With only a week to go until Mt Elbrus it was my last chance to get a compressed adventure in but I only had a 12 hour window. Enter…. Mt Pirongia!
About two months ago my brother was driving north from the Waikato and text me ‘Mt Pirongia sea to summit?’ it took a while to come to fruition but it was the perfect adventure to slot in before I leave.
Nathan- My brother from my mother, marathon partner and definitely not in charge of navigation!
Boston- Lifetime outdoorsman, hunter gatherer extraordinaire
Myself- Pretty keen on outdoors and stuff
Nathan and I left Auckland at 5:am to meet Boston at the Grey Road carpark at 7am so we could run our shuttle to the Kawhia Harbour. By the time we got organised, checked the track was open and wet our didgets in a beautiful isolated elbow of the Harbour below the tide line it was 8:30 and we needed to kick into gear.
From here it was an 18km uphill run to the entrance of the Hihikiwi track. The run was a real tough slog made easier by rolling green hills, beautiful running streams and not a soul in sight till we hit the turn off to Pirongia West Road. Part of me wishes I had brought my fly rod and tacked on a cheeky trout or two as these farm streams often hold some hidden gems. Boston’s right knee was getting angry with him so we eased off the pace a bit and made it to the track in a reasonable state.
The sign stated 4 1/2 hors and 7km to the summit so this implied a very boggy steep track. Awesome!! With chocolate, nuts, liquorice and electrolytes in our belly we charged on to the summit as some pretty grizzly weather was on the way and our light travel style meant we would need to be continuously moving to keep warm. After two hours of ups, downs, arounds, throughs, overs and unders we reached Pahautea hut to get a welcomed surprise. A new 20 bunk hut was being built to replace the existing six bunker and the builders offered us some shelter, a yarn and a hot drink. This was classic good old fashioned kiwi bloody hospitality at it finest so we couldn’t refuse.
We stayed a bit long in the shelter and were now freezing so it was time to push on to the summit and battle the storm that was brewing behind us. Boston’s knee was getting pretty bad now and he was walking like a constipated pirate but in the theme of Sea2summit7 we are not here to shag spiders so a concrete pill was swallowed and on we pressed. After 5 hours of hard Yakka we were greeted with a breath-taking classic Waikato view! Sea to summit of Mt Pirongia…..Check!
If you watched the video you would understand why we needed to get our A into G and head down the mountain before it was too late. The route down was great fun, climbing up and down chains and rocks and through breath-taking bush while staying just ahead of the incumbent storm so we were blessed with fantastic view points across the Waikato. On more than one occasion I was singing to myself Mooloo olay olay olay as I gazed over my province of birth.
Mike Boston (Jack Sparrow) was a true champion and despite the immense pain pushed on and we popped out the bush before dark and ahead of the storm. We ran our shuttle, grabbed a decidedly dodgy burger and relaxed in the Hiace listening to the All Blacks on AM radio. Saturdays to not come better than that. Good mates, good times, good yarns, sore bodies.
Get amoungst it! beat our time! please….. I want to do it again