Altitude: 670m to 1595m. Gain: 1128m. Loss: 203m . Gradient: 17 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
The devastation wrought by the Momus stream in the February 2020 storm is plain to see when looking at the aerial photos of the area, the grass and trees in the stream have been replaced by a desert of rock! Just upstream from the confluence with the Rock Burn, theres a good knee deep ford under normal flows. Cross to the true left of the Rock Burn, keeping an eye out for Whio/Blue Duck which reside around here.
Once in the bush, head north east to reach the stream coming down from the southern slopes of Pt1712. There is decent travel on the true left stream bank or in the stream itself. As the terrain begins to steepen at about the 800m contour climb out onto the true right side and continue climbing up through steep bush to the north. There are bluffs in the bush between about 900m and 1000m but I had no problem bypassing them on there western edges. A large old slip was encountered, visible from Sugarloaf Pass and the satellite photos. The slip had smooth, wet, slick rock slabs so was best avoided by climbing in the bush to the west of it.
No scrub belt was encounter at the tree line, it was straight out open tussuck slopes. Sidle across beneath some belts of bluffs to reach the broadest part of the ridge southwest of Pt1712. There were a couple of small tarns here with camping, about 3 hours from the valley floor.
A large obvious ravine blocks the way to the north so climb up the ridge to pass above the head of the ravine. Northeast of the ravine, another stream drops over a waterfall which is climbed above to bypass it. Easy slopes of scree and tussock lead up and around some bluffs to reach the plateau at 1490m, south of the Mt Nox tarn, where there is a small tarn with great looking camp spots. A tall skinny ridge can be walked along high above the Mt Nox tarn to drop down to a small flat grassy area west of the tarn outlet with camp sites, 5-6 hours from the valley floor.
Cross the tarn outlet, and head down hill, crossing some scree on the true right as the outlet rapidly gorges. Moderate scree slopes lead down to the south west. By descending about 150m and heading around to the west, you avoid vast boulder fields on higher terraces southwest of Mt Nox. Instead, gentle scree slopes lead steadily up to the northwest for easy travel all the way to the saddle between Mt Nox and Pt1663. There is flat ground for camping here but no water. Nearest tarns are further along the ridge to the northwest.