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June 2011 Issue
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Dore Pass Centenary

Climbing out of the Clinton Valley. Photo: Aat Vervoorn

The 100th anniversary of JBC Dore’s crossing of what later became known as Dore Pass was commemorated in April by descendents of Dore’s.

Dore, together with Frank Dysaski and Jack McGavock, made the first crossing of the pass on April 12, 1911. A century later, to the day, a group of JBC’s descendants plus wedded hangers-on – 28 people in all, aged 7 to 66 – paid their respects by making the journey to the pass which overlooks Lake Te Anau and the Clinton River.

There were plenty of anxieties before setting out: the route’s notoriety, weather, navigation, the size of the party and unfamiliarity with most of the others coming along, their fitness and experience, and the knowledge that many sensible people go bush to escape their relatives….

DOC Te Anau staff saw the day as an occasion to improve track marking and (coincidentally) were on hand should anything go wrong. In fact, everything went brilliantly.

A winding column of trampers stretched from the northern end of the high sidle to pretty well the pass itself, while the DOC helicopter littered the pass with staff, stakes and more Dores.

A solitary American travelling in the opposite direction complained good-naturedly that he’d been told Dore Pass would be a great wilderness experience.

– Aat Vervoorn