To learn more about the Training Grant, or to apply, visit the FMC website. You can also visit the Nelson Tramping Club and/or Marlborough Tramping Club websites if you’d like to join or learn more about those clubs

After an early start  from Nelson or Blenheim we all met up at  the  top Mount Robert car park, Nelson Lakes National Park.   Those  going  to  Lake  Angelus  went  on  ahead.  Before  setting  off our  leader, Debbie,  gave  a  demonstration  of  how  to  put  crampons  on  and  adjust  them.   We  practised  putting  them  on,  then attached ice axes and  crampons  to  our  packs.  We  set  off up  the  zig-zag  Pinchgut Track,  getting used to the weight of our overnight packs. 

At a couple of places we stopped to decide  where on  the map we might be, taking every chance to practice our navigation skills. Higher up we had a break for smoko and then carried on up  until  coming  out  onto the tops.

Carrying on to Mount  Robert  summit, our team wandered along the ridge to the original ski basin, then angled off to the ol’ ski huts for our base for the night.

We all  stayed in Robert Lodge which was built in the 1950s, close to Christie Lodge which was built in the 1960s. 

The huts can be booked:  $20 per adult per night and $12 for school age children. Pots, pans, cutlery  and  crockery  are  provided  and  there  is  an  indoor  toilet.  There  are  also  blankets and  other  bedding  in  the  bunk  room  area. Rainbow  ski  field  was  developed  when  the  snowfall  on  Mt  Robert became unreliable. 

Slivers of snow: Photo/ Pat Holland

Being late in the season, snow was in short supply, so after lunch we went looking for bigger spots of the white stuff, as far as Christie Ridge.

Finally some decent snow!: Photo/Debbie Hogan

On  the  way  back  three  of the  women  in  our  group sat  down  and reverted  to  childhood  as  they  slid down  the  snow  grass,  with shrieks  of  laughter.  Back  at  the  lodge for dinner, Debbie was relieved that not all the  fifty or so people who had enquired about the trip turned up!  With the size of the group we had, it all worked well. 

On Sunday morning we woke to the sound of a strong gusty wind.  After breakfast we  set off  up to the ridge again in search of snow to practise on. On some small patches of firm snow we  practised  kicking  steps  with  our  boots.  When  we  came  to  bigger  areas  of  snow  it was time to put  our  crampons on. The students were shown how to make sure that all points of the crampons were on the  snow, and the various methods of using an ice axe.

Self-arrest run out zone: Debbie Hogan

Shortly before Julius Summit  we had a lunch break and  then most of us went up  to  the  top of  the  ridge  from where  there  were  beautiful  views and  firm  snow  to  practice  our  crampon  use. 

Just below Julius Summit: Photo/Debbie Hogan

A great weekend of introduction to the alpine; thank you to Debbie for organizing the trip and to FMC for supporting us with a Training Grant.

Nelson Tramping Club was awarded a FMC Training Grant: a cash grant to enable this snow skills weekend which was run in combination with the Marlborough Tramping Club. To learn more or apply, visit the FMC website.

You can also visit the Nelson Tramping Club and/or Marlborough Tramping Club websites if you’d like to join or learn more about those clubs.