Mount Hutt - ZL3/CB-158 8 points

I went on an activation yesterday with one of Canterbury’s SOTA Goats @ZL3MR . As with all of my activations thus far, I had intended to attempt this one on my own, my first 8 pointer. A couple of days out I had this nagging thought that I am not getting any younger, I am not an experienced mountaineer or even tramper, by any stretch of the imagination and while a 7186 foot peak is considered a walk in the park by most of our experienced trampers and mountaineers in NZ I wasn’t so confident. Caution being a better part of valour I put an email out to our local SOTA community announcing my intentions and welcoming anyone along who might wish to share the activation.

I couldn’t have been more happy with the response. @ZL3MR John, an experienced SOTA Goat and the first to activate this summit wrote back saying he would like to accompany me. A further activator indicated that he too would like to go up the peak as well, but unfortunately subsequent events didn’t allow him to make it; a shame really as he is a very experienced mountaineer and both John and I were looking forward to gaining some knowledge from his vast experience.

Anyway, condensing a ten hour day’s adventure into a couple of paragraphs, John and I met up at 06:45 am and headed off to the access road to Mount Hutt. There is a ski field on the mountain and while it is closed currently, the access road is public and one can drive to a car park at a height of 1300 metres.

View from the car park overlooking surrounding farmlands and the Rakaia River

At this point there is a locked gate barring vehicles proceeding any further. To get to the summit there is a challenging hike up through to the top of the ski field and a further 2 1/2 kms along a ridge to the summit.

The view as we approach the ski field.

At the top of the ski field looking back down.

From the top of the ski field you can finally see the summit in the distance.

Approaching the summit.

We made the trip from the car park to the summit in a little over 3 hours. Our first activity was to alert chasers in Christchurch city 91 kms east and 7000 feet below us. This proved no big feat using my FT-60 with a 42 inch Abbree antenna attached. In the space of 15 minutes John and I each made 7 contacts on 2 metres. They were almost, without exception, reports of 59 in both directions. I know the Abbree antenna looks quite ungainly, especially perched on top of a small FT-60 but it has never failed me with anything other than stellar performance.

Me waking up Christchurch city on the FT-60

We then set up John’s EFHW and due to some fault on his radio on 7 metres, my IC-705 was put into action. Although we didn’t have a tuner for it we managed reasonable SWR on 40, 20, 15 and 10 metres, and proceeded to harvest another 13 contacts each, 2 being from Australia, before we decided to head back down.

The weather had been postcard perfect, clear, fresh and without a breath of wind until the point of packing up when the wind started to pick up. It was an uneventful trip back down the mountain and when arriving back at the car we had clocked up just over 16 kms for the round trip. The only excitement left in the day was getting the car started as I had left the lights on and flattened the battery.

Well, that was my first 8 pointer and already I am planning some more; possibly not this year with the winter approaching, but most definitely next spring.


Phil ZL3CC


Great to make the contact Phill.
Yes, that top car park seems to flatten car batteries for some reason.
Fantastic photos & I’m glad you both made it safely down after your successful activation.

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Thanks for that @ZL3RIK I thought the flat battery on the side of the hill might amuse you. I tried calling you on 2 meters to tell you knowing that you might get a laugh. I personally put it down to the Iron Ore content of the mountain creating a capacitance between the ground and the car…either that or leaving the lights on :smile:

Phil ZL3CC

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