Mt Ruapehu in winter

Trip Report: Ruapehu Crater – 15.08.21

This trip was originally supposed to happen on Saturday 14th, but was cancelled due to bad weather (rain + gale force winds). So when I arrived at Adrift HQ the following day to cloud and a light drizzle, I was less than optimistic.

But once again, the mountain surprised us, and as we made our way up Bruce Road, we knew we’d be in for a stunning day above the clouds.

Mt Ruapehu

It was a fair-sized group and as assistant guide, I took my usual position at the rear, while Stew set the pace. Part of my job at the rear, besides making sure nobody gets left behind, is to assess the group, paying particular attention to those who look like they may struggle. That way, we can set expectations and factor that into the overall plan for the day. Obviously we’d like to get everyone to the top, but that doesn’t always happen.

Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu

One of the benefits of guiding, for me personally, is that it’s a way to share my passion for the outdoors, and seeing people enjoy and appreciate the outdoors gives me great pleasure. But the real satisfaction comes from seeing the elation and sense of achievement felt by those who overcome their fears and self-doubts.

On this particular trip, we had two gals who were finding it especially challenging, and my job as a guide is to encourage them and provide a safe space as they work through their challenges, be they mental or physical. I’m happy to say that on this occasion, we succeeded in getting everyone to the top.

Mt Ruapehu crater lake

As I mentioned earlier, this is not always the case and on a previous trip I had one lady who, despite pushing herself to her limits, simply couldn’t make it. She was really frustrated, made worse by the fact that she was an experienced tramper and we were less than a few hundred meters from the end which was just out of sight.

My job at times like this is to stay with the person while the rest of the group continues and then joins us again on the way down. On this occasion, as we were heading back, one of the girls who had reached the summit came along besides me and asked, “Aren’t you disappointed when you don’t make it to the summit?”

I just smiled and said to her, “It’s not about me.”

Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu
Mt Ruapehu

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