Mt Hector (From Otaki Forks)Intermediate
Submitted by Tim Carpenter
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From carpark head straight over the large swing bridge, marked FIeld Hut. Follow in the orange triangles. At the first Y junction, there is a sign for Waitewaewae Hut/Otaki River - stay on the track that says Field Hut, same at the 2nd junction. Initial part of the trail is moderately steep but easy to run as is level benched trail. Once you hit the forest, it becomes muddy and soft, with roots and uneven parts to climb. There is a flat patch shortly before Field hut.
From Field hut continue up the hill, and you will clear the trees quickly. The trail is well marked, and is now rocky/stony under foot with varying degrees of climbing. You will reach Table Top with sign post to Penn Creek Hut, continue onto Kime Hut. The next sign post will be at Mangahuka hut turn off (Bridge Peak), but continue straight on to Kime Hut . The track is easy to wander off along here, but it is well signposted/poled to continue in the right direction (and very reflective at night).
From Kime hut, the trail continues around the next ridge, before dropping down over a saddle and beginning the last climb toward Mt Hector. On a clear day you are rewarded wtih views toward Wellington, Wairarapa and Horowhenua from the Top of Hector. There are numerous route options from here, or return to Otaki Forks. My photos are from my snow trip, makes for a slow day out with high levels of snow!
NOTE: This is the Tararua's - your Bluebird day can turn to clag with no visibility very quickly, making it easy to get lost. Always carry full safety gear in case of wrong turn, falling off a ridge, change in weather, hurting yourself. Use the Intentions books in the huts to update on progress. Always have a plan of where you are going and make sure that people know your route and when you are due out.
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Features of interest
You will run past Field Hut, Kime Hut and summit at the Mt Hector Cross
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 75%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Take the road just South of Otaki from Sh1, signposted Otaki Forks. Continue down the road (it will turn into single lane metal road) until you reach the DOC Otaki Forks Day Carpark.
Plenty of parking, no public transport.
On a good day, navigation is easy.
On a bad day it can be whiteout conditions with 80km/hr (or higher but presume you won't be out in higher wind) making a compass ESSENTIAL as the trip from Kime to Field can send you off the wrong ridge and into the South Main Range when you have no visibility.
Carry GPS and PLB and Compass.
Thermal leggings, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.
Available at huts, may be a tarn if you are lucky
The weather can change at any time, including wind, rain and snow.
In winter the snow can be very heavy on the ground, icy, soft or hard. On this trip I had up to 100cm drift in places, and needed the Microspikes on from Table Top.
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