Altitude: 842m to 1695m. Gain: 1665m. Loss: 1780m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6) Winter - High avalanche risk, iceaxe/crampons (7/7)
Two options exist for crossing Lennox Creek. The Moir's route sidles south from the zigzags on the Earnslaw track and crosses Lennox Creek at 800m. Apparently a small 'pad' exists here; on the north this is hidden by a beech tree. From there make a sidling climb towards Lennox Pass through beech and scrub.
Alternatively, when snow loading / avalanche risk is minimal it is possible to sidle from Kea Basin. From Earnslaw Hut, climb to Kea Basin and pass through tussock/low scrub north of pt1074 to where the north branch of Lennox creek is crossable before it enters it's gorge. Cross the creek and follow the western bank south, sidling gradually away from it in good beech at 1000m. Beech becomes scrubby for the last few meters before you emerge onto clear grass faces beside the southern branch of Lennox Creek. This is an active avalanche path - be aware of snow conditions above before attempting this route. Old avalanche (snow and rock) debris covered the creek here for 500m from the base of the bluffs (min Jan) making for an easy, flat crossing to the south bank and out of the avalanche path.
Once across Lennox continue to sidle at around 1000m through beech tongues and bands of tussock and low scrub keeping on gentler terrain below the steeper faces above. Two streams descend from Black Peak about 150m apart. Cross both and then follow the spur south of the southern creek uphill on good deer trails. Once the route into the basin below Lennox Pass becomes visible - sidle left off the spur and between the two bluff systems that lie below the pass. The last 200m from the basin to the pass is an easy if steep climb up snowgrass faces.
The west side of Lennox Pass is very steep and starts as hardpack offering little support. An ice-axe was required to provide support / braking for this initial part of the descent. 100m or so down true scree starts, though it is platy rather than rocky and does not provide good footing. The gut is descendable all the way to the Earnslaw Burn with falls low down passable on their true left on the gully floor.
Once you hit the valley floor deer trails lead down the back to the fan to reach Earnslaw Burn creek at the head of the next flats downstream. A good track leads downstream from here to the bushedge on the TL. The mapped rock bivvy is across the river at the bushedge.