To learn more about the Training Grant, or to apply, visit the FMC website. You can also visit the Nelson Tramping Club and/or Marlborough Tramping Club websites if you’d like to join or learn more about those clubs
After an early start from Nelson or Blenheim we all met up at the top Mount Robert car park, Nelson Lakes National Park. Those going to Lake Angelus went on ahead. Before setting off our leader, Debbie, gave a demonstration of how to put crampons on and adjust them. We practised putting them on, then attached ice axes and crampons to our packs. We set off up the zig-zag Pinchgut Track, getting used to the weight of our overnight packs.
At a couple of places we stopped to decide where on the map we might be, taking every chance to practice our navigation skills. Higher up we had a break for smoko and then carried on up until coming out onto the tops.
Carrying on to Mount Robert summit, our team wandered along the ridge to the original ski basin, then angled off to the ol’ ski huts for our base for the night.
We all stayed in Robert Lodge which was built in the 1950s, close to Christie Lodge which was built in the 1960s.
The huts can be booked: $20 per adult per night and $12 for school age children. Pots, pans, cutlery and crockery are provided and there is an indoor toilet. There are also blankets and other bedding in the bunk room area. Rainbow ski field was developed when the snowfall on Mt Robert became unreliable.
Being late in the season, snow was in short supply, so after lunch we went looking for bigger spots of the white stuff, as far as Christie Ridge.
On the way back three of the women in our group sat down and reverted to childhood as they slid down the snow grass, with shrieks of laughter. Back at the lodge for dinner, Debbie was relieved that not all the fifty or so people who had enquired about the trip turned up! With the size of the group we had, it all worked well.
On Sunday morning we woke to the sound of a strong gusty wind. After breakfast we set off up to the ridge again in search of snow to practise on. On some small patches of firm snow we practised kicking steps with our boots. When we came to bigger areas of snow it was time to put our crampons on. The students were shown how to make sure that all points of the crampons were on the snow, and the various methods of using an ice axe.
Shortly before Julius Summit we had a lunch break and then most of us went up to the top of the ridge from where there were beautiful views and firm snow to practice our crampon use.
A great weekend of introduction to the alpine; thank you to Debbie for organizing the trip and to FMC for supporting us with a Training Grant.
Nelson Tramping Club was awarded a FMC Training Grant: a cash grant to enable this snow skills weekend which was run in combination with the Marlborough Tramping Club. To learn more or apply, visit the FMC website.