Keep an eye on the Tararua hut books

Don’t be too surprised if you get pushed over from behind by a few hut-baggers racing through the Tararuas during the next couple of months. Lower North Island LandSAR is running a Tararua hut-bagging contest for its members. (Specifically with entry being open to lower North Island LandSAR, the Police SAR Squad, and Airforce BCF.) Until 7th December 2011, entered teams will be allowed three 48 hour “trips” to clock up as many points as possible. This will probably encourage some non-stop no-sleep rogaining techniques by the more committed teams.

The competition’s only open to people associated with LandSAR, but the rules and points table are amusing to read all the same. As well as bagging huts and points of interest, points are being awarded for providing GPS tracks, and for logging in Mountain Radio Skeds. There seems to be nothing in the rules to prevent a team from calling into all three of the Wellington, Central North Island and Hawkes Bay skeds in an evening, but I guess they might also need to decide if it’s worth another 10 points to stop moving for another 30 minutes, given how long it can take to properly get a mountain radio aerial up and down.

The most valuable listed huts are Carkeek (100 points), followed by Arete Forks, Burn, North Mangahao, Dorset Ridge and Dracophyllum, Arete, Dundas, Kapakapanui, Mungahuka, Mid-King, Nichols and the Oriwa Ridge water tank, although it’s probably worth noting that points are evidently also being structured on how easily a hut fits into a 48 hour point-hungry trip as much as how difficult they are to reach. (Burn Hut isn’t far from a road, but it’s ages from anywhere else.)

I still think these competitions should award bonus points (or double points) for arbitrary challenges that add another dimension of planning, like only visiting huts in alphabetical order, but maybe few people agree with me.

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