Gear to bring on a mountain adventure

This would be a minimum that I would take for a Tararua adventure. I would add to it if the weather looked wet/cold, or I was on my own.
NEVER be overconfident in Tararua…..Always PLAN your trip well and leave intentions times etc. Always turn back if worried the main things that can get you are
Rivers
Cold
Getting lost
Falling (always take run spikes if there will be snow)

Wearing a wool or poly pro t shirt
Hat and gloves…A spare dry hat is always great so much heat is in the head.
Two long sleeve tops as spare
Long johns or over trousers
A  good jacket this may be your most impt bit of kit. 
First aid kit: Painkillers, tape!!! Tape is sooooo important for blisters. No doze for caffiene boost
Torch (always take regardless of length of run esp in winter) Spare batts
Cell phone …beware if they get wet they die Use a free gps like Viewranger which has NZ topo maps. I do find it a bit hit and miss at times it doesnt get gps. 
Fire lighting equipment (matches and candle stubs)
Survival tube that you can crawl into – ie. more than a blanket.
Map (and a way to keep it dry while in use) Get good map and compass skills….
Compass
PLB for missions (They are 400 ish now for brand new)
GPS Garmin etrex is great ..Spare batts for missions. Load the gpx as a colour and take glasses as screen small …Download topo maps
Pack to keep everything in, plus a plastic bag to keep things dry.
Food & Drink (extra gels as back up)
ALSO Poles are great for big missions and they are sooo light now and can be folded up.
Last thing always check the car and house one last time before you leave so you don’t forget anything…..
Take gators or long trou for winter snow runs if you cut through ice shins hurt
VIEWRANGER
At least on Android phones with newer operating system versions (ie. version 6 or higher) I’ve found ViewRanger to work quite well, picking up GPS quickly even in the Tararuas. I suspect acquiring GPS lock has a lot to do with the phone and model itself, rather than the ViewRanger App. Add this to the fact that you can now buy waterproof phones and cases for a reasonable price and its really a win win situation with the color screen and the capability to bring along an extra lightweight USB battery (and the ability to charge the phone without having to replace batteries). And you get an emergency torch with it was well (as others have used on SK attempts !) As you experienced yourself on High Ridge, those Garmins can also be glitchy and sometimes just don’t work when you really need them to work. Neither of them will give accurate positions in a steep sided gorge or ravine. As you say, you should always have a map and compass to go along with them.

 

Viktor Šafář
Viktor Šafář Viewranger is really down to the model of the phone. My previous LG G2 worked perfectly, my current S5 almost never locks while in NZ .
Christopher Martin
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Tararua 101                                                                Tim Sutton 2016

Weather

So for about 80% of the year the weather’s pretty inclement in the Tararuas and when the Northerly really cranks up it’s best to be in the bush and away from the tops. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near those magic tops in a Southerly storm.

The golden rule which has seldom failed me is to wait for the tail end of a Southerly, after the front has gone through and just before the wind turns back to the North. This usually gives you a 24hr window of relatively settled weather so it’s great to be flexible and looking ahead when planning a big adventure.

 

 The Mountain forecast on the met service gives wind speed estimates. Unlike metropolitan forecasts where wind-speed refers to peak gusts, the speed indicated will be constant and relentless on the tops.

A lot of bush trails have multiple stream crossings which can go from barely a trickle to a flooded torrent in no time. It’s best to avoid the Tararuas when there is heavy rain forecast or if it has been raining for some time, unless you know that your planned route is safe in these conditions.

It’s always good to know what’s forecast for the following day after venturing into the hills in case you end up with an unplanned overnighter.

Water

It’s worth planning ahead and knowing where the water sources on your planned route are. Water is heavy so if you know there’s a hut at the top of a big climb then it’s easier and quicker to carry just enough to get you there and then top up for the next section. Rivers and streams in the park are a good source too and generally potable without treatment, topo maps are incredibly accurate in planning to use these. There are also a lot of Tarns (small ponds) on the tops which are fine to drink from when treated with aquatabs. You can get these at most outdoor stores.

A point worth remembering is if you’re heading into the hills over the middle of winter is water pipes at higher altitude huts can freeze. Again the Metservice mountain forecast will give you freezing level in altitude, so you can compare that with hut height on your map and carry extra water if there’s a chance you’ll need it. This has caught me out on the Jumbo-Holdsworth Circuit with both Jumbo and Powell water pipes freezing up.

Streams and Tarns also disappear with fresh snowfall.

Food

This is all very specific to what works for you, eat often, before you’re feeling hungry. Caffeine pills and electrolite tabs are worth taking on the long adventures. Take enough extra food to get you through an unplanned night in the bush.

Gear

I’ll just list what I’d take on a big day in the hills, again it’s good to know what the forecast is a day after you mean to be out of the bush in case you get stuck out overnight and pack with that in mind.

A PLB (personal locator beacon) is the single best investment you could make if you plan to spend time in the backcountry, they’re not cheap but if it saves your life then price is a relative thing. We have a family one that we share for when somebody wants to go adventuring, and that kept the cost down. A PLB takes the search out of search and rescue 🙂 Never use this as a reason to go into the hills when you wouldn’t usually just because you’re carrying a PLB, I hope to never have to use mine.

There is also cellphone coverage in places along the tops, great for checking in with people at home on big adventures. Spark and Vodafone are the best bet, 2degrees is rubbish. Don’t rely on being able to call out. I also keep my phone off until I need to use it as the hills drain the battery quickly.

Summer adventures:

-Waterproof Jacket and Pants

-Thermal top and bottoms

-Thermal Gloves and Hat

-Lightweight first-aid kit

-Emergency Bag (not blanket)

-Topo map and Compass

-Cellphone

-Head torch & spare batteries (I also carry a lightweight emergency head torch, mainly for main torch battery changes in the dark)

-First aid kit/lightweight (crepe bandage, strapping tape, painkillers)

-GPS

-PLB

-Food and Water

Winter Adventures: Clothes you plan to run in plus –

-Waterproof Jacket and Pants

-Thermal top and bottoms

-Thermal Gloves and Hat

-Insulated Jacket (waterproof down or synthetic)

-Lightweight first-aid kit

-Emergency Bag

-Topo map and Compass

-Cellphone

-Head torch & spare batteries (I also carry a lightweight emergency head torch, mainly for main torch battery changes in the dark)

-First aid kit/lightweight (crepe bandage, strapping tape, painkillers)

-GPS

-PLB

-Lightweight down sleeping bag if I’m going deep into the hills and there’s a chance I’ll get caught out for the night.

-Dry-bag to hold everything

-Food and Water

Wet emergency gear is not very efficient so I try to keep it dry by all means possible, if you’re putting on the last of your gear it’s worth considering whether it’s time to bail.

Most of the time you’ll never use most of the gear but once in a while you’ll use everything and be reminded why you take it and stoked that you did.

Navigation

Some tracks are better than others. A trail that is easy to follow in the daylight and nice weather can be very easy to lose when the clag (clouds) rolls in or at night. Tree fall is common in the bush and can make re-finding the trail on the other side difficult. If you find yourself off trail, backtrack immediately until you rejoin the trail. If you haven’t seen a trail marker recently make sure you are still on the trail and backtrack if necessary until you spot a marker. A GPS takes a lot of the work out of navigating, but it’s still important to carry a map and compass as they are not failsafe.

Planning/Safety

Always tell someone of your intentions:

-time in

-planned route

-alternative poor weather routes if forced off the tops by the weather

-planned time out and what time to sound the alarm if you haven’t come out. (Remember when estimating this that Tararua trips can take longer than planned due to many things i.e. unknown routes, bad weather, tree fall, minor injuries etc. so factor this in)

-know your bail out options prior to heading in and be prepared to use them if the weather turns too nasty, the hills will be there next time.

-let your contact person know when you’re back out

Always know what the weather is doing up to 24hrs after you plan to be out and plan your route accordingly.

Tararua footprints has great basic information for pretty much every route you could think of in the park and great for adventure planning:http://www.ttc.org.nz/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TararuaFootprints/HomePage

Most importantly, have fun, it’s a wonderful playground! 🙂

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