Trip Report Rabid K9 - running for the hills.... NZ 2010.

Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Sep 29, 2010
12,009
8,140
813
Cheers Rabid for the jacket feedback - leaning that way after lots of research
Nice pics of the carpark Keas-pity the NW blew in
 

DeesOnSkis

One of Us
May 27, 2004
1,256
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Melbourne
Rabid K9 said:
I end up cornered by a foulmouthed pair of women in the hottest tub – a young maori girl & a Scottish ginger with more facial hair than me. I pretend that I’m asleep until they depart, then makea quick exit.

This is why I love your work. The Lake Tekapo public springs are a little more civilised.

Canterbury was interesting in September. It was really warm prior to the 14th, then dumped for over a week, then .... towards the end of the storm ... went very warm again while the Southern Lakes were still getting dumped on around the 25th.

The problem with Porters is the base looks horrible that time of year even in a good year. Its just that sort of place. We didn't ski it this year as it was raining and only T1 was open. However, last year it was worse conditions but there was good stuff to be found up the top.

I just don't get this whole Porters expansion thing. But I'm not a local and I'm always there in early September rather than peak season - and there is a lot of goodwill about the area for it - so I must be missing something.
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
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DeesOnSkis said:
Rabid K9 said:
Porters – “wot you looking at?â€
I presume its OK to run these over in your 4WD too?

I think you would be hard pressed to run over a bird as intelligent as the kea, 64% of the human race would probably be easier!!
 
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willmcc

Hard Yards
Mar 18, 2007
365
6
68
33
Melbourne
Love the work Rabid, you've just successfully distracted me from my thesis for a 45 minutes
smile.gif
Can't wait for the next installment
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
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THE MACKENZIE PART III

The poor mountain conditions mean I actually arrive at the airport early to collect Rabbess, very much a rarity for the perpetually late beast I am. Aim for the most direct route in & out of Christchurch, which is easy when coming from the west & things are looking very normal around the airport. Clean up the van, quick shower in the carpark, while waiting, watch the strange behaviour of the filthy smokers huddled outside the terminal, sucking in their last, desperate fumes of doom, before hours of sealed aircon capsules, then Rabbess arrives, feeling as frazzled as me a few days ago. I’ve hatched another devious plan to earn both brownie points & be on the spot, ready to ride tomorrow morning.

Rocket south along the inland Canterbury route again, the mountains are still hiding with the cloud base not far above 1000m but at least it’s cooling down. Brief leg-stretch in the pleasant botanic gardens in Geraldine, then onto Lake Tekapo, arriving just after dark.

Part 1 of the devious plan was relaxing in the Tekapo hot pools watching an alpine sunset over the Southern Alps, however neither my timing nor the weather was right, hot water was still enjoyed & points added to my account, sure to be useful in coming days, especially with some of the mountain roads I had in mind….

Out for dinner added a few more, then the big bed of the Merc is used for it’s intended purpose…. sleeping!

Mt Dobson – morning crowd besieges the bowl!
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Friendly, mostly local scene.
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Dobson’s finally open in the morning, although aspersions of a malfunctioning triple chair are being cast. With the Roundhill heritage tow still closed, Dobsons an easy choice, playing in the open, uncrowded bowls for Rabbess to get her skiing legs back. A thick carpet of cloud is hanging low, with the light wind now around to the southeast, moisture is pushing up against the eastern side of the ranges for a change, but I’m counting on the peaks being above the easterly clag.

With three consecutive down days on a nineteen day trip, I’m suitably keen to get back on the snow & am driving the van with some vigour on the long approach road. My impatietence bites me when I manage to tractionally disadvantage the van again & am forced to fit chains in the worst bit of mud on the mountain. My pleasant temperament is further tested when the world’s second most useless man stops slightly up ahead & wanders back down the road to ask me how to fit his chains. Despite my step by step instructions whilst I’m struggling with mine in the mud, he is insistent that he’ll wait until I’m finished & then let me come up & fit them!! The only reason I don’t bludgeon him with my muddied fist, is that being Portuguese, I reason at least his girlfriend will provide a nice piece of olive skinned booty for my viewing pleasure, whilst I lend him my chain fitting expertise.

Thirty minutes later, muddied & bloodied, our van is forwardly mobile again, morals force me to stop and help Captain De' Useless & am extremely disappointed to that find that the cattle near the bottom gates had nicer bollocks than his girlfriend!! The pair have stood & waitied for me to finish fitting our chains, without even making much more than a token gesture to fit their simple laddered hoops. I storm around their car throwing on the chains, the fella starts to make my blood boil, a blithering, pasty, limpwristed, spongebellied wussbag with the lack of practicality that makes me wonder how a ‘man’ could be so useless at man stuff. Even the more tolerant Rabbess is amazed at the ineptitude displayed, I finally crack when he insists I follow him up remainder of the road in case the chains come off again. Wisely no more argument is offered when told “LOOK!! I’ve effn shown you how to put your effn chains on TWICE, it’s not bloody hard & I want to go effn RIDING, you can effn stop & fix them yourself you cnfncf!!â€

The pair still continue to torment me when I run over to grab lift tickets from the little demountable building & find them similiarly frustrating the lass in the office with their blithering uselessness…. Waiting impatiently, the lass rolls her eyes & I have to strongly resist the urge to hoist the mongrel off the edge of the carpark by the belt loop of his skinny jeans!!

Finally, the relaxed uncrowded Dobson reasserts itself, the Portcho’s grovel about out of my sight on the beginners splatter & we’re on the T-bar & riding again. The mountain staff are still working busily banging about on the triple chair, which is in a number of pieces & half buried in snow & the snow is ‘firm & variable off-piste – ski & ride with careâ€, I duly head the warning, straightline into a very large block of cat made debris in top gear & end up embeded head first and uphill of where I took off. The sun baked bowl gradually softens above the sea of cloud & riding becomes fun again, it’s warm, still & mostly clear with maybe thirty other people on the main area of the mountain. Finally the chair is operational & we’re all over the ever fun natural halfpipe, being the first & last public on it for the day.

Mt Dobson – midday snack back at the van with the sun working it’s Spring magic of the ‘firm’ off-piste.
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Happy in the sun, well above the easterly clag.
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Mt Dobson – nothing to see here, just boring, intermediate terrain & hostile locals!
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I think Dobson’s a greatly underrated mountain, plenty of intermediate terrain if your prepared for short hikes, lots of good side & endless backcountry, a friendly vibe & in my limited experience, even though many assure me it’s not always the case, a much better snowcover than any other ski area I’ve visited in NZ, with the high base level, it doesn’t seem to be perched marginally at the natural snowline like so many other South Island area’s. It’s enjoyable to actually drive for many kilometers up through deep roadside drifts before even reaching the carpark, perversely this extensive drifting & exposure of the mountain seem to be part of the reason the field is so frequently & frustratingly closed, even in seemingly mild mountain weather.

Heading back down the mountain, we give a lift to the owner of the shed with truck attached from Fox Peak a few days back. He’s got a good agreement with the landowner & parks up his vessel about the mid-altitudes & spends his afternoons roaming the mountainscape on foot, with dog & firearm, hunting the assortment of the introduced hooved & hopping mammals that inhabit the highcountry. Sounds like a pleasant way to spend afternoons & he’s an interesting bloke to talk too, obviously very attuned & attached to his mountains.

Lake Tekapo – the working dog, tireless hero of the Mackenzie country.
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Lake Tekapo township & edge of the Two Thumb Range.
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Lake Tekapo –‘Church of the Good Sheperd’.
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Sunset back down in friendly little Lake Tekapo, then a grand camp spot at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, unfortunately, the mountains still refusing to reveal their full splendour in the morning, the stubborn, slow moving weather really doing damage to my brownie point account.

Lake Pukaki – vans a lot more cosy with the arrival of ‘the cook’, allowing me to concentrate on manly nighttime tasks like reading about mountains & snowpacks, fixing gear, drinking Baileys Irish cream & hurling perfect rounded throwing stones far out into the lake!
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With the warm up day out the way, more backcountry is on the cards. Dumbell Lake, out from Ohau is the plan, but the slow moving clag is once again glued to the mountains, this time above 1400m. In the carpark, you can’t even see your foot, let alone some backcountry lines, so today’s a non-event as well, cursing the fickle NZ mountains, can’t even show Rabbess the main Ohau bowl & its steep chutes.

Lake Ohau Area – foothills of Ben Ohau range.
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Northern end of Lake Ohau, home paddocks of highcountry station of that name & Neumann Range.
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A bit of lower altitude ‘exploration’ is the consolation prize & I’ve been keen have a look into the area at the north end of Lake Ohau since last visit. The giant topo map at the lodge is once again drooled over, unfortunately the brain paralyzing Euro sauce is not in attendance. The sun is shining at valley level, highlighting the grand ranges rising above the braided beds of Hopkins & Dobson Rivers & the sandflys are out, my first encounter with the New Zealand version of these vicous, sneaky little insect bastards. The Lake Ohau station is another spectacular property with the lease covering gentle, farmed paddocks leading right from the shores of the lake, to wild mountain backcountry extending into the Barrier Range behind.

Lake Ohau – Rabbess shooting herself while I shoot apparently boring things like mountains?
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The short side detour into the lower Temple Valley brings more dramatic scenery, approaches to mountaineering routes, kayaking potential (like nearly every South Island valley), some native forest, a great camping area & examples of many of the methods used by the Department of Conservation to attempt to control our beloved ‘brushies’ gone feral. I wouldn’t let a small child wander alone here!

Temple Valley – possum control method number 596 000.
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Temple Valley – possum control method number 596 001.
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Temple Valley – a sunny contrast to the clagged in mountain above.
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Hopkins Valley – fear ye’ life, Rabbess behind the wheel on the gravel.
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Past the dramatically located Huxley Education Centre, a mild four wheel drive route winds up the western bank of the Hopkins River, I’m keen to get to the Monument hut, however the cumbersome van meets ground beyond it’s ability before to long & the reverse out with wheels inching along an eroding river bank is fun, apart from the said bastard small insects having a piece of any exposed skin.

The views along the river valleys are still spectacular with some dramatic cloud formations, a sturdy Landcruiser would be a very useful tool for accessing the upper braided valleys about the Mackenzie & getting one closer to the vast array of tramping, mountaineering & backcountry routes. Some scruffy, free ranging sheeps, lurking amongst the gorse, are given a good fright, not exactly sure what they are doing in the conservation park & I help the ever mobile shingle beds by more testing of the rounded river stone ‘throwability index’!

Hopkins Valley – entering the magnificent Ruataniwha Conservation Park & flinging the rental agreement out the window.
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Hopkins Valley – da Merc’ earning it’s keep & getting some underbody remodelling work!
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Middle Hopkins Valley.
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Small ‘rock glacier’ feeding into Hopkins Valley, a fine avalanche path for heavy snow conditions.
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Braided channels of Hopkins & Dobson Rivers.
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The mighty Barrier Range.
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Small glacial fed river in Temple Valley.
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Highcountry light show at the Hopkins-Dobson River confluence.
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A bit of easy exploring out of the way, the first bites of the long & itchy ‘Southern Hemisphere Biting Insect’ season & immensely frustrated by the ‘neither here nor there’ weather, we rumble down the way to the civilized Southern Lakes, which seem to have been faring better in the current weather patterns.

Lindis Pass – always atmospheric.
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hpsauce

A Local
Ski Pass
May 19, 2008
6,087
4,162
563
.......And that is why, curiously, even southerners who survive on tourism, are conflicted about their visitors. At the end of the day, most of them appear to prefer you really weren't there.
Fair enough.
 

Bluebear

Hard Yards
Aug 19, 2008
256
2
68
Noosa, Qld
Great ramble and pics as always!!!
You will be one happy man when your NS split arrives.
Mine arrived safe an well and is more than you could wish for.
Have fun trying not to fondle it each day.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
5,948
6,633
563
Heard that your NS Split was in the country Bluebear!!

May to have to take up residence in my swag in the backyard when mine finally arrives as Rabbess probably won't let me keep it in the bed!!
 

Bluebear

Hard Yards
Aug 19, 2008
256
2
68
Noosa, Qld
I here you,
I just kicked the wife and the 2 kids out of the bedroom and now its just me, the board and the dog.
Life's not complicated at all now !!!.
The wait till the end of Jan is though.
 

Donza

Dogs body...
Ski Pass
Platinum
Apr 21, 2004
125,357
79,746
3,563
woonona
hey rabid...
not being rude or anything...but what happened to Niseko - japan epic TR?
 
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