From Roebuck the unmaintained track, since 1994, goes straight into a 500 m climb from the hut door, then there’s a flat patch for a bit and you do another more vertical bit, 500 m, the top 200 m skirting some bluffs in a steepish way.
The old track still has the old white permolat markers at regular intervals but the ridges are generally well enough defined to not really need them other than for reassurance. The vegetation is hammered by goats on that side of the river, I saw six in a bunch, there may have been more, then a bleating young kid trying to catch up.
Once up Conical Knob the track is well marked with the standard orange DOC markers. 1000 m of climbing done, but there’s still another 1000 with all the ups and downs.
North Peak, Point 1496, is still a thrill, first the steep climb through the mountain beech forest then out in the fresh air on The Chain, trying not to concentrate on the long way down although little chance of falling.
Just getting ready for the final climb of the day, getting up Mount Fell, I noticed my little pouch had the zip open and was empty. I had my coat on, it was really blowing, my coat flapping around and I hadn’t noticed the loss of my GPS and ELB emergency locator beacon.
Man, I’ve taken them with me for over 200 days tramping over the last three years, that was not good. I dropped my pack and headed back unencumbered. I had stopped at the top of The Chain, maybe I dropped them there. I distinctly remembered looking at my GPS at the bottom.
Sometime ago I tied some bright pink ribbon to each of them, an otherwise black pouch and black GPS, so I should be able to make them out where they dropped. Fortunately they were sitting very obvious on the snow grass.
Now that was an hour of my life gone, there must be a lesson in there, like do up your zips.
I watched the sun set as I made my way down from Mount Fell towards the hut, not much happening over the Kahurangi but Mount Fishtail and the hills and sky in that direction, east, looked impressive.
Quite dark when I finally made it to the hut.