Brass Monkey Bivouac is a highly elevated bivvy precisely settled on the tops of the Lewis Pass ranges. There is no direct route to it. There is an article in Wilderness Magazine “5 ways to Brass Monkey Bivouac” that briefly describes 5 ways to get up there. As this was only my second trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club trip, I opted for a relatively easy route up via Lucretia Stream. For the way down I chose the route via Duchess Stream which was a bit more… ehm – let’s stick with the word “adventurous”.
Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track is one of the most popular tracks in Craigieburn Forest Park / Arthur’s Pass broader area. About half of the track is part of Te Araora Trail. Anna and I decided to see on our own eyes if it’s as pretty as people say (spoiler alert: yes, it is!).
I’ve been wondering for a while if I can take my non 4WD vehicle into the Lees Valley. There is a long gravel road that I know is inaccessible in the winter for 2WD. After reassurance from a couple of the CTC members that driving on the road in the summer will be fine, I decided that it’s time to give it a go. My friend Jana and I drove there on Sunday morning and yes, the access to the valley is without any issues for a 2WD vehicles.
This was my first trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club. I scheduled the trip for Friday 15th November which was a public holiday. Until Thursday night it was only me and a couple of prospective members on the list which I thought would be fun. Then unexpected happened: all 3 multi-day trips that were planned for the long weekend were canceled due to a bad weather on Saturday.
Mt Sommers Track is one of the most popular overnight hikes for Christchurchians. Fair enough, it’s close to Christchurch and it’s pretty nice there. As the track doesn’t go too high up, I made up my own variation of the track with ascending Mt Sommers and Mt Winterslow which are the highest mountains in the area. Alright, I didn’t actually stand on the top of them but I was just an easy stroll away.
Anna was waiting for me in the car with our backpacks ready for the weekend adventure. It was Saturday 5pm and I just finished my last shift of the week. I jumped into the car and changed into my tramping baggy clothes while Anna was driving south-west towards Lake Clearwater in Hakatere Conservation Area.
Anna, Sanita and I started our Kaikoura adventure down at Mt Fyffe car park. It was Sunday morning and we were quite stiff after 2.5 hours drive from Christchurch. At the car park, there were quite a few cars suggesting that last night at Fyffe Hut was quite busy.
Me and 16 CTC members started off this long and epic journey under the SH 73 bridge over Broad Stream. Due to the unpredictable spring weather conditions that were forecasted for that day, we were ready for anything from avalanches to a sunny mountain day. We actually got to enjoy a bit of everything.
Anna was sick. She was so sick that she could only do one waist-deep river crossing and a 3 hour a hike with a fully loaded backpack with camping gear and food for 2 days. What a bummer. Pinchgut Hut will do.
Our first plan was to hike Sabine Circuit. That didn’t happen. However, this long weekend still turned out to be our greatest snow adventure of the winter of 2019.