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February 2022 Issue
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Huts and babies

Huts and babies

When I see stories on the cover or contents page about getting into the hills with a young family (January 2022), I skip straight to them as I’m the mum of a 10-month-old.

I am yet to read one that tackles the tricky questions about sleeping in a hut with a baby: Does your little one sleep through the night? (Ours doesn’t!) Or if they disturb other trampers, what is the reaction? (I’d be surprised if anyone thinks crying is no worse than snoring.) Where do babies sleep? (Because I don’t imagine a porta cot is carried.)

My worry about other hut users’ enjoyment and other practicalities of sleep is the main thing holding us back from doing an overnight trip. I would love to hear the good, the bad and the ugly from families who have done it, or from trampers who have shared a hut with a baby.

– Adele Garrick

Adele wins a Leatherman Skeletool worth $189.99 from Readers, send your letter to the editor for a chance to win outdoor gear.

Greek legends

I noticed Shaun Barnett missed what to my mind is the greatest region of all in his article ‘See more… Greek Legend’ (December 2021): the peaks of the Route Burn and Rock Burn area, which incidentally are amongst my favourite places.

Starting from south-west going north-east, these are Xenicus, Erebus, Momus, Somnus, Nereus, Nox, Minos, Chaos, Amphion, Sarpedon, Poseidon, Niobe, and Tantalus. Cosmos is just across the Beans Burn. Across the Dart River is Pluto, just off Mt Earnslaw, with Cerberus to the north. Finally, across the Rees Valley and overlooking the Shotover is the Centaur Peaks.

I make this 17 peaks in this area all named from Greek mythology.

– Dave McLean

As a geography teacher, I love maps which is why they appear everywhere from my laptop skin through to my cufflinks. Barnett’s article reminded me of a great map produced by the highly talented Andrew Douglas-Clifford. ‘The South Island Greek Mythology Map’ takes this idea to the next level and, as well as recently being an excellent gift for a classics teacher colleague, helps one to explore the South Island from a unique perspective. I encourage anyone with an appreciation of maps in all their creative splendour to check out the work of Andrew, aka The Map Kiwi.

– David Haddon

Lightweight gear too expensive

Matthew Cattin’s exercise in lightning his pack load by replacing his current gear with lighter versions (‘It all adds up’, December 2021) was interesting. It’s fine for those who can afford to replace their gear and equipment but for most of us, affordability is an issue. I’d love to buy the Patagonia raincoat to replace my Kathmandu coat or my foam roll for the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir, but I couldn’t afford it. Isn’t tramping for everyone and not just the rich? It would be more helpful if the article provided ideas for people on a budget.

– Kim Jones

School holiday tramping programme

I read with interest the articles about taking kids tramping. During the school holidays, the Tararua Tramping Club runs grandparent trips on weekdays when parents are under pressure to be at work. Trips currently cover primary school children. We go away for one or two nights aiming to give new experiences to the children such as snow in winter and camping in summer. 

As experienced trampers, it is easy for us to take the children out. Sometimes it’s harder to organise the parents. 

We have found the Macpac Torlesse 30-litre Junior to be an excellent pack – no more complaints of sore necks and backs and the pack cover is attached so it can’t get lost.

The advice I found once was that kids shouldn’t carry more than 15 per cent of their body weight and this has proven to be a useful guide. The grandkids love the trips while we grandparents enjoy other adult company, too.

– Peggy Munn

Moerangi MTB Track truly is the best 

Re: ‘Magical descents on the North Island’s best’ (January 2022), I rode the Moerangi Track four years ago with my son and his friend, when the track was damaged due to huge slips. There was a lot of carrying of bikes and gear up and around the slips, overnighting at Skips Hut and many trips over the handlebars, a hind in a clearing and a broken derailleur on the descent from the highest point. It rained for two days, shrouding the forest in mist in true Urewera style.

This truly is a fabulous ride providing a peek into the majesty of Te Urewera and a look into the Whirinaki for those who do not go backcountry too often. It’s also an accessible ride. A great two-day trip covering the full loop from Minginui with an overnighter at Skips or Rogers huts. 

Just remember, as with any backcountry riding, be sure to take tools and spares. It’s a long way to push your bike out.

– Steve Edmonds

Avalanche fatality survey

For such a serious subject I did have to smile at the article ‘Climbing avalanche deaths under investigation’ (January 2022). Why would MSC spend money on trying to find out why mountaineers are over-represented in avalanche fatalities? Can I save them the cost and also give them the answers:

1. The reason mountaineers are over-represented in avalanche fatalities in New Zealand is that, basically, only mountaineers are in avalanche-prone areas.

2. Why, compared to Canada, are New Zealand avalanche mountaineer fatalities higher compared to non-mountaineers? In Canada, snowfall is in livable areas so they have the likes of snowmobilers, cross country skiers, hikers, hunters, farmers, oil workers all working and operating in avalanche-prone areas. This situation lowers the average of just mountaineers getting caught in an avalanche.

I hope this is helpful to MSC and they can invest their money elsewhere.

– John Turner