Mount Te Kooti

15-16 Aug 2020

Aarn said his car didn’t have good ground clearance, and so it proved as we scraped on a few rocks driving up the Grampians Station farm road. With five of us on board, the car was especially low, so after some scrapes we removed a few rocks along the way. Generally, the road is surprisingly good as it winds its way up the Pahau Valley to the hut we were to stay at and well beyond.

We didn’t know what facilities to expect at the hut so were pleasantly surprised to see inner-sprung mattresses on the six bunks, a fire-place, kettles and pots—luxury! We had the whole afternoon to kill, so we walked up the road, then up a spur to get an idea of the route to Te Kooti. Our evening meal was lentil spaghetti topped with silver beet and parsley, followed by coconut custard with gingernuts.

Wang set the phone alarm for 6am and we were walking by 7am. John had done this trip before so we followed an accepted route using farm tracks for the mid-section. Above, mist threatened to envelope us, but as we climbed we saw blue sky ahead and quickly broke through to a beautiful, clear day. There were bluffy bits we had to skirt and on the shady faces a few icy rocks were a worry. Soon we were on a ridge where we found a useful ramp that got us near to the top of 1469m Te Kooti. We passed a nice array of vegetable sheep as we went the last steps to the top.

It wasn’t yet lunchtime so we walked along the ridge towards 1615m Mt Tekoa and got to the point where we overlooked a big descent we’d need to make before climbing an icy spur to Tekoa. At this sight, our enthusiasm flagged and a majority decision was made to retreat, so we had a lazy lunch back on Te Kooti in a light breeze. Our return was back a short way on familiar ground, then further north to take a spur past Point 1077 back to the road and an easy 4km walk to the hut. Back at 2:30 we had plenty of time for a cuppa, hut-clean, check-out at Grampians Angus homestead and a daylight drive to Christchurch.

With more snow or no snow we could have tackled Tekoa but the shaded icy spur to the mountain would have been risky. Tekoa may sound like a Maori name but it in fact derives from Scotland.

We were: John Robinson, Peter Umbers, Shiping Wang, Aarn Tate and Kerry Moore. (KM)

Mt Tekoa from Te Kooti. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore.

A perfect vegetable sheep! Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore.

Impressive coarse conglomerate outcrops on the Tekoa Range.