From Routeburn Shelter to Scott/Kowhai Saddle via unnamed Kowhai Creek
Distance: 3.2 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 480m to 1557m. Gain: 1077m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 20 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

Make your way north across the boulders and rock on Scott/Kowhai Saddle and head around the tarn to locate its outlet stream. Follow the stream down the tussocky hill to where it flings itself off a massive, extremely steep scree slope that plunges down the hill for over 100m. Take extreme care descending this initial slope, the scree is very lose and unstable!

Once down at the main stream descend until a waterfall is encountered. Look for a rocky gully on the true left past a patch of scrub, and descend down the gully to reach easier terrain at about 1200m. In December 2017 the creek went underground down here so rock hopping down the dry creek bed was quite easy. Follow the creek bed down the hill side, the creek reappeared down at about 950m. Stay in the creek bed and you'll soon encounter a large side stream at about 910m which seams to supply much of the water for Kowhai Creek. I have read accounts of people using the bush on the true right to travel, but every time I tried (and I tried 4 times) I ended up getting bluffed or cut off by deeply gulched side streams which have eroded the banks away. The bush is also full of wind fall and bush lawyer, so IMO the easiest travel is to rock hop down the creek the entire way.

Somewhat easier travel can be had in the bush below the 600m contour. You can either follow the creek all the way down to the road bridge (labeled Kowhai Creek No 2), or do as I did and cut through the windfall and bush lawyer infested forest directly to the large clearing Routeburn Shelter is located in.

Last updated by: Yarmoss at 2017-12-17 16:11:12. Experienced: 2017-12-09
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