Altitude: 72m to 1260m. Gain: 1192m. Loss: 20m . Gradient: 8 deg (Steep)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
The remote huts description was pretty bang on for us. There was a large cairn and a couple of small pieces of white permolat marking the start of the steep ascent onto the spur.
We were a party of above average fitness, and it took us 6 - 6.5 hrs, although the track was good.
Route informaton from Remote Huts: http://remotehuts.co.nz/huts/gerhardt/
Access to the start of the Gerhard Spur track is along the TR of Diedrichs Creek from the Diedrichs Creek bridge on the Hokitika Gorge road. There is a padlocked gate to deter poachers at the start of the farm track, however it is public conservation land and there is a paper legal road along the TR of the Creek. Cross Muriel Creek and continue up the Diedrichs Creek riverbed for around one kilometre crossing one of the braids where cuts in against some shingle bluffs. The track enters the bush at the top end of the bluffs (E1439727/ N5240703)(BV18 397 407), climbs steeply initially then passes through an area with a fair bit of windthrow and regrowth. There is another very steep section just below Point 867m after which the Spur flattens and continues at a fairly level gradient for 1.5km. The ridge then steepens and the track goes up through a band of pink pine onto a bench with open tussock patches and tarns at 960m. Another steep section follows to a bench at 1120m where the odd bit of debris from the original Gerhard Biv can be found. A final steep section follows up through a last band of alpine scrub onto a flat area of ridge where the Biv is located, just off the crest on the Diedrichs Creek side. Allow 4-6 hours from the Diedrichs Creek Bridge to the Biv.
Gerhardt Biv can be accessed from Cedar Flat in the Toaroha valley over Squall Peak and Jumbletop. A track from Cedar Flat onto Squall Peak is not officially maintained, but has been kept open by Permolat volunteers. In May and July 2020 Andrew Barker and friends recut and marked the track. It starts 50 meters up the TL of Percy Creek at the bottom of Cedar Flat, climbs steeply through the rata belt to a knoll at 950m, then zigs North across the spur through a grove of leatherwood before resuming its upward trajectory. The top entrance is at just under 1100m (E1447197/ N5242071)(BV19 472 421). Waratahs lead through scattered alpine scrub, then open tussock patches, to a rock outcrop at 1200m. There is a large tarn with good campsites on the South side of the ridge at 1240m. From Squall Peak it's a straightforward traverse of Jumble Top to the Biv. An ice axe may be necessary during the colder months on a short, steep pitch on the Gerhardt Spur side of Jumble Top, which is occasionally icy. Allow 4-5 hours travel from Cedar Flat to Gerhardt Biv.