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Heels 1973

"Frozen Sox At Dawn"

page 20

"Frozen Sox At Dawn"

It was incredibly cold, but there appeared to be little snow around, so we shoved our crampons back into the car and gleefully-boarded the Lake Rotoroa "ferry". By mid-afternoon, as we wandered up the D'Urville, there seemed to be quite a few ice needles and other cold-looking objects around - chilly it was too - even Brian was feeling the nip in the air. However it's not every mountain holiday you manage to see not one cloud in 5 days - so Brian soon stopped complaining.

Next morning, (or was it afternoon?) we decided Moss Pass was on. The question was, would it go? Toothurty saw us at the bottom of "the grunt". Six o'clock saw three crumpled wrecks at the top - one will wonder, was there any daylight left? - of course not you twits, it was mid-winter's day and the sun was on short hours. Good day though! Now came the question of crampons - the gut we would be forced to descend looked rather menacing in the darkness, hadn't seen sun for at least 8 hours and hence was a mite hard - even for knives and forks.

A comical sight would have greeted some nocturnal pase-wanderer that night. The discerning reader will of course wonder why all the essential items were left behind - or is it in the usual Vuwtc blundering style? In fact stacked-up packs make parvellous tent poles, and plastic bags filled with snow do nicely when you can't see any rocks - so take heed all you up-and-coming bivvyers.

Frozen Sox at Dawn was the challenge - 9 o'clock to be precise, but it was still quite a challenge - feelings like, I'll chop my feet off soon if they don't get into these bloody boots.

So it was with great anticipation that we awaited the food and sunshine down at Blue Lake. One monster demonstration later by New Zealand's champion female bogger - to the edification and surprise of all present, not forgetting the lady (?) herself - and we were Off.

Ask Nick anytime what it's like washing in Blue Lake after mid-winter's day, and he'll be only too happy to pour a bucket of frigid meltwater over you. A quick jaunt up to Lake Constance, with triple sumersault and pike, and we were ready to face the Sabine, Bye bye Waiau Pass - you didn't look all that inviting anyway. Another early start (would you believe midday?!) saw us streaking down the Sabine trying to catch the sun further downvalley.

One camp later, two boatridges, a few bogs, three showers and we hit Wellington. Readers will be thrilled to learn that we left Brian in Picton.

Nick Logan, Russell Millington, Marion Kolston - not forgetting your friend and ours, Brian.