Egon, John & I had planned this adventure into Arthur’s Pass National Park for some time – taking leave etc. After parking our rental car at State Highway 75, we went up the Edwards Valley (first night Edwards Hut) and over the Taruahuna Pass intending to stay night 2 in Otehake Hut before reversing our travel and going over Tarn Col/Walker Pass to Hawdon Hut & out.
Down the valley to Otehake the gorge was quite tricky, so we climbed out up to the high (but very rough) track on the true left side of the river. Huge amount of windfall (old, rotten trees) were across the track, necessitating clambering over most of the time (rather than around – given the steepness of the terrain). It was on one of these trees that I fell/slipped awkwardly off and felt my left ankle go under me. In the next 15 mins or so my limp got more pronounced till at the confluence of Sally Stream I asked to stop, remove by boots, strap my ankle & tighten laces. Going to stand up I realised that my ankle was very sore and could not take weight. After a discussion as to whether we should just make camp there and then, we made the decision to push on to the hut (rated ~45 mins). We arrived at the hut – with me in a bad way – just after dark. Panadol, ice, compression & elevation proceeded, with John setting up his mountain radio (preferred over our ELBs in order not to freak anybody out – most of all my wife).
After ~60 mins of trying to ‘get a call sign edgewise’ to an after dinner conversation, John was successfully able to contact a helpful radio ham in Gisborne, who relayed information to another who was part of LandSAR (I hope I’ve got that right), who contacted the police, who contacted you folks!
We were delighted to see the rescue service turn up at 10.30am, and even more grateful that they were able to assist in reconnecting us with our kit left at the pass (ice axes, crampons) and get me to Grey Base hospital. An amazing trip.
The one thing I know is that, given conditions on the track in the bush and especially the terrain over the Pass where falling mountain debris is absolutely technical and unforgiving, it would have been a mission on one leg & a hand-fashioned crutch. Certainly I & my mates would have been stuck in the bush for many more days.