In the week leading up to Easter, my Dad and I headed down to Nelson Lakes NP, to do a bit of tramping on the Travers Range. The first day, taking us up Mt Robert and along the Robert Ridge, was straight forward, although a bit claggy at times. The afternoon cleared progressively, and sunlight broke through the low clouds, delicately casting the sculptured 4th Basin and surrounding cirques in golden hues — it was magnificent.
Having had an early night, Dad and I got up early, to reach the summit of Angelus Peak for the sunrise. Despite a few stumbling detours between cairns into patches of speargrass, we reached the summit just as the warm orange of the morning sun graced the edge of the sky, bringing that early-morning definition to the ridges of the surrounding ranges.The view from the top of Angelus was just stunning and we sat up there for a couple of hours, enjoying warm cups of tea, gingernuts, and the breathtaking view. From Angelus Peak, we descended the scree slopes down to Sunset Saddle, past the tarns, and arrived at Hopeless Hut mid-afternoon.
We set off for Mt Hopeless in the dark, around 6:30am. The beginning of the unofficial and unmarked Hopeless Creek route is a bit hard to discern in the dark: there were a great number of cairns, not nearly as many continuously discernible paths, lots of bush-bashing, and at least one wasps nest: not something we wanted to discover at 7am! Again, it was a clear, crisp morning and the climb up to the base of the peak was simply stunning. We approached the peak from the western couloir, traversing the face to join the north-western ridge. There was a bit of ice and lots of loose scree, which made things exciting! We reached the top and, while rather preciously perched above the clouds, we set up the billy and ate our lunch.
Returning to Hopeless Hut, we tramped down the valley that afternoon, to the Travers River. We originally planned to camp by the river, but upon arrival, we both had a bit of energy left and decided to boost it to Coldwater Hut. Having walked for a total of 15hrs that day, we arrived at the hut at 10:30pm, relishing the thought of a good night’s sleep. As we settled down, we quickly released that our hopes for a good night’s sleep were going to be dashed, with a couple of snoring tourists and a good number of very noisy rats. It was a long night.
The next norming was overcast and we had a relaxed start to the day, both feeling a bit shattered. Dad and I walked down Lake Rotoiti to the Mt Robert roadend, arriving shortly after midday. From there, we promptly made our way to the Apline Lodge in St Arnaud, to enjoy what were arguably the best pizzas ever — a least, they were to our post-tramp tastebuds. Having eaten our fill, Dad made his way north and I hitchhiked south to Springs Junction, to catch up with my mate Gee.