Pinnacle Ridge loop – Clockwise.
Margaret, Phil, Nigel and Sandra were up for the challenge of completing this loop the opposite to the usual plan, and the opposite direction to the previous MTC Pinnacle ridge loop trip.
We departed the Holdsworth car-park at 8am in grey skies, with the forecast promising light drizzle and clearing. We made good progress along the Atiwhakatu track, only meeting a couple of people walking out from the hut, and one runner heading in. We reached the Atiwhakatu hut for morning tea at 10am. There was a very happy bunch of over-nighters at the hut, the children helping saw firewood from a fallen tree.
After our hot drinks we left the Atiwhakatu footpath, knowing that the next section of track was slightly narrower and overgrown. It was also a bit boggy, with sections fallen into the river, and no new sidle track over the slip – much to Margaret’s disappointment. We filled our water bottles at the swing bridge, said ‘hi’ to another runner, and ascended the gravelly zigzag hill to the saddle.
Nigel only had to use his saw twice since leaving the hut! We carried on past the Baldy signpost, and lunched at the ridge junction.
By this time, the sun was still hiding behind the clouds, but did slowly start to reach us through the trees after our lunch and as we headed along the ridge. We stopped at each of the viewpoints, looking over to the clouds on Jumbo and Baldy. Continuing past the track junctions that headed back to the river, we continued along the ridge and one last short climb to get to the Pinnacle Ridge high point for afternoon tea.
Literally 2minutes after we left the HP, the sun burst through the clouds, and stayed out for the remainder of the walk. We reached the car-park at 530pm, after a slightly slow decent of the main hill and lovely walk alongside the Atiwhakatu River on the ‘A’ trap line. There was quite a lot of conversation about the pros and cons of clockwise vs anticlockwise.