Mt Earnslaw from the pass between Kay and Scott Creeks

North / South Temple Crossing (December 2-3, 1989)

The journey from the Club Rooms to the Hopkins by bus was a real memory hike for those of us long enough in the tooth and flat enough in the foot to remember back to when a full bus on such trips was the norm rather than the exception. I personally have always enjoyed the fun and close contact of vans - you'd have to be crazy or whatever not to. There is though a special quality about bus trips. Real friendly as people move about, swap seats and yarn; a good feeling of togetherness for the whole trip party. Anyway it was by bus we travelled on a splendidly fine evening - star lit and calm.

Those though, who like me, choose to sleep in the open might also have seen the shadows pass over the moon and heard the Nazguls cruel cry as it urged on the yet distant storm.

The morning however dawned quiet and calm. A good quick breakfast and start saw our party soon on the track and into the beautiful and oh so accessible North Temple. A short visit to the hut, and then over to the rock bivy for a look see for those who had not previously been there and we were soon heading for the valley head and the foot of the pass over to the South Temple.

This route follows a stream up a steepish rock gut starting at about the 3600ft contour and ascending to the pass proper at 6700ft. It is then, a true alpine crossing and, whilst not particularly trying in good to average conditions, it could be very difficult in bad weather and / or when affected by now or ice. The upper reaches on both sides of the pass are of hard, steep, compact scree and even in the good conditions that we enjoyed, movement on these slopes is quite testing and needs care. I make the point therefore that this is a route for experienced parties only. It is NO PLACE FOR BUSHCRAFT PARTIES.

Lunch was had on the pass, despite a rip roaring wind, that threatened to take both feast and feasters and then it was down the long slow descent on heavy non-runnable scree till the vegetation line and comfortable going was again reached.

The weather was changing quickly with rain threatening and gusting wind so not much time was spent sorting out a sheltered campsite down near the main stream. Dinner and an early night followed in short order.

Sunday dawned coldish and showery and was just one of those days for merely walking and getting back out to the transport. However when the company is good, who cares what the weather does.

Don Greer for Mike Fay, Jeff Aimers and Tim Moore

PUBLISHED: OTMC Bulletin 486 (March 1990)