West Coast – 25-27 March 2022
Bald Hill and Fraser Peak are twin summits on the West Coast’s Bald Hill Range, about 35 kilometres south of Hokitika. While only modest in height – about 1160 metres, these two peaks protrude above the bushline, offering good views of the Mikonui, Tōtara and Whitcombe valleys on either side. In March 2022, a team of Permolat volunteers worked on the route between the peaks, with funding from the Backcountry Trust. The crew included Ted Brennan, Andrew Buglass, Annie Hughes, Jane Morris, Joke de Rike and Geoff Spearpoint.
On 25 March, pilot Matt Newton of Precision helicopters flew the team in from the Tōtara Valley Road. In the first load, Ted and Annie flew with their gear to set up camps at Bald Hill, while the rest of the crew went in a second load to Fraser Peak. This second crew soon ‘made like Irish tunnellers’, cutting through the dense subalpine shrubbery, and worked towards Ted and Annie coming from the Bald Hill side.
The volunteers continued cutting and marking continued on the next day, while on the third they cut and marked towards Tōtara Valley Rd, until running out of time.
Ted and Annie had found on a large orange triangle on the beach by their house, so this was used to mark the turn off from the Bald Hill ridge. Altogether, the volunteers spent 120 person hours.
They plan to finish off tidying up the section of the track near the road end at some other time.