From Henderson/Glaisnock forks to Lake Thomson Hut via Henderson / Wapiti rivers
Distance: 16.4 km (21.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Hard terrain
Altitude: 236m to 1302m. Gain: 1154m. Loss: 1098m . Gradient: 8 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

There are good well used campsites on the true right of the Glaisnock just below Henderson Burn. The trail up Henderson Burn starts from the rear of these. Climb the true right of Henderson Burn, staying out of the deep gorge. Deer trails are strong until the valley flattens out when they disperse. A few good campspots exist soon after the start of the flat valley. Travel on the true right remains good. Eventually bush gives out to scrub and you're best using the riverbed or either bank until the start of the clearings in the head of the valley are reached. More good campspots exist on dry land on the river banks at the start of clearings.

There are more streams in the head of the valley than the map indicates. The best route through the lower band of bluffs seems to be up a deer trail which zigzags through thick scrub between the SE fork shown on the map and another larger one 100m east of it. Once past the scrub you reach gentler tussock faces at around 900m. Here it is necessary to cross the creek indicated on the map before it gorges out, and find a route up onto the spur on its north west side. This climb is steep and exposed and will likely involve 20m or so of hauling yourself up by tussocks and flax with exposure to falls below.

Once above the second line of bluffs travel is simple on moderately steep faces of short tussock NW of the creek, curling round the head basin to sidle onto the pass at its summit.

The descent into the head basin of the Wapiti is simple down modertely steep scree and tussock faces on the south side of the valley, avoiding sheer bluffs to the north. Once in the basin, cross the creek at the bushedge and bash your way down the north side of the creek in extremely steep country past a series of waterfalls. There are deer trails through here, but many die out at sheer dropoffs, hence some nosing around may be required to find a viable route. Expect hand-over-hand climbing through near-vertical scrub - but nothing too exposed owing to the amount of vegetation.

Once on the main valley floor, proceed to the main Wapiti River, and follow it down. Generally the best deer trails are on the true right, though crossing in places can aid travel. A few marginal campspots exists well above the lake.

A long thin clearing heads due west 100m before Lake Sutherland - follow it rather than continuing to the boggy lake shore, and cut round the head of the lake. Progress here is painfully slow in tangled bush or knee deep marsh on the lakeshore. 3 or 4 channels enter the lake from the west - and are best crossed 100m-200m from the lake where they are not too deep. Finally gain the bush at the base of slopes on the west side of the lake and sidle the lakeshore south - the best travel generally being 10m-20m above the lake.

Below Lake Sutherland travel continues on the true right fo the river - with vast fields of boulders and windfall to negotiate above Rum Gully. Travel improves briefly below Rum Gully until the river enters a gorge 1km from the George Sound Track. From here stay high - do not drop into the gorge but follow deer trails on the terraces at around 400m until you can cut SSW to hit the George Sound Track.

The track can be followed the remaining 1km or so to (Lake) Thom(p)son Hut - the spelling and exact name of which seems to be confused between various sources.

The hut lies just up a brief waterfall from a signposted turnoff on the main track and could easily be missed.

Glaisnock to Henderson Burn head basin: 6km, 3-6hrs
Henderson Burn head basin to pass: 1km, 1.5-3 hrs
pass to Wapiti River top forks: 2km, 2-4 hrs
Wapiti top forks to Thomson Hut: 4-8 hrs

(lower times are my own, upper an estimate of DOC-equivalent times)

Last updated by: Madpom at 2019-04-03 19:03:25. Experienced: 2019-03-08
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