From Zeilian Creek flats to Middle Head Hut via Zeilian saddle
Distance: 8.1 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 379m to 1158m. Gain: 421m. Loss: 779m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6) Winter - High avalanche risk, iceaxe/crampons (7/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

From Middle Head Hut, the climb up the south fork of the Moeraki is steep but straightforward. The route is up the steep rocky creekbed, and the creek is low / dry in normal conditions. On reaching the basin at the head of the valley (1.5km above the hut) the creek starts to split and the bush is replaced by thick scrub. Choosing the correct watercourse is vital. Follow the centre watercourse shown on the topomap directly towards the saddle until about 400m west of the saddle, when a good watercourse swings left (ENE) onto the northern valleyside reaching good open tussock faces. These can be sidled to the ridgeline 200m NE of the saddle. Snow chutes may persist late into summer. (2-4 hrs to saddle)

Drop to the saddle itself and pick good descents down a brief, steep tussock face into the head of the Zeillan Valley. The next 2km is a major avalanche zone in winter - with falls from both valley sides. The descent starts easy on stony avalanche debris, but after 2km tussock and scrub appear and progress slows. Scrub gets progressively thicker, until rounding the bend in the valley and swinging south, small tussock flats are encountered, below which the river disappears into a tight, bush-clad gorge. (2-4 hrs to flats from saddle)

Spectacular views lie on both sides, with the sheer, glacier-capped faces on Mts Zeilland and Monro.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-30
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