With 23 officially ‘going’ on the trip and more besides, there was 30-ish of us all told that headed up to sphinx this past weekend, including several first-time ski-trippers.
On Saturday the weather could not have been better. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in sight. It was even warm enough for Katherine and Nick to decide going swimming was a good idea. Of course going up the switchbacks there was mostly just trees in sight, but crossing the lake the view really was amazing.
Being a large group, we were quite spread out skinning up. Some of the earlier arrivals took advantage of the glorious afternoon and went skiing, while those of us that arrived later and/or tireder decided to wait till the next day.
As the sun dropped behind the mountains the hut filled. It was warm and cozy, and never overly crowded with a rush of people all trying to cook dinner at the same time; cooking times were spread out and some people cooked outside. Plus a no-pack rule was implemented.
Due to a temperature inversion, it was -20 ish during the night, leading to a few tenters who had been expecting more like -5 to decide the hut was a better option.
In celebration of Waitangi Day Katherine brought tim-tam slams, which were enjoyed by all. ( Vegimite was enjoyed by considerably fewer.) Kate brought hockey-pockey as well.
Multiple ukuleles were brought up and so the evening ended with music, and around 10 we all decided it was time to sleep.
Sunday morning saw a variety of activities, with a group going up Guard, some skiing to the top of Deception Glacier, some going part way up (but the best skiing was at the bottom anyway – there was a beautiful powder slope at the bottom, but the rest was icy).
Then it was time to head back across the lake and down the switchbacks. Headlamps came out partway down as we finished in the dark.
At the Shady Tree we met the Phelix group. Altogether a great weekend for skiing.
And thanks to Katherine for organizing!