Altitude: -35m to 971m. Gain: 2164m. Loss: 1405m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
The easiest route towards Lake Fraser from Lake Cove appears to be along the gentle open tops north-west of Lake Macarthur. Accessing the tops is the hard bit.
Head up the south bank of the east-flowing creek north of Mt Inaccessible. After 700m pick up the spur climbing south-west where the valleysides start to become steep. Follow this spur up on good deer trails to ~270m to just where the climb becomes very steep. Sidle west at this height, on fainter deer trails leading to a good platform across the first of several slipped-out guts. Continue sidling through a second large gut at this height and climb onto the spur beyond. From here either continue up the spur or drop into the third smaller gut and follow deer trails up it to the terraces above at ~310m.
The flat section of valley is harder going. Vegetation is either scrubby or a jumble of windfall and boulders - and very slow travel for the first 1km. Possible campspots exist at the first forks, above which travel on the river bank and dry channels provide easier movement for a while. As the valley steepens, deer trails sidle in open forest on the north side 20-30m above the creek until the scrub layer is reached at about 500m. A painful crawl / scrubbash follows to the small tarn - I crossed to the south side of the creek and picked up clearings south of the tarn.
The clearing shown on maps west of the tarn is misleading. There are just 2 small clearings one near the tarn and one on the terrace below the climb to pt776. In between is a slow painful scrub-bash through leatherleaf and other alpine scrub. From the 2nd clearing, climb the steep face to the saddle north of pt 776 where you eventually hit clear tops.
I traveled this route in mist so had limited opportunities to spy out a good route. Uncertain of routes along the western flank of Mt Inaccessible I dropped SW from pt776 through the next creek in good bush with a short scrub-bash required to regain the tops leading to pt772 beyond. Looking back, a sidle of the face of Mt Inaccessible would be possible at ~850m where there is a reasonable clear shelf. You would need good visibility for that option as there are multiple bluffs and bands of scrub to avoid.
From to pt772 tops, I dropped south to the low open saddle with The Stopper (tarns and good campspots) and climbed easy gentle slopes to the main ridgeline at the saddle west of The Stopper at ~900m.
Easy travel followed on the open ridgeline west then SSW passing pt970, pt928 and pt873. This is a good easy tramp, not the narrow ridgeline the map indicates. Continuing 1km SSW off pt873 leads to a shoulder where the open tops swing west and drop towards pt399. The shoulder at ~700m has small tarns and dry campspots with a bit of scrubby shelter though otherwise exposed to the SW. Excellent views all the way south to Puysegur Point and west to West Cape.