Trip Report – Jumbo Hut overnighter, 29-30 July ‘23
Following a week of not so nice weather and several good dumpings of snow on the
tops, Saturday’s weather was one out of the box. Five of us (Sandra, Katrina,
Melanie, Michelle and Tony (trip leader)) left Holdsworth carpark mid-morning
making made our way along the Atiwhakatu Track to Atiwhakatu Hut taking 2 hrs
give or take for a late morning smoko / early lunch. Then we prepared ourselves for
the immediate and seemingly relentless climb up to Jumbo Hut taking a number of
stops to admire the view aka catch our breath.
At 920 mtrs we encountered our first snow (Jumbo sits at approx.1220 mtrs) and it
gradually got more widespread and thicker as we continued our climb to the hut. We
met a fellow tramper coming down the hill who said she had tried to go across the
tops but the snow was thigh high and too difficult to make the attempt (we had also
met another couple on their way up the hill who were heading to McGregor Bivvy for
the night however they turned back after reaching the hut and deciding against
proceeding further due to the snow conditions).
Once at the hut we claimed our beds for the night and set about chopping firewood
which was very wet. Luckily, we had taken kindling and firelighters and soon got a
fire going. There were plenty of “volunteers” willing to look after the fire and while it
wasn’t a roaring sensation, it did help take the chill of a little at least.
While Jumbo Hut sleeps 20, there were 22 occupants that night, fortunately not too
many snorers. Overnight there were great views back across the Wairarapa and in
the morning we were greeted with a very nice sunrise and another fine calm day for
our trip back down the hill. We should have brought skis with us as several of us did
end up on our butts on the way down in the icy track conditions.
We met Margaret B. at Atiwhakatu Hut for another late smoko / early lunch after
which we strolled back out to the car park. It was a great trip and although the snow
stopped us from walking out across the tops, the fine / calm conditions and great
company made for a very good weekends trip.