Waimakariri Col,

Mount Philistine — 8–9 Dec 2012

Six trampers set off early on Saturday morning with a good weather forecast. Four of us started off up the Waimakariri as Gary and Raymond did a car shuffle and stashed Gary’s bike at the Otira Valley road-end. The river was not too high and some of us only required help in a couple of crossings.

We made good time allowing a short detour to Carrington Hut, as two of the party had not visited this hut before. After a break we headed up the upper Waimakariri towards the falls, at which point the track steepened considerably and from there to the hut. It was a bit of a grind at the end of the day, albeit in spectacular country. The CMC Waimakariri Falls Hut is in a great location with rock cliffs, gorges and waterfalls all around. There was no-one else there so after a hearty supper, four of us stayed in the 6 bunk hut and 2 in a Minaret tent.

The next morning we got away early as the day was going to be a long one. We soon hit the snow which proved to be soft and hard going. The sun was beating down too which didn’t help. After 2 hours we crossed over the col and dropped considerably towards the head-waters of the Rolleston before sidling around to climb up onto the Rolleston-Philistine ridge. This section took quite some time due to the soft snow conditions. Up on the snowy ridge the views were great. In places it was necessary to sidle around gendarmes and there were a few tricky, challenging bits due to the snow conditions. In all it took us about 7 hours to reach the summit from the hut.

After the obligatory photos on the summit of Philistine, we headed down and out to the road-end. Gary went on ahead to bike down to Arthur’s Pass and discovered that the pesky keas had found his bike in the bushes. Luckily their damage did not extend to the tyres.

Thanks to Raymond and company for a great trip.

Trampers were:

Raymond Ford, John Robinson, Gary Huish, Liz Stephenson, Laurayne Robb and Ruth Barratt. (RB)