Trip 1 Richmond Range


6/9/05 -11/9/05



  • Boot problems
  • misty weather
  • great climb and views of nelson marlborough region



Challice carpark

Challice Hut

Mid Goulter Hut

Tarn Hut

Rinoul Hut

Mt Rintoul

Challice and road end


Trip log:

Day 1    2.5km      +0m

Day 2      10km      +0m

Day 3      16km    +1412m

Day 4         9km      +910m

Day 5       17km   +1790m

Day 6      2.5km   +400m

walked= 56kms   +4510m=total climb


The little car has made it to the SI and up a long steep windy access road, dodging many logging trucks.


The start of the lake challice track is at 1200m and there is a fine view back down the Blenheim/Wairau Valley.


Thats, um, me lunching in the goulter river. Im really noticing the incredible quietness , open space and sheer peace of teh SI. However the first few nights i had these dreams about losing halves of my various remaining posessions. I guess thats me resolving or trying to resolve my torn asunder life, particularly being away from my 11 yo son.


The forest growth is so luxuriant here that they have to keep cutting it back from around the huts to keep it at at bay. Makes for a good firewood supply any how.


After a climb up the ridge on a very well marked track you come to Tarn Lake with its little hut. I guess it got damned by a landslip fairly recently by the look of it. Masses of frogs.


On the way up i had this hilarious detour, which meant rewalking a steep section twice, then accidently dropping my map, retracing my route, via GPS trackback, to locate the map, and hence walking this section about 4 times. Amusing in hindsight, but made me realise that while im not carrying a great many possessions, the ones i do have are critical and possess little or no redundancy. I resolved to make better homes for things generally, although a secure accessible waterproof means of carrying the map took quite some time to arrive.


Tarn hut sits in a small clearing next to the tarn, although as normal you cant see it from the hut. Its a better example of a renovated 60s NZFS ,very much ubiquitous, 6 bunk hut. Richmonds color scheme is cream inside and out.


For the uninitated this is what you find inside the tidier of NZs back country huts. Theres also a small pot-belly stove just inside the door.


From there you climb up to the base of Mt Rintoul, at 1790m its one of the highest points in the range. The weather for most of this trip was cloudy and misty. The summit seems to disappear above. The night in Rintoul hut was a treat being at 1300m on the bush edge. Dawn temperatue was minus 2 degrees, inside the hut. Good Nelson frost that.


At the top, the weather cleared long enough for this view of virtually the entirety of Tasman Bay. And people have to ask why we climb?


Looking north you get this view of the Marlborugh sounds, in a misty mood. From the summit there is a 360 degree panaroma, including Tapu-o-enuku, the highest mountain around here ( inland Kaikouras 2800m), and also the red hills.


To the south is the snowy mountains of Nelson Lakes area and, at right, the Redhills. This is an area of red rock, matching the area of the same name and rock type found in the Aspiring area. They used to be one range, and have sheared apart over the milinia along the ( nearly straight) alpine fault line. I have a feeling that the other half of the red hills might very well mark the end of this trip. Seems fitting.


After descending Rintoul, then Old man and a few otherbumps you drop back down to Lake Challice. The track has massive areas of blown over or rockslide bowled trees. This view of Challice was taken from the top of the hill, and marks the end of the first tramp.


On the last day my new Salomon boots came apart (ankle lining bunch up). The rest of my gear went ok, and my body suffered the usual break in, aches and pains. I sent the boots back to Saloman when in Blenheim and they were replaced inside of a week, in which time I went for a look see around the Angelus area (trip 2).