Hakatere area summits - 09/09/2023

Apologies for missing the Canterbury activators on all their summits today for the ZL3CC memorial SOTA-day. A real shame as there were a lot of S2S available there!

My first summit - Mt Harper, I got nervous both about the softness of the snow and how early the ‘late-morning’ ETA of Sim (my partner) would be. And so I tried for a pre-dawn climb to the summit. This proved a (technically) good idea as the climb was wonderful in the morning cool, and the snow on the ridgeline was crisp and easy travel. Total ascent from Camp Lake to summit was 2hr15. Sadly this put me on the summit at 745 before other activatorswere around. I then got a txt to say that Sim was not coming down after all, so I could spend as long as I wanted on Mt Harper. Well, it was at best -5C there, and even with all my clothes on and some good stomping around, I lasted less than 1hr before bundling everything into the pack
with dead-numb hands and setting off down the ridgeline at a trot in an attempt to get circulation going again. So sorry to other summiteers, but an amazing spot in the early morning light. And I did net 8 contacts, including Christian F4WBN.

Sunrise on Mt Harper (almost)

Dawn over Lake Clearwater. Start of walk is campground in willows right of 1st lake

Activating Mt Harper - Banks Peninsula in distance

Mt Harper and Rangitata Valley below


Never mind though, I’ll make a 2nd summit by midday before everyone packs up - that easy 1.5km walk, 250m climb one north of the Raikaia Gordge bridge: ZL3/CB-753.

Well, summit no 2 of the day - ZL3/CB-753 - proved anything but easy. The 500m walk along the legal road through the farmland was easy. But the next 500m of DOC marginal strip / LINZ riverbed to the park boundary was solid gorse and windfallen willow. Once finally in the Rockwood Conservation Area ZLP/CB-0184 proper, things improved slightly, but only slightly. Mature beech forest, but tight-packed with bands of polebeech and fern and bush-lawyer. Finally, arriving at the top boundary of the park, 15m below the (private) summit, all that marked the boundary was a transition from thick beech to thick broom. Not even a glimpse-view to be found. Antenna deployment consisted of throwing antenna wire (on winder) through what gaps in the scrub I could find and attempting to poke it higher with the base of the part-extended SOTA pole. The activation did net 8 contacts, including 2 S2S, but I’m not sure it was worth all the blood and sweat it cost me. And now, I all I had to do, was walk it all again backwards. In case anyone is mad enough to repeat the feat, a map of the route is below.

Legal access to ZL3/CB-753