You Don't have to be a Gun or Organized
''We didn’t climb any new routes or many old ones either''
Quote Rex McDonald Moraine Creek Hut Book.
For many years evil stories were circulated around the Bivouac about the mysterious place called the Te Puoho where nearly all the "guns” went at some stage or other to play Moddy Boys. And it came about one day when my ego was inflated by many jugs of amber fluid that I mentioned to an equally inflated Lew that there was an easy way into the Te Puoho. He agreed – “All you have to do is climb Revelation with a 60lb pack and you're there".
Then some time later I let slip at the Bivouac that I was thinking of going there. At this the wily Jones immediately pounced saying “I was thinking of going there too”. So just to preserve the harmony of the flat we invited Jones, warning him that he would have to train all summer by consuming much amber fluid, for it was rumoured that the Te Puoho was a wet place.
And that was more or less all the organisation until February, when we met in Dunedin for a training session at the Gardens Tavern.
Quote Jones: “Yeah, I've written a letter to this other guy, telling him he can come. Haven’t had a reply but he’ll come”.
And at the 11th hour Lewis and Cambridge scoured out their “mouldy food” supply and headed for the Darrans. After a wet trip (in fine weather) we arrived. Jones was to follow in his friend's car two days later. Lewis and Cambridge headed up Moraine Creek with huge packs. After many “mountain appreciation'' stops and swims definitely not caused by unfitness we arrived at the hut and had a polar bear contest in a pool nearby the hut. Lew being only skin and bone felt the cold and dived out as quickly as he dived in, swearing off swimming forever. Jones was due that day - he didn't show.
Next morning still no Jones, so the lads go for a walk towards Apirana. Mainly through lack of initiative or laziness (we couldn't be bothered finding the proper way) we found ourselves about an hour later on some slabs that seemed to be getting steeper, the holds smaller and the Cambridge scareder. Anyway, neither of us wanted to reverse it and there wasn't much to tie onto anyway so after knocking out a few holds with my trembling knees I followed Lewis. Anyway, to cut a long story short we finally piked at the start of the serious climbing because we saw a few clouds instead of any logical place to go and went back to the hut. Still no Jones.
Later that night - just as Lew and I were completely embarrassed by a solitary girl tramper who managed to get a fire going while we could only manage a smouldering fizzer. Jones arrived after hitching from Dunedin (the hitching up Moraine Creek is notoriously bad). His friend didn't show. “Aha” cried the lot of us. Rations for four and only three mouths. What better start for a trip?
Next morning, because we couldn't think of an excuse not to, we, sweated up the bluffs on Revelation. This was uneventful apart from getting “gripped up'' a few times and an attempt by Jones to kill me by throwing a boulder the size of my pack at me. I am now convinced though, that it must have been an accident because Jones is no fool and I did have one third of the tucker.
Anyway, after I stopped shaking and cleaned up the brown stains we wandered on around the Korako Ledges over good rock with terrific views and then up to the Karako Glacier. Our heavy packs caused several mountain appreciation stops, but it was just one of those days when it didn’t matter. We amused ourselves for a while throwing, pebbles down a line that Price and Helm tried to climb on the south face of Revelation. The pebbles hit the glacier a thousand feet below before they hit the rock. We reassured ourselves that we climbed for enjoyment.
After a few interesting moments avoiding slots we found ourselves at the start of the climbing. Only a few pitches, but Lew, who had been there before suggested a line that would avoid a couple of bits that would be nasty with a heavy pack. The three of us sat down, each suddenly involved in searching in his pack waiting for someone to volunteer to lead. After a quick look, I was sure that I could run out a rope length without having to do anything hard. Then one of the others would have to do the hard bit. I got to the bottom of the hard bit. “Belay here? I must be just about out of rope?''. Hopefully “No, only half way”. Thinks, oh shit, looks right........ left....... no way. Moves up ... pike ... back down - ten minutes - still standing looking at it - give it one more try before piking; look at valley floor between feet – heave, grunt, struggle, then up - hand jams and pull up with 501b packs are exciting, especially with 3,000 feet exposure. I didn't feel so bad when the others had to work to get up it too. From there two more enjoyable pitches (including a Bivouac Hallway Bridging Crack) took us to the top of Revelation just as the sun was going down. The view was incredible, it must be the most aptly named peak I’ve seen. Cameras clicked in all directions After a spell on top it was only a short scramble down beautiful rock to a campsite on the glacier.
Next morning look out of the tent and see clouds, mist, etc. Make a half hearted attempt to get through. wild tangle of slots. No obvious or even feasible ways down the glacier. As we discussed possibilities back at our campsite drizzle sets in. Decision out of our hands. Pike. Improve the campsite and pitch the fly as a lean-to over the bivy tent using snow blocks as shelter walls and tent poles. Light rain sets in. Relief at pit day cos we're all a bit stuffed from day before. It rains some more. By the end of the day our pits are getting wet – they were only damp the night before. Anyway there's lots of good tucker, and even if Jones does moan and groan a lot (especially) he does have one redeeming virtue; a pressure cooker.
The Biv is wet. So are our pits, it's still raining next morning. Pit day. Three in bivy tent is not comfortable. But the company is good (apart from Jones and Lewis) and a good time was had by all. It is a pleasant day. As much as it is possible to have a pleasant day in wet pits, in a crowded bivvy tent, in bad weather, at over 6,000 feet, on a cold glacier, when the only way out is over a 7,000 foot mountain.
Anyway, the next morning it stops raining and shows a few signs of clearing so we are up, packed and away by mid morning. Sodden pits compress really well. Scrambling back up Revelation we are warm for the first time in days. Waste no time on top but search for the gear that Kev Helm and the Scots abseiled off 10 days ago. We find it and away except for poor old Colin who has to climb back up the rope to find out why it is jamming. But we let him take his pack off first. One more abseil (off Scott gear again ha ha) and we're back on the glacier and all the tensions off.
After a couple of food and drying up stops we arrived back at the hut in good spirits. Ten minutes later it started to piss down again. Happiness is heavy rain on a hut roof. Even wet pits didn’t see seem so bad that night. Next morning after I cooked them a magnificent breakfast Jones and Lewis left me watching their spray as they disappeared down valley at a Tararua pace the bastards. But because I had the car keys I still bet them into the hot showers at Murray Gunn's. A great finish to the most enjoyable trip of the summer.
- Digitized from Antics 1975