Altitude: 3m to 863m. Gain: 631m. Loss: 920m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6)
This route is described in Moir's Guide South. Ed 7. Pg 88. Thompson Hut to Henry Saddle
The George Sound track is generally well marked, but not so well cut - with DOC now classifying it as a marked route.
Follow the marked track up the true left of the Rugged Burn, with a brief 100m climb into the upper valley. After another 2.5km the track crosses the burn to marshy flat on the true right before heading to the western valleyside and commencing its climb. The climb is more convoluted than indicated on the map - climbing moderately steeply up a spur before swinging south across a small creek just beyond which are good dry campspots on a grassy knob.
The track finally swings up the remaining valley for a gentler climb to the pass. Camping is possible on the pass by the lake - I've seen photos - but dry ground is very limited.
West of Henry Pass the now unmarked route follows the north shore of the lake before swinging slightly north onto the spur 20m north of the valley - the route to which is cairned. The carined route drops over a series of rock outcrops and scrub basins before depositing you at the top fo the waterfall draining Henry Pass into the Katherine. Markers 10m down the fall and on the opposite side indicate where you need to go - its a brief exposed scramble to get there. The route then zigzags down the sheer face on the true left of the creek with numerous steep scrambles involved before finally reaching the safety of the head basin below. Good campspots exist just after the crossing of the creek draining Marguerite Peaks.
The track follows the true left of the creek for a bit before ending at the stone and gravel riverbed, from where a few hundred meters of river travel follow encouraged by occasional markers. Look out for the point where the track resumes, indicated by 2 small triangles on a tree on the true right. A second descent - less steep this time, follows to the next level of the valley where sometimes swampy, sometimes bouldery flats lead to the head of Lake Katherine.
The sidle round Katherine is moderately steep and unmarked on debris faces below sheer bluffs mand takes longer than you may expect.
Once at the west end of the lake, cut onto the beach as early as possible and follow it half way round the base of the lake, looking out for 3 triangles on a tree indicating where the track recommences.
The track crosses the debris field which retains the lake before dropping and sidling the next gorge all the way to the walkwire. George Sound Hut lies 300m beyond on the shore of George Sound - an idyllic spot, if it weren't for the sandflies.
Thomson Hut - Henry Pass, 6km, 3-5 hrs
Henry Pass to Lake Katherine outlet, 7km, 3-5 hrs
Lake Katherine to George Sound Hut 2km, 1-1.5 hr