The Mountain Run and Kayak sections of the Coast to Coast are in remote wilderness areas. Please make sure you don’t underestimate how quickly conditions can change and make sure that your group has the appropriate skills for the conditions expected.
Some good points to remember are:
- Ensure that someone knows where you are going, what time you are departing, when you’ll be back, how many in the group, names of the group members, emergency contact details, vehicle make, model and registration, location of vehicle, and explain what to do or who to contact if you are overdue.
- Make sure you have the appropriate gear with you – the compulsory gear lists for the race are a good starting point for training trips.
- For the run section make sure you choose the points to cross rivers and streams carefully as the flows are often stronger than they look, always start upstream and cross downstream on a diagonal when flows are stronger.
- Even during the race, mountain river conditions can change quickly after the race starts. It is up to the individual to decide if it is safe to cross or if it is better to wait for assistance/rescue. Competitors are responsible for making decisions about when and where to cross the rivers.
- Never do these stages by yourself, and take adequate equipment for the worst-case scenario. Consider a guided mountain run from Chris Cox who has a number of experienced guides.
- There are also a number of kayak companies that provide guided and instructional trips.
Safety is your responsibility. These forms have some great information which could save your life in the event of an emergency in the back country.
- Tell someone your plans
- Download River Safety form
- Download Hypothermia form
- Download Going Bush form
- Download Survival form
- River Signals
The Mountain Safety Council is a national organization promoting safety in outdoor activities. For more information on training and resources so that you can enjoy New Zealand's outdoors safely check out their website.
Arthur's Pass Weather
The area around Arthur's Pass is an alpine area where the temperatures can change rapidly and storm systems can appear suddenly.
Before heading into the run or kayak stages, carefully check the weather and do not enter the stages if there are weather warnings in place. The webpage www.arthurspass.com has links to all the relevant forecasts for the Arthur's Pass area including long term weather charts, rain fall gauges, weather watches and warnings along with explanations for what these mean. You can also see the river flow levels for the Waimakariri River on this website.
Kayak river levels – guidelines for first year grade 2 paddlers
- Never start a kayak trip if the river is rising or there is significant rainfall forecasted.
- Be aware of the combination of higher water flows and strong winds that can be encountered in the gorge section.
- The river levels during the race in February are typically low but the river rises and falls rapidly during the most popular training season October – end of January depending on rainfall.
- The flows are also higher during spring when snow melt contributes to the amount of water entering the rivers.
- The levels in the chart below are intended as a guide only and are based on the parameters that guided trips are run under by Topsport Kayaking.
- Above these levels, there are less beaches in the gorge so any swims have the potential to be very long until you can find a suitable place to exit the water.
- Be aware that the water is very cold even in the middle of summer – around 10 degrees celsius.
- Be aware of the predicted air temperature.
- Be aware of the combination of higher river flows and high winds.
- Check Arthur’s Pass weather at www.arthurspass.com
River and Safety Checklist
- <180 cumecs at Otarama with falling trend.
- <1700mm at Waimak Gorge with stable or falling trend.
- <700mm at Esk with stable or falling trend.
- Air temperature suitable.
- Wind speed below 80km/h below 1000 metres.
- No heavy rain forecast.
- No extreme weather forecast.
Make sure you have the correct level of skills for the kayak training you are undertaking. See the Grade 2 Kayak information for information on the skill requirements needed for undertaking the Waimakariri River in the race.
Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre
Warnings are posted outside 24/7.
Telephone the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre (03 318 9211).
While DOC provides public information service, they do not have specific track information for the Coast to Coast Mountain Run section through Goat Pass. They will be able to give you up-to-date practical information on expected weather for the area and any track warnings. They are open 7 days/week, from 9.30am - 5pm until Christmas and then 9.30am - 6pm after Christmas.
National Radio also issues specific weather warnings with its news throughout the day.
It is important that river flows, rainfall and weather are checked as weather conditions and rainfall can change river flows and conditions quickly.
Training Advice and Programs
This year we will have training guidelines by Christchurch company Complete Performance – each month they will post information relevant to different sections of the race with training guidelines, sample sessions and much more.
You can also talk to them about the option of a customised program, tailored to your personal strengths and weaknesses. These programs will give you the greatest chance of maximising your performance on race day.
There should be very little that will happen in the race that you have not experienced in training.
Safe priorities in training should include:
Cycling: Be Seen (e.g. bright clothing colours)
- Use lights – dawn, dusk and dark
- Always wear a helmet
- Maintain your cycle
- Carry spares – gear, food, fluid
- Practice bunch riding
- Choose your routes appropriate to the traffic conditions
Running: Train on appropriate terrain
- In wet shoes
- With your race gear
- With training mates
- Do the course at least once if possible, remember co-ordination and confidence in the rough
- Terrain training is as important as pure fitness
Kayaking: Train with others
- With your race gear
- In all river conditions