Around 1600 m climbing and descent. Almost 21 km cracked out.

Surprisingly I had grander ambitions, but reality intruded about 2 30 pm when I still had to climb Little Rintoul.

I could have had two huge days to Rocks Hut for Thursday, or three big enough to get to Nelson on Friday.

It was only when I checked my GPS on arrival at Old Man that I realised that my efforts were quite sufficient.

I was up early and left at 7 15 am, the earliest I’ve made a start for the whole summer.

I met various Sobos and probably lost an hour in all, but it wouldn’t have made much difference.

Had an early lunch at Mount Rintoul Hut, where I met a couple who were not on Te Araroa.

The sign there stated five hours to Old Man, you climb both Mt Rintoul, 1731 m, and Little Rintoul, 1643 m, and that is how it eventuated despite the distraction of some phone calls and texts when I couldn’t connect.

There was some misty clouds swirling on Mt Rintoul, no direct sun and fairly cool with a breeze. Still plenty of view to be had for the full day. With the humidity haze the far distance wasn’t discernible, ie, beyond Blenheim to Cook Strait and a little chunk of the North Island. Views down to Nelson and Rabbit Island as well as the full swathe from Separation Point in Abel Tasman National Park down the Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park to Mt Owen and beyond.

Yeah, a classic day’s outing.

Today and tomorrow’s walk were a major incentive of returning to the Alpine Route.

I found the deep scree slope getting up Mt Rintoul fairly taxing, not a lot of adhesion to the mountain, and the climb up Little Rintoul wasn’t as scary as I had remembered. Perhaps hundreds of pairs of boots have forged a decent path up there since I first walked it three years ago.

Some explosives appear to have been used to make one short section easier to traverse.

Other than that you just need a great pair of boots for rock hopping. All in all, a magnificent day out.

An a count of the people encountered for the day.

The two French guys in the hut, the two camping French women, although one was Latvian I later found out. One German woman. Two German sisters. A Swedish woman walking on her own, displaying quite a collection of tattoos. Another German woman walking with a French guy who had cut his hand two days before and had a rest day Rintoul Hut. And the New Zealand guy and Swedish woman at Rintoul Hut for lunch. Finally a Dutch Sobo with a New Zealand guy who was just doing the Alpine Route section.

Made 14 people for the day.

But now I seem to have Old Man Hut to myself.


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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Old Man Hut

Old Man Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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