An early start. The stars were fully out when I went out, err, for a look early on.

Last time I was at Roebuck, last Easter, a family and their conversation, and a wet tent, I stayed outside, meant some procrastination about departure.

Today there’s no excuses. I’m on my own, and had a decent sleep.

It was only 14 km of walking yesterday, some of that down the ridge to the Pelorus River track, and I note I spent about four hours in motion, my GPS records that information. It took most of the day.

I departed Roebuck at 7 30 am, and commenced my clamber up Conical Knob. The track seemed fairly obvious, there are plenty of old Permolat markers to be seen, but on a couple of occasions I managed to lose sight of them for a while. I just kept moving up along the ridge, and eventually found them once again.

The last section before Conical Knob is the steepest, some grappling with hands was required.

I popped out onto the official DOC track, Middy to Fell Huts, and still had time for an early lunch before 12 pm. Then the track drops a bit before starting the climb up to The Chain.

Just getting up to the base is a fair grunt. I’ve become blasé about shuffling around above the substantial drop, must be 80 odd metres down to the forest, but while the path is less than 2 m wide there is a horizontal section of chain to provide some reassurance. Then the vertical section which is probably 60 m long on a 40° angle to haul myself up.

Once up the top I was bouncing across the snow grass. The views were the full 360° but even in the early afternoon there was plenty of low cloud about down in the valleys, and obscuring the view towards Nelson. Mt Fishtail was looking fairly gnarly.

The track then stretches along a ridge for a kilometre or two before the last big climb up Mt Fell. Parts of that are steep, scrabbling with hands to drag myself upwards required.

From the top of Mt Fell, 1601 m, it was all downhill to Mt Fell Hut.

Except I wasn’t sure exactly where the hut had been recently relocated from the original location, where it had been since 1964. That had been deemed unsafe due to a possible slip, and the Navy had used a helicopter to relocate it nearby. Somewhere. The Nelson Tramping Club had done a lot of work in getting the hut into a fully habitable condition.

Just below the original site a sign indicated the new location was further down the track towards the Wairau, and there it was, in the middle of a large clearing. The sun was still shining.

The view was not towards the Marlborough Sounds as had been at the old location, now it looks into the Wairau, Blenheim. A fair chunk of the North Island visible.

It was after 4 30 pm when I rolled in, still feeling okay.

After all that climbing for the day it didn’t take long to hop into my sleeping bag.

It’s a flying visit, I’m scooting straight back down to Middy Creek Hut tomorrow.

← Day 2 | Down the hill to Roebuck Hut Day 4 | Back down to Middy Creek Hut →