Snow Caving Trip

We dug a hole in the snow and slept in it

Date: 06/09/15 to 08/09/15
Location: Mt. Ruapehu
Trampers: Sam Hood, Sam Granger, Sam Lancaster-Robertson, David Zeng, Jamie Corkill, Marc Reinhardt, Joshua Thorensen, Sophie Jenkins, Hamish Buckley, and guest starrin Tim Bulmer

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That is what happened. After a night spent at Sophie’s bach in National Park village, with people arriving continuously throughout the night, we headed up the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu the next morning. The climb up the mountain was gorgeous, but turned lengthier than expected in our bid to avoid some avalanchey-looking routes up. And so it was that approximately two thirds up the mountain, we begun the major task of digging a ten-man snow cave. Thankfully, the snow layers agreed with us. Some time later, with some help from Tim the spontaneous visitor, we decided it was done. As the sun set, we lit some candles inside (for those who are skeptical like I was, it is a very good idea), entered the cave and admired the impressive result. All was well. Then we realized it was cooking time… So it was that we ended up taking half hour turns at cooking outside, in the biting -20°C cold of the night. Gloves froze in less than a minute. Gusts of snow-loaded wind cut our faces. It was harsh. Yet some people appeared to remain strangely comfortable in these conditions. Two and a half hours later, dinner was served.

Snow Caving 1

We went through the night very comfortably, huddled and toasty. The next day started with a cooked breakfast, followed by an awesome hike up exploring the summit plateau of Mt. Ruapehu. Afterwards, some of us skied down from the top while others hiked back. I think I’ll just include more photos to convey how much fun we had, and we’ll just call it a photo report. It was truly a fantastic trip.

Written by Maud Tissink

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