Feb 12 2015

Tunnels Track, Yellow Hut, The Gap, Gap Ridge

Published by under Trampers

Click Silver Peaks Forest for background information on the area.

Accessed from Mountain Road from old forest HQ 6 hr ret, Route, DOC and private land.

(Green Hut access: 41 km from car park.)

11/2/2015. Trampers. The Gap, via Yellow Ridge.

GPS Yellow Ridge to The Gap, courtesy Ken.  We walked just on 12km We climbed 1000mtrs.
ave speed 3km/hr moving time just over 4hrs. Stopped time 3hrs max elevation 700mtrs.

A good number of 6 trampers, & one visitor + dog turned out for the 8:30 start for the tramp to the Gap via Yellow Ridge. 4 members of the group had not been there before, so it was a bit of an experience for them. We started by walking down to the tunnels, for the ones that had not seen them before, then it was along the old water race back onto the main track, where we had morning tea…

Morning tea break. (Ken pic and caption)

Morning tea break. (Ken pic and caption)

…at the grassed area before crossing the Waikouaiti River, & then climbing the steep track up to the new Philip J Cox hut for a breather.
We then carried on towards the Gap, but two of the new members were starting to struggle a bit by now, & as we approached the last couple of climbs up to the Gap, they decided that they would find a nice spot for lunch, & then go back down to the hut & wait for us there. The rest of us carried on to the Gap, where we had lunch,

Lunch at the Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

Lunch at the Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

& admired the views.

View looking north from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

View looking north from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

View looking South west from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

View looking South west from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

View looking South-West from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

View looking South-West from Gap. (Ken pic and caption)

A quick trip was taken up to the trig on the northern side of the Gap to say we had been there, & then it was on with the packs, & back the way we had come. We caught up with the others at the hut, just a few minutes after they had got there, so an extended break was in order for refreshments,…

At Philip J Cox hut on the way back out. (Ken pic and caption)

At Philip J Cox hut on the way back out. (Ken pic and caption)

…& another breather before the steep decent into the Waikouaiti River again.
At this time, one of the group decided that he would start off down the track, thinking that he had told somebody that he was leaving, & it was not until we all got about 15mins down the track that I noticed he was not in our group, & asked where he was. We stood around waiting, thinking that he was still behind us, but in the end I asked our fittest member if he would go back & check. While he was doing this, we decided that the others would go down to the bottom, & see if he was down there, while I stayed to wait on the member we had sent back up the track. All this took approx 1/2 hr to accomplish, so we knew we would be a bit late getting back to the cars. As it turned out, the missing member was at the bottom waiting for the rest of us to arrive, & was very apologetic for his mistake.
We took another break at the grassed area…

Resting at Philip J Cox hut on the way out. (Ken pic and caption)

Resting at Philip J Cox hut on the way out. (Ken pic and caption)

…before we tackled the last climb up the steep track back to the cars. We had decided beforehand to go out the north end of Mountain Rd. as the road is in much better condition at that end. However, when we got to the last locked gate, we couldn’t unlock the padlock with the key that was given to us by City Forests, so it was about turn & drive all the way back to the south end & down to Waitati.
The weather was good, with no wind, & not too hot, & the low cloud that we observed when driving in was non existent when we got to the Gap. This is probably one of the harder tramps that we do, & is one that I might forgo in the future, although I managed it quite well, a result I put down to drinking Gatorade, & more fluids than I normally do on a tramp. – Ken.

14/11/2012 Tunnels Track, Yellow Ridge, The Gap, Gap Ridge

GPS Yellow Ridge to The Gap, courtesy Ken. We climbed just over 1000mtrs.
ave speed 3km/hr
moving time just over 4hrs.
max elevation 668mtrs.

4 intrepid trampers gathered at the Bush Rd. car park before setting off at 8:30am on an adventure that 3 of us had never done before. The fact that Dermot had managed to get a key from City Forests for the gates on Mountain Rd. saved us about 9km of walking time, as we were able to drive right to the start of the Tunnels track. We set off down this track at about 9:30, & went to explore the tunnels themselves, a new experience for 2 of the group. Arriving at the grassy area at the bottom by the river, we had morning tea, & then set off across the river, without getting wet feet, & started the relentless climb up Yellow Ridge. On reaching the new Philip J. Cox hut, we had a short break to regain our breath, admire the hut, it’s fixtures & facilities. {We even swept the floor when we left]

Ready for the next part of the trip. (Ken pic and caption)

The next task was to get to the Gap for lunch, however remote this possibility seemed as, the track actually goes past it, instead of towards it for a while, & you start to wonder when you will be getting closer.

Nearing the top with The Gap showing. (Ken pic and caption)

At this point, one member of the group decided that he would go back to the hut & wait for us there. We eventually did get to the Gap,

Sign at the top. Thank God for something to lean on. (Ken pic [taken by Heb] and caption)

where we had lunch, then a short walk up to the trig on the top of the Northern part of the Gap,

Trig above Gap north rock. (Ken pic and caption)

where the views are magnificent, despite the lowering cloud/fog that had been hanging around all day. We then retraced our steps, carefully, due to the slippery nature of parts of the track that were very steep. Someone commented ” why didn’t they just provide a ladder” !! We stopped again at the Phipip J. Cox hut to have another drink, & to pick up our other group member, who we discovered had left a note for us, saying that he had left the hut 1/2 hr ago, & was making his way slowly back to the car. As we travelled back to the river, & up the Tunnels track, he had left numerous arrow signs, & the time that he had drawn them in the soft ground. So we knew how far in front of us he was, & when I arrived at the car, he had only been there about 3 minutes or so.

Everybody agreed that it was a worthwhile trip, & even although it’s a bit of a ‘gut buster’ it’s worth doing, but the early start, & the gate key is a must if you want to get home at a reasonable time. We made it back to the Bush Rd. car park just after 5pm, & I was home by 5:30pm. – Ken.

20/2/2002 Tunnels Track, Yellow Ridge, The Gap, Gap Ridge Leaders: George, Ian, Hazel
Mountain Road, Tunnels track, Yellow Ridge, the Gap.
On Monday 4 Feb 2002, George Haggie, Hazel Leslie and Ian Fleming receed the route for the Taieri Recreational Tramping Club. We left Green Island meeting point at 8.30. On George’s prompting we drove further north and entered Mountain Road at Merton and drove 17 kms back to the Tunnels Track DoC sign on a good well metalled road arriving there a 9.30.  The south branch of the Waikouaiti River was shallow enough but the track up to the manuka scrub was in poor condition with a large slip crossing it.
Once in the trees conditions improved greatly and it was most pleasant all the way to Yellow Hut which we found to be in poor condition inside.  A DoC sign recommended going any further for experienced trampers only due to Silver Peaks notoriously changing weather conditions.
Beyond the hut we were into large tussock which being largely dry was not too much trouble to wade through although we walked more by faith than sight through the sea of tops, confirming we were still on the track with our feet. in many cases.
The route does a left-hand semicircle on a broad ridge. We lunched at the Gap at 12.15 in a very slight smirry rain but under dry rock overhang.
Returning, the tussock, now wet was much more difficult to push through, with the wet leaves lying lower onto the track, tangling our feet and tripping us up. The notorious steep never-ending climb back up from the Waikouaiti to Mountain Road keeps getting longer with more rest stops as one ages.
We got back to the car at 3 pm and continued round Mountain Road, now striking many potholes with several spots so severe as to be almost impassable.  This part was 13 km from Tunnels Track to Waitati. The sandy road metal contrasts with the rock metal on the northern part and although a few kms shorter and with many main highway kms eliminated  is not to be recommended at the moment. Returned home just on 5 pm, having driven 103 kms.
23/2/2000. The Gap via Yellow Hut. Leaders: Margaret and Les, Ian.
12/11/1997. Tunnels Track to Yellow Hut and Gap. Leaders: Les and Margaret, Claude.

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