Red Hill

Saturday 26th June 2010

On what was a rather miserable grey day with a forecast of snow, seven hardy souls met at Church Corner. We set off at 8am in cars with chains just in case we needed them for Porter’s Pass, but although there was snow at the sides of the road, the roads were clear and only very slightly icy in places. Once we got to Lake Lyndon the skies were much brighter but the Lake Lyndon road was closed! We decided to head along and see what it was like as we only had to go a few kms to our start point. The road was clear and we parked by a farm gate on the right, reversing the cars onto the snowy verge in case we had to push them off again at the end of the day!

We set off with ice axes and followed a 4WD track and then a creek heading generally NW, crossing a broken-down fence into Brooksdale Station after about 15mins and then back through a new fence out onto the Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park after about an hour. We continued NW aiming for patches of beech forest to point 936m. The valley was very boggy and we had to cross the creek several times. Most of us didn’t manage to keep our boots dry. We eventually got up onto the terraces through patches of matagouri.

Once we got closer to the beech trees we stopped for morning tea and admired the clearing view back down to the road and up towards the saddle. Patches of blue sky were appearing. We headed through and around the beech trees, across a small creek and NW up towards the saddle to west of 1488m—not so easy in the deep snow for the vertically challenged. Gary did sterling work at the front making steps, with Tim volunteering to take over on the descent. We stopped for lunch and it was surprisingly warm in the sun with almost no breeze.

There was a track visible through the snow up the left of the scree basin to the saddle but as the snow was quite deep near the top of the scree with a small overhang, we took the spur on the right, heading for a large rocky outcrop which is not marked on the topo map, and behind it, left to the saddle. From the saddle, we sidled along the ridge, SW and headed up the last snow-covered scree slope to the summit of Red Hill at 1641m (a climb of about 830m). From here there are great views of Lake Coleridge, Porters ski field and surrounding foothills on a clear day. This day was not clear enough to see Coleridge, but we had nice views nonetheless.

We decided to return the same way as the deep snow had slowed us going up. We got back to the car at about 4pm and had the usual thawing-out stop in Springfield on the way home.

We were Gary Huish, Mary & Tim Hines, Jane Swift, Miriam Preston, Sue Piercey and Stan Wilder. (MH)