Re: North Face Perfection Process Continues, Sunday March 9th

Postby Robbie on Thu 13/May/10 9:16pm

Well folks, in case you are wondering, there is no work-party scheduled at Makara Peak this weekend.

This appalling thing has not happened (excepting christmas) for umm the last 58 weeks in a row.

Heavens. :crazy:

I can understand the withdrawal symptoms, however normal services will resume on Saturday 22nd May !! :thumbsup:
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Re: North Face Perfection Process Continues, Saturday March 22nd

Postby Robbie on Wed 19/May/10 10:25am

Hear ye hear ye,



It is time to see how the track has been handling the wet! We have not had a few wet days since we started building the track last October.

We will be draining puddles, checking cambers etc to ensure that this stays an awesome track with great drainage, rather than a drainage system that you are expected to ride down :lol:

As usual we will be setting off from the St Albans garage at 9:45 at the latest, and we will motor up to the top of North Face and work our way down.

We will be providing tools, gloves, lunch and heaps of laughs!

See you there, or say Hello if you are riding past :thumbsup:


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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: North Face Perfection Process Continues, Saturday March 22nd

Postby its that guy on Wed 19/May/10 10:52pm

Screen Shot 1.png

I might not be there because of training/sleep. But ill see what i can do.
its that guy
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Member for: 13 years 11 months

Re: Winter Proofing North Face, Sunday May 30th

Postby Robbie on Wed 26/May/10 11:24am

North Face is dealing with it's first winter. :thumbsup:

This means the trail has not packed down in many places just yet, and needs some TLC to remove ruts and puddles that may have appeared during these wet 2 weeks..

This early work will ensure that in years to come the track is as solid and reliable as similar trails like Sally Alley, only more so, as it gets more light and less rain !

We will be heading up from the St Albans Road garage at 9:45 for a start at 10am from the top end.

See you out there!



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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Winter Proofing North Face, Sunday May 30th

Postby Robbie on Sun 30/May/10 6:47pm

Here is a copy of the North Face Blog, found at

Today we set off armed with a pile of box drains and the usual grubbers, picks and spades.

The aim was to clean up the 20% of North Face near the top that has been made slimy by a great deal of water from the sky.

Ruts were removed, bits of track armored, other bits recambered, nice ridable drains appeared by magic, bits were raised and other bits lowered.

Cheers to Hugh, Don Rob and Jono for wandering about in the ooze!

Box drains were placed where a simple drain may not last too long, rocks were packed into the surface, puddles were demolished. .

A few people rode the trail today and we could hear them mostly laughing (and occasionally cursing) and they slithered into view and rode past: some at impressive speeds.

About 1300m of the track is in really good condition, so once we get the bit through the Manukas organized it will be mint. This may take a while, and the more people who can help this winter the merrier!

Hugh also put in some practice at high speed semi controlled wheelbarrow drifting wearing gumboots: surely an Olympic sport any day soon!

Here be a picture of a box drain:

a box drain.jpg
Yep, it is a box drain. Made of wood, box shaped, designed to drain water.

And here is a photo of…. My boots.

Mah boots. Hooray for Goretex.

Next Saturday we will be tackling the trail at Upper Leaping Lizard and Nikau, to complete the huge amount of clearing that Peter has been doing recently !


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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Turn Right, And Try Not To Bleed… Jfk Piloting Continues

Postby Robbie on Mon 14/Jun/10 8:23am

Work on the pilot trail for JFK proceeded on Sunday with Rob, Ian and Bryan machining their way through the scrub.

We had three main objectives: the first was to decide where the left-hand corner at the end of North Face (this being the start of JFK) should be. The second was to pilot our way the 70-odd metres to the next ridge at the correct gradient, and the third was to assess whether the track would continue around the ridge and beyond, or be switched back along the face of the valley again.

A bit of clambering about and measuring angles etc placed the first switchback right next to the road, and this will one day sweep around a flax bush. There seems to be ample dirt& rocks to about build a decent exit berm. From there we set sail below the last part of North Face, dropping as we did so towards the next ridge.

To aid visibility (there are some bloody tall gorse trees about, try 2.5 metres) Bryan was volunteered to walk 30 metres back along the last straight part of North Face, and clamber down the hill through the prickles, trees and scrub until he was in line with the right gradient. The advice was to turn right and try not to bleed. Once in position he started clearing the gorse+ barberry down to knee height towards the start of the trail, so we worked towards each other successfully even when visibility at ground level was um non-existent by selecting objects high in the distance to aim for.

A break for lunch and quite a few riders were finishing North Face, so we pointed them down to Smokin which is not yet on any official maps and watched proceedings from above. Some people liked it so much they climbed back up the road and had a second shot at it. Great stuff :D
After lunch, with not much barberry in the way it was basically a gorse clearing mission to the ridge (which is below the last right hander on North Face) however the barbery struck back with a vengeance from there.
A short hike along North Face and measuring of side slopes etc revealed that we could indeed wander past the ridge and have just 1 switchback in a relatively mellow valley- well below the Valley Of The Switchbacks. In this way we avoid planning maybe 3 more switchbacks (if we were to just zig zag down the hill) making for a much more flowy trail, which will also be far easier to build and maintain.

From above, looking down from North Face the area looked like a cliff, but then again so does most of North Face! Side slopes were confirmed and we hacked our way along until we had piloted about 120m.
A good day! This is in addition to the 245m piloted at the bottom of the trail (200m of which has already been cleared), and the two huge 180 degree sweeping bends. This means about 420m of 600 or so has been accounted for.

We were sheltered from the high winds, and only had a little light hail now and then, however we could see high about Ridgeline where the summit Tower was howling, and gusts of wind were sending sheets of rain sideways.

A quick trot up to the Switchbacks on North Face to measure more angles and sight the valley, and we wandered off at 4:45 just as evil heavy cold rain set in. It was a balmy 4 degrees at that point.

All three objectives were met, and with a bit of care and cunning the rest of the trail will map out into a critter with quite a different personality to both North Face above, and Smokin which is below.

Here is a map showing the existing pilot trail and the likely path of the remainder.

JFK 13June.JPG

Our deadline is to have the whole track piloted before October. This is the magical month when daylight saving starts, along with our hugely popular Tuesday night track builds. Give yourselves a Christmas present and help out then, and we will all have a new trail as part of the North Face Project. In time for Santa :thumbsup:

See you on the side of the hill,


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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Turn Right, And Try Not To Bleed… Jfk Piloting Continues

Postby way_downsouth on Mon 14/Jun/10 10:17am

Less switchbacks = win. Nice work.
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Re: Turn Right, And Try Not To Bleed… Jfk Piloting Continues

Postby Robbie on Mon 14/Jun/10 11:31am

We will be scouting down the wee valley just to double check: but the gradient is less than on the other hills, so even if it is rocky etc it will still be easier to make than 3 or 5 switchbacks elsewhere.

We are also trying to have fewer switchbacks so the trail has long runs between them, so the riders will be :D as well.

Hopefully by putting this corner in the middle of a valley (as opposed to a ridge) may mean that it is cut into dirt, rather than rock. Generally the ridges have been solid rock out there.
Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Sunday 20 June : North Face From The Top!

Postby Robbie on Tue 15/Jun/10 12:05pm

This Sunday we will be meeting at the top by the road and checking out how all of this water is being managed.
Our aim is to make this an awesome all weather track so please rug up, come along and help make this a reality :-)

With enough hands on deck we may also adjust the second switchback to reduce the gradient and provide a better exit.

Food drink and tools all provided by the Makara peak Supporters ;-)
Drop by for half an hour or all day, it is all good.
And if you are riding past, say hello !

If you would like a lift up, please meet us at the end of St Alban’s Road before 9:45

111sunday 20 june.JPG

Like to know more? I can be contacted by email


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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Sunday 20 June : North Face From The Top!

Postby Robbie on Sun 20/Jun/10 5:56pm

Armouring the beast.

Today Bryan Don Hugh and Rob reported in on a rainy bleak day, where the plan was once again man+ North Face versus the elements.
Only the first 275m is soggy (except for the first switchback, which is nicely packed down hard) which leaves 1345m of great track!

We saw quite a few riders and some runners doing their orienteering thing down the trail: it seems that mud+ sense of humour works well, and most rode down the trail with few dramas.

Heaps of the track was smoothed, parts given side slope, drains made or improved, and bits where ruts were appearing between the trees were armoured with local rocks.

All we need is a few fine days in a row and suddenly all this work will materialize as a really nice track.

We have had a worst case scenario with the weather being far too dry for the new trail to pack down, then suddenly weeks of sogginess. However we will prevail, and the trail really can be ridden by any keen intermediate rider:


The track is not finished (nor officially open as a done deal yet) however one day it will be.

And once we win the battle with winter, the Track perfection process must continue!
Beyond that ( in October) JFK awaits..
Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: Sunday 20 June : North Face From The Top!

Postby slimdog on Mon 21/Jun/10 10:28am

I rode it last week. I would say the top 200m are advanced riding in those conditions. The bottom half of the trail is holding up very well. Hopefully you guys get a dry day or two during the winter dig days.
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Re: This Is Going To Be Bloody Good: Jfk Piloting Continues!

Postby Robbie on Sun 27/Jun/10 9:05pm

Here is a copy of the North Face blog as for your examination:

This is going to be Bloody Good
: JFK piloting continues!

In spite of evil weather a fearless band of four keen dedicated, brave strong cunning and wise men continued the piloting of the JFK trail: the second last track in the North Face project.

Cheers to Rob, Jono, Bryan and Ian for getting wet, tired and filthy !

In the last episode we had navigated around a ridge with the intention of running the trail into a valley where it would switch back and go on to wonderful things.

So, we chopped our way through gorse and barberry, wandering around natives and entire rows of huge King Ferns, and in a mere few hours arrived in the said valley.

Under a high canopy with little undergrowth we were able to scamper about pointing at trees, ferns, rocks and even the ground while making Big Decisions about where the switchback should go.

In the end the best solution was pretty obvious, and due to the large amount of local surface rock the plan was hatched to build a bermed switchback with a solid rock wall retainer like the four superb corners on Smokin. (If you have not ridden there smack yourself hard and go and do it).

Should be massive fun. Right next to a few giant ferns, too.

From there the track heads back in the general direction of the Grassy Knoll (via a ridge or two) and we climbed above and below various natives, causing the track to be a bit longer than the earlier plans- which is always good!

From there we will now do a short run across a valley before turning around near some cabbage trees, and thenceforth onto the Grassy Knoll. This patch of…grass will one day host two large 180 degree sweeping bends for the delight of all.

And, as Bryan said during the afternoon, this track is going to be bloody good!

Here is a map of JFK so far:
Red= piloted track, grey dots= likely path from there

1111jfk asof 27 june.JPG

And here is a map of the entire North Face Project, showing all 4 parts:

where the black line is built trail:
grey line = piloted and cleared, not built yet
black and white dotted lines: piloted only
grey dots: likely path as of today
North is up.

00NF so far black line.JPG



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Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: North Face, This Saturday 3rd July !

Postby Robbie on Mon 28/Jun/10 7:24pm

Yep this Saturday we will be working on the North Face track, starting from the top end.

If you have ridden the track and would like to add some trail karma please come along, or maybe you are suffering track building withdrawal ?

There is plenty to do as the fresh trail weathers it's first winter :)

As usual there will be heaps of laughs, tools and lunch provided :thumbsup:
If you would like a lift to the top please be at the St Albans garage before 9:45: we will be up there at 10am.

If you are riding by why not stop and say hello :D


Makara Peak Tracks
Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: North Face, This Saturday 3rd July !

Postby Robbie on Fri 2/Jul/10 5:05pm

So we will have light northerlies and a cloud or two. Perfect winter trail building weather :thumbsup:
Member for: 18 years 8 months

Re: North Face, Crushing Winter!

Postby Robbie on Sat 3/Jul/10 6:57pm

Here is a copy of the North Face Blog from today, as seen on our own web site: ... bmi=375634 :thumbsup:

Today Don, Hugh, Bryan and his daughter Olivia, Edmund (one of the pioneers of this trail, visiting from overseas), Jono Martin, Ian and Rob worked on the top hundred-ish metres of this track, which has been most effected by the endless rain.

You will notice a large amount of rock has been used to armour the track. This will pack down solid one day, and meanwhile provides a good riding surface. A lot of time was spent mining the rocks from the side of the existing trail, or by smashing nearby rocks with sledge hammers.

People also went wandering through the nearby bush levering other large rocks from the ground and some were broken into little bits while others were used as foundation for the trail.

Many of the soggy bits are caused by springs seeping water continually on short parts of the trail, so we will need to keep working on those to provide a permanent and solid riding surface. After all, this track should be ridable in all weather once we are done! At the moment the top section does get slidy and gooey, but it can be ridden when wet. Please stay away from the edges!

Work was done on the second switchback from the top to both minimize the height dropped in the corner, and to make a bermed exit. This berm was made of many rocks and a little dirt, (much like those on Smokin) hopefully compacted well enough to withstand the evils of our weather.

I forgot to take any photos, being so unused to having decent fine weather!

Nice to see plenty of people out and about this afternoon riding the trail :D



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Member for: 18 years 8 months

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