the lake front as that is forbidden by DOC. Instead we erected flies in the traditional manner in the camp site. Shame as it rained a lot and if we could stay in the shelter we would have stayed dry.
The rain cleared by the morning and we caught the first water taxi across Lake Rotiti to cold water hut. Setting off at 9am a good pace was set, Sharron Came leading a blistering charge. We had a short break on one of the flats, the shortness due to the sand flies not having read the rule about no sand flies when it is cold. (I wish they would get with the program.)
We made John Tait hut before 1pm and dined upon various assortments of crackers. Then we knocked off the 600m climb to Cupola hut, which sits on the bush line with some occasional good views. We stocked up the wood pile and settled in for the night. It wasn’t the finest example of bush craft as I tried to disprove the adage there’s no smoke with out fire.
During the night it started to rain. In the morning it continued though petered off to a drizzle. Avalanche danger, the rain making a unconsolidated layer heavier, meant we could not make a summit attempt but Phil, Simon and David had a wander around on the lower slopes.
More crackers and we descended back to John Tait hut to reduce the walk out the next day. Thankfully Mark who is more competent at fires heated the hut up. With time on our hands we turned the place into a Las Vegas of iniquity with plenty of poker, drinking games (Which seem to have the same effect when sober) and the odd (perhaps disturbing) shapely calf competition.
Sunday dawned and we headed back down the valley catching some good views of Mt Travers as we went. An early water taxi gave us plenty of time to get back to Picton where instead of the Toot and Whistle we had a beer in the Irish pub. Apparently the tea is expensive, but I failed to see the problem.
Lots of thanks to David Jewell for organizing and leading the trip and to Steve for driving.
See I managed to write this without mentioning the fact that Sharron and Marie got lost on their last rogaine and Sharron spent the weekend asking Simon (who is good at regaining) for advice. If I had mentioned this I would have got into trouble.