Sunday 11 November 2018
Four trampers set off from Oamaru at 7.30am. One and three-quarter hours and 140km later they arrived at the parking area just east of the Dalrachney Stream bridge on the Lindis Pass road where they met up with two more trampers who had driven from Clyde.
At 9.25am we set off through a gate on to the poled route along an easement through Longslip Station. At 9.35 we turned back having missed the crossing point on Dalrachney Stream. We eventually crossed and carried on along the poled route which followed the stream up a broad, flat valley. Three more crossings ensured that feet were well wet by the time we reached the gate into the Conservation Area at the end of the flat, 5km from the start. It would be another 5km distance and 900 metres climb to the top of Dromedary Hill. The track continued up the narrowing valley before turning north to start climbing. A few hundred metres up we stopped for smoko in the shade of a clump of remnant beech trees. It was encouraging to see that destocking had allowed beech seedlings to spread out from the clump promising long term recovery of native forest.
Smoko over, we climbed up the zig-zag track until we reached a fenceline on a ridge, which we then followed up to a saddle, where we turned west towards the now-visible summit. It now being just after 1 o’clock, we stopped for lunch at a spot with views and shelter from the cold southerly breeze. We estimated that it would be at least half an hour to the summit, so we set a turnaround time of 2.30pm and set off again. Some more fairly steep gravelly zigs and zags and a final climb through tussock along a fence, turning left at a gate, and we were on the snow-clad summit by 2pm. Extensive views were admired, with much speculation about the possible positions of Mounts Aspiring and Barth. The nearer hills were very picturesque with their dusting of snow and the Martha Saddle, which some had crossed on the Breast Hill-Ahuriri track earlier in the year, was spotted across the valley of the Avon Burn.
At 2.20 we headed back. The return trip was straightforward, apart from one deviation to explore alternative routes, and we got back to the cars just after 5pm. A fine day, a satisfying climb and good company: Marian, Julie, Helen, Rodney, and Neville. John