Altitude: 877m to 1522m. Gain: 1506m. Loss: 1466m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
An exposed (to weather) but technically unchallenging tops route follows the ridgeline south from Robin Saddle Hut to Lakes Ione and Eva. This route follows the boundary of the Takahe "Special Protected Area" and at a few places stray into the exclusion zone by up to 300m - specifically when bypassing pt 1634 and pt1408. This means that a permit may be required to walk this route, and you should probably consult DOC Te Anau to see if they require one for these brief sections. Pt 1408 could probably be bypassed also to the west, but the traverse east of pt1634 is probably unavoidable.
From Robin Saddle Hut head south over pt1097 through a maze of bluffs, tarns, rock gullies and sinkholes. Swing SE to join the main ridgeline and climb it over pt 1319 and pt 1335 before swinging west again to the base of the climb to pt1547. A brief bluff layer low down on pt1547 is mentioned as 'problematic' in Moir's but a simple, steep snowgrass and tussock gully climbs through it with just a few meters of scrambling to reach gentler faces on the north-facing slopes above. Regain the spur and follow it up into the scree basin below pt1547. A gently sloping terrace of rock slabs lies SE of the peak. Make a sidling climb of this terrace to regain the ridgeline at the saddle between pt1547 and pt1526. Follow the ridgeline over pt1526 before sidling again on the SE face below pt1577. Attain the second (western) of two spurs dropping SSW towards Te Au Saddle - making the direct line between pt1577 and pt1144. Follow the spur down, nosing your way down through bluff layers sometime on the spur, sometimes int he creek to its west.
Climb the spur SE from Te Au Saddle and cut onto its western face to pass through the saddle at pt1151 rather than climbing to pt1285. Pt1408 can easily be bypassed in the two valleys to its east before climbing to the ridgeline between pt1329 and the main divide. Cut west below the bluffed face of pt1408 to reach the tarns SW of the peak.
Pt 1370 is bypassed to the west. Cross the saddle to the creek draining west immediately before the climb to pt1370. Follow this creek west, sticking to the true left close to the creek until you have dropped through the bluff layers to gentle faces at around 1050m. Moir's details a steep route down into the East Cozette from this point.
To continue to Lake Eva - make a sidling climb south up the scrubby-tussock faces below the pluffs of pt1370 and pt1694, heading for the saddle NE of pt1384. Pts 1384, pt 1383 and pt1491 can be crossed on the ridgeline. Great camping exists by numerous small tarns in this region - being careful to remain outside the Takahe SPA.
Drop to the saddle SW of pt1491 and descend the steep rocky gut SE towards Lake Ione until you hit the terraces visible on the map at around 1290m. Sidle these terraces south and onto the spur which leads to Macpherson Pass. At around 1150m drop west off the spur down the face heading for the narrow isthmus between Lakes Ione and Eva. The descent is moderately steep but not exposed on good tussock if you get it right.
The south shore of Lake Ione can be followed either on scrubby banks or in the water to the low tussock saddle leading to the outflow of Lake Eva. Reasonable dry campspots exist on the spur on the true left of the creek draining the lake before it drops to the scrubby basin below.
Robin Saddle to Te Au Saddle: 6km, 4-6 hrs
Te Au Saddle to 'East Cozette Shelf' (west pf pt1370): 4km, 2-3 hrs
East Cozette shelf to Lake Eva outflow: 5.5km, 5-7 hrs