Altitude: 427m to 1019m. Gain: 879m. Loss: 1419m . Gradient: 20 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
The western shore of Lake Annie is traverseable. Moderate slopes at the northern end of the lake are scrubby but safe going as far as the point the lake swings west. A bluff drops directly to the lake. Deer trails ascend a scree face just before the bluff and then sidle down-valley above bluffs. At each new bluff it is necessary to climb slightly, sticking to the clearest deer trail. The route ends on the moraine dam at the base of the large bluffs at the outlet end of the lake.
Descent from the lake is slow, tricky and very easily leads into dangerous territory if you get it wrong. Follow the moraine dam down to the lake outlet. The main creek cannot be descended. However, a steep gut starts beside the creek, 20m below the lake outlet, and cuts right (west) across the face descending steeply and moving away from the creek. Access to the top of this gut is not obvious and takes some poking around to drop directly into its head (both sides are bluffed and so if you miss the top you'll not be able to descend to it lower down).
Follow the gut steeply down until it rejoins the main river below the series of the waterfalls in the wooded valley below at around 820m- just upriver of a clear scrubby knoll. Follow the river down briefly and pick up deer trails climbing onto the open/scrubby knoll on the true right. Cut right (north) from the knoll into the head of an open rock/scree streambed which can be followed down past the next lot of falls in the main creek. Where the gut becomes impassable, cut left and descend the spur between the dry gut and the main stream.
The main valley can now be followed down in either the stony riverbed or the scrubby banks to the forks and then a further 200m to 'peppertree clearings'. These clearings are not particularly clear and though they do provide occasional campspots above the river banks they are barely passable and the riverbed provides faster travel.
From the end of clearings, travel downstream is on the true right. Deer trails lead through as sequence of beech and scrubby faces, remaining within 20 vertical meters of the river. After 2km a massive avalanche chute joins from the right. Deer trails exit into the chute about 20m above the main river. From here down travel is in the riverbed and a couple of crossings are required to reach to forks.
Good safe campspots exist in beech on the edge of terrace downstrem of the forks on the southern bank, overlooking the river.
See also: Route from Moir's Guide South. Ed 7. Pg 134. North Branch Awe Burn to Lake Annie