After flying back south on the 26th of December I jumped straight in my car and headed for the hills, meeting up with Helen Liley, Lynn Kilpatrick and Sylvie Admore on the way! What was supposed an epic 4-5 day adventure up on to the Bracken Snowfield, with possible side trip up Mt Whitcombe, and definite ascents of The Amazons Breast. Ended up being thwarted spectacularly by the weather and nearly resulted in a yard-sale on the Sale Glacier (and yes I have been waiting since we were on that glacier to make that terrible pun)!
So we after destruction of the more expensive tent on the trip we pulled off an early morning hasty retreat back to the valley and headed off to celebrate the new (and hopefully better, weather wise) year elsewhere.
27th-30th December 2018

Managing a few river crossing in order to avoid climbing over Prospect Hill, an optional route choice in low flows of the Rakaia

The Rakaia, the most classic Canterbury high country river valley. Everyone must eventually walk this beauty/slog - depends on your mindset!

Tomtit outside Reischeck Hut

How's that for timing!

Helen and Lynn contemplate life in the Rakaia

Light fades in the Rakaia

Looking for a suitable crossing point on the Rakaia. Route guides recommends upstream of Reischek Hut, and it's worth taking the time to find a good crossing and even in low flows the multiple braids can present a bit of a challenge (and get your shorts wet!)

The Daisy were out in force in the valleys.

Interesting travel in the Lauper Stream

Whitcombe Pass

Heading up the Sale Glacier

The weather was already playing games with us

Looking over towards the Bracken Snowfield, with the Ramsey Glacier below and Mt Evans above. Even though we'd made good time we decided to camp on the Sale as it was fairly sheltered compared with the what was blowing down the Ramsey

Our lovely sheltered (or so we thought) campsite. The wind picked up shortly after we went to bed and built throughout the night, in the wee hours of the morning one of the poles in the red tent snapped causing a hole and the vestibule shredded. Helen and I took out the remaining pole and slept in it bivvy styles for the rest of the night. Just in time for it to start precipitating... Of course the Hubba Bubba was fine!

First light the next morning, we elected to retreat back down the Sale, as it was clear we couldn't spend another night in the red tent and we weren't sure it'd be smart to embark on the unknown Ramsey in poor weather with no tent.

Back off the Sale Glacier, all in reasonably good spirits if still cold and not yet had breakfast!

Sylvie making the most of out unscheduled time in the Rakaia with some mediation, after taking the rest of us through a hut yoga session on the balcony, sandflies included

Helen and I found the snowberries and had a very competitive harvesting session!

Inside Reischeck Hut

Heading back out the Rakaia

Scuby 'I'm a real 4WD' in a Subaru ad with Helen, shortly before proceeded to get stuck and needing to be rescued by a not very impressed farmer.

Map with in and out route from Reischek Hut to our camp on the Sale Glacier marked. Route in and out the Rakaia is straight forward.

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