Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby way_downsouth on Thu 16/Jul/09 11:22am

I am currently putting a plan together with a few mates to hit the West Coast over Labour weekend.

We were planning on crossing the ferry on Friday night, back on Monday afternoon/night, and riding Kirwans and Croseus and something else. Is there any reason that it would not be a good idea to ride Kirwans and Croseus over this time? (obviously subject to what the weather is just prior to going down). i.e. are the tracks likely to be under a foot of snow or something stupid like that?

Any suggestions of accommodation? Heli transport for Kirwans? Other rides to do? Interested in tagging along? Anything else to look out for?
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby Trail on Thu 16/Jul/09 11:52am

25 of october should see most of the snow gone. Croesus probably does not have snow that stays on the top very often and that far into spring any snow that was sitting on Kirwans should be gone as well. Never can quite tell tho...

Often Kirwans can have a lot of trees across the track after winter, which can make it not as much fun. DOC usually get in there before summer and clear it up. Might be worth asking how clear the track is before hitting it up?

Heli transport for Kirwans, there is a local heli pilot in Reefton. Seach old threads here on vorb and you are likely to come up with who it is.

Other tracks. There is some good riding up the Denniston Plateau. Contact Tim Sikma in westport if you would like a local to show you around (Sickman here on vorb). Tim will be able to tell you about other good tracks in the area and is likely to be keen to ride Croesus/kirwans with you.

Accommodation. The Blackball Hilton looks like a laugh of a place to stay for a night. Is in Blackball where you go to get to the Croesus. We usually call in there for a beer after riding Croesus... and I could see it being good to be able to call in for a beer and end up crawling up the stairs to bed afterwards!

We rode both Kirwans and Croesus at Easter and there was a bit of snow on the top of both of them then, but not enough to worry us. Write ups of the Easter trips here
http://mountainbikingzane.wordpress.com/2009/04/
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby way_downsouth on Thu 16/Jul/09 12:03pm

Cheers for the advice, stoked to hear that it wil be all go subject to weather on the days before.

Will probably have to just run with the condtion of the track anyway - not a lot of other oppportunities to get down there!

Is Spring in general a good time to head to the West Coast? Or is it likely to be getting worked by winds and constant rain (relative to whatever normal is)
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby Trail on Thu 16/Jul/09 12:09pm

Well this is the forecast from a local (talking about Kahurangi)

Sickman wrote:
Laurence wrote:
Weather-wise Winter is perfect for the West Coast. The period of May - Oct has been specifically identified as a dry weather season. ie. no nor'west winds. Any wet patches along the tops will likely be frozen!


As a Westport local, I can confirm Laurence is correct in that we have our some of our best weather during May-Sept. Currently while the rest of the country has been been having bad weather for the last 3 weeks (especially in CHCH) it has been clear skies with rather crisp mornings with great after work riding conditions. Us locals actually do most of our MTB riding during winter as summer time is our road bike season and time for long tramping missions. Spring is the wettest time of the year in the Buller region when we get the Nor'west rain. We get nasty storms anytime of the year but Spring/Summer probably the worst for that. Our winters are pretty mild (especially compared to CHCH) and normally only get a couple of frosts in Westport.
The weather will be good just take a rain coat.


Spring is generally wet over there... :)

Croesus is fine in the wet. Pretty grippy rock for much of the track. Kirwans should also be alright in the wet... probably a bit muddy in places and the wet roots might be a bit slippy...

Denniston is pretty good riding in the wet as well.
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby Sickman on Fri 24/Jul/09 1:12am

I have not flown to the top of Kirwans or Croesus myself (I actually really enjoy climbing), for Helicopter rides to the top of them you should try Chris Cowan of Coastwide Helicopters.

The weather will be about the same as Wellington at that time of the year just larger rain drops :) Saying that expect down pours and then sunshine.
Kirwans, Croesus, will be find in the wet and they are mostly in trees most of the way so pretty sheltered.
Denniston is mostly on sandstone rock surfaces so super grippy anytime, but the plateau has no trees so exposed in the wind. The Charming Creek Track is another option if the weather is bad.

Got a wedding to get drunk at that weekend so will not be around for some riding :(
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby way_downsouth on Thu 15/Oct/09 10:44am

Anyone keen to join a Heli-Ride up to the top of Kirwans on the 24th of October, at 10am? If I can get another three people, the cost is $75 a head.
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby sifter on Thu 15/Oct/09 10:48am

Nice one Pete - shame I've got business to attend to here!
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby inzane on Thu 15/Oct/09 11:12am

There was snow on Croesus last weekend, but I suspect that it will be gone by labour weekend.

Photos of us riding in the snow over here http://mountainbikingzane.wordpress.com ... d-croesus/

Would love to join you in the Helicopter, but am crewing on a boat for the coastal classic.
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby Nick_K on Thu 15/Oct/09 11:26am

Ahoy Pete.

I could be keen, will let you know. Who are you heading down with?
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby way_downsouth on Thu 15/Oct/09 11:30am

Heading down with Chris W and Mike on Friday afternoon.
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby DogsBollocks on Thu 15/Oct/09 11:52am

+1 for the Hilton. They are well used to MTB'ers and the beer comes in glass pitchers, cold, followed by large hot meals and great hospitality. Well priced and a good breakie as well :thumbsup:
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby way_downsouth on Thu 15/Oct/09 12:27pm

DogsBollocks wrote:+1 for the Hilton. They are well used to MTB'ers and the beer comes in glass pitchers, cold, followed by large hot meals and great hospitality. Well priced and a good breakie as well :thumbsup:


Locked in for 1 night!
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby DogsBollocks on Thu 15/Oct/09 12:44pm

Cool. Mate, give us a rundown on the Croseus once you get back will ya, how long, times, track conditions in the weather etc. We are thinking of going over late November and even though I'm originally from that side of the island I've never done the track. We're gonna go from Ch-Ch early one morning, do the track and stay the night and I like to have timing etc sussed before we leave. Cheers, and have a good trip.
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby inzane on Thu 15/Oct/09 1:48pm

DogsBollocks wrote:Cool. Mate, give us a rundown on the Croseus once you get back will ya, how long, times, track conditions in the weather etc. We are thinking of going over late November and even though I'm originally from that side of the island I've never done the track. We're gonna go from Ch-Ch early one morning, do the track and stay the night and I like to have timing etc sussed before we leave. Cheers, and have a good trip.


Bit of a write up of riding Croesus over here http://mountainbikingzane.wordpress.com ... 09-part-1/

I would say you would want good intermediate skills for riding a technical track to enjoy the Croesus and a decent full suspension trail type bike will make the trip a bit easier.

The time it takes really depends on who you are, how you ride and how fast you ride. Most times I have been in there it has taken about 4 to 5 hours for a round trip, but we are generally pretty quick. Kennet Bros say about 6 hours for a round trip, but it could be longer than this if taken at a really leisurely pace! There are a number of mining relics up in there including one of the most complete battery/crusher setups I have ever seen out in the middle of nowhere. Historically interesting imagining how the old miners got on!

There are a lot of loose rocks sticking out of the trail surface in a number of sections. Bit like trying to ride up a flat bit of riverbed :D but then there are long sections of loamy stuff under the trees as well. The track is totally different to anything you will meet over Canterbury way! It rides well in the dry or wet (and to be honest, even if it is a dry day the track will be wet in many places!!).

Definitely a great place to go for a ride, especially if staying at the Hilton!! Take plenty of food and warm clothes and have fun!!
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Re: Riding The West Coast Over Labour Weekend

Postby DogsBollocks on Thu 15/Oct/09 2:13pm

inzane wrote:
DogsBollocks wrote:Cool. Mate, give us a rundown on the Croseus once you get back will ya, how long, times, track conditions in the weather etc. We are thinking of going over late November and even though I'm originally from that side of the island I've never done the track. We're gonna go from Ch-Ch early one morning, do the track and stay the night and I like to have timing etc sussed before we leave. Cheers, and have a good trip.


Bit of a write up of riding Croesus over here http://mountainbikingzane.wordpress.com ... 09-part-1/

I would say you would want good intermediate skills for riding a technical track to enjoy the Croesus and a decent full suspension trail type bike will make the trip a bit easier.

The time it takes really depends on who you are, how you ride and how fast you ride. Most times I have been in there it has taken about 4 to 5 hours for a round trip, but we are generally pretty quick. Kennet Bros say about 6 hours for a round trip, but it could be longer than this if taken at a really leisurely pace! There are a number of mining relics up in there including one of the most complete battery/crusher setups I have ever seen out in the middle of nowhere. Historically interesting imagining how the old miners got on!

There are a lot of loose rocks sticking out of the trail surface in a number of sections. Bit like trying to ride up a flat bit of riverbed :D but then there are long sections of loamy stuff under the trees as well. The track is totally different to anything you will meet over Canterbury way! It rides well in the dry or wet (and to be honest, even if it is a dry day the track will be wet in many places!!).

Definitely a great place to go for a ride, especially if staying at the Hilton!! Take plenty of food and warm clothes and have fun!!


Cheers Zane, great info and write up as always. We gonna be doing it as a "social" trip with maybe a couple who are very fit but a bit below intermediate skill wise so we won't be rushing. Going on your info tho I think we might pop over on the Friday night instead. I know a place in Kotuku I can get my hands on, might make it a bit more leisurely on the Saturday.
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