Today -13.1km from camp on ridge to Tarn Hut
What a day! 3 summits today, and a good effort all round.
Mt Rintoul and Little Rintoul are part of a crucial day in the Richmonds that having fair weather is really important.
As well as ridge walking, you basically are traversing up and down a couple of peaks with some scrambling in between.
An early start was decided and the 4 of us headed out from our cute campsite at 6.30am, already a little wind was picking up.
I feel like the wind is an element that hugely affects me after my time in the Tararuas but more so walking into Wellington and a sleepless night due to wind.
But it wasn’t anything serious, and began the day with a very steady climb up to little Rintoul, our first peak of the day.
It was so windy at the top, and care was required with some sidling rock holding moves, so after a nice snack in the shelter of some rocks we pushed on.
The views were outstanding, rows of ridges and looking north to Nelson.
The descent from little Rintoul is fairly serious stuff, very steep down a scree slope but you cant really scree ski, you have to step down. Lots of concentration required.
I tend to be a little slower than the others on my descents , super cautious always of the knees.
From the top of little Rintoul we could see the trail snaking it’s way back up Mt Rintoul proper.
Once safely down from little Rintoul, it was time to begin the 400 and something metre ascent to the top of Mt Rintoul. I was really happy at how steady and good I felt climbing , it’s a pretty steep incline, and classic NZ, no switchbacks or graded trail.
t’s worth it to note that this whole section is considered a ‘route’ so although it is marked by orange markers , the terrain is steep, rocky and unformed, often resulting in a make your own adventure to the next marker pole.
Got to the top and had the obligatory summit selfie, and some extra snaps. Absolutely stoked with this section, the views are outstanding and so blessed with the weather.
Congratulated myself on a successful morning with a cheeky summit snickers, and then it was battling the wind across the tops off Mt Rintoul for the steep scree descent to Mt Rintoul hut.
orben, an Irish guy I had met a few days before, came out of nowhere behind us , enthusiastically scree skiing at a rapid pace, quickly overtaking us.
As usual I was taking it slow down the unstable descent, but it was terrain I’m pretty comfy in after all my time in the Canadian Rockies.
Getting to the cute Mt Rintoul hut meant a nice long snack break and had a cuppa which was great.
Believe it or not still another mountain to climb!
Purple top was 2km and 250m from the hut, but it was nice and flat forest walking for a km, so still a very steady ascent at the end. Lunch was in order at the top, again, amazing views and it’s cool being able to trace the last day or so walking on the ridgelines behind, and plot the afternoon in front.
Lunch was peanut butter and oreo wraps. It was so hot and exposed up there that a shorter lunch was decided in order to get back into the shade of the forest.
Down down down and some undulation of the track led eventually to Tarn Hut, situated perfectly next to a beautiful little lake , which was refreshing to cool off after a hot day in the sun.
here had been originally some idea of maybe pushing to mid wairoa hut but after a huge hot day there was no need. Enjoyable afternoon swimming and relaxing.
Tremendous read over all the day passages since Pelorus but in particular day 80 doing the Rintouls and then the finish at Tarn Hut. What a wonderful passage over the last 10 days with the wind and rocky terrain and the heat and summits to address and I can sense the caution exercised.
But the huts looked great and plenty of rivers and small lakes to refresh in. Well done to the nice tight team.