Altitude: 393m to 1831m. Gain: 1069m. Loss: 1446m . Gradient: 14 deg (Steep)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
This route is recommended by DOC as a 'non-alpine route' - but in honesty I found it harder than other local routes including V-notch and the Temple-Sth Huxley route due to travel on loose scree above bluffs.
Follow the track up the Canyon Creek to the forks, and leave it there (it heads up the northern Canyon Creek). Follow the river or sidle the north face west up Little Canyon Creek - reasonable going in good beech forest. After 1.5km the beech ends and scree begins. The valley climbs gently to what appears to be an unsurmountable face at the head. As you get close it begins to look more climbable, but it is still steep and bluffy.
Other routes may exists, but from the end of the gently climbing valley flats, I climbed the scree fan on the left to the base fo bluffs, and then spent 20 mins trying various combinations of scree chutes before I found one that lead clean through the bluffs to scree faces above. This section was uncomfortable as you spend much time on scree slopes with bluffs close below you.
Once through the bluffs a series of short climbs take you past a couple of false summits to the col. This section held snow as late as April when I visited, but is gently sloping.
The west side starts as an easy descent on good scree, but after a brief section on tussock you hit good Otago subalpine scrub, bracken and lawyer. It is a hard, unpleasant scrub-bash to the valley floor below.
The Hunter RIver was knee deep when I crossed in normal flows with rain a few days previous. A 4WD track exists on the western bank, and the station Scrubby Hut is 1km further up the valley.