Altitude: 1193m to 1316m. Gain: 239m. Loss: 280m . Gradient: 16 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
From the route junction at McIntosh, a narrow but good ridge runs east to Tuiti. Exposed to weather, but a trampers track.
Once on Tuiti thing become more challenging. A wire rope leads you on an exposed scramble down the northern face to the head of the ladder, with high bluffs below. This section was hairy before the rope was installed, but feels OK with something to hold onto. Several parties report members 'freezing;' on this section - not for the faint-hearted.
An unnerving side-step is required to step onto the ladder (especially with a full-grown collie dog under your arm), but once on it it;s a long but easy descent to the base of bluffs below.
Back on tierra firma at the base, a roped route sidles north to a small saddle on the face of Tunui. This section across a creek-head has been scoured back to bare rock in recent years and the rope is very welcome. Once on the saddle, the track sidles the face back to the next saddle on the main range, with a couple of scrambles aided by ropes. From here we're back to walking - east along the ridgeline to the base of Maungahuka, then a brief zigzag scramble on fine gravel to the sumit. A signpost on the summit marks the turnoff to Niell Forks, and Maungahuka Hut is 150m further north along the main range.