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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pirongia Mountain

It was the coldest weekend forecast for the year to date. So we chose to go to Mt Pirongia. Dense jungle-like bush, dripping wet from rain and atmospheric mist hung round through the mossy trees. Staying below the bushline kept us away from the cold winds. Through the bogs and root-gardens, we found some incredible sections of trail running with plenty of spice that tested our agility and quick reflexes. Bell Track set us a relaxed gradient to climb the 700m to Mt Pirongia's Cone and true summit, so it was all runnable but for the tangled mass of bush vine and mud weaving obstacles in our course. The descent of the Tahuanui Ridge was pure gold. The downhill angle was perfection. Sopping wet after several hours in the rain, we could find a warm equilibrium by keeping moving rapidly along the technical trail. Once into the groove, the dance of our footsteps, winding between the trees, jumping hopping and sidestepping obstacles, it all became second nature. Before we knew it, we had completed the Bell - Tahuanui loop over Pirongia in just over five hours. Three years ago we had allowed ourselves three days tramping over the same route!

A small clearing and trig marks the Cone, 945m

Mossy rock formations on the traverse to the summit

Pahautea Hut - the only man made construction on Pirongia Mountain

Jubilation at reaching the hut

Working hard to keep the pace through some thick bush

Low vis from a rare viewpoint out of the bush
Team shot at the Cone - with Matt Battley, Hamish Chan

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