Altitude: 821m to 1325m. Gain: 509m. Loss: 393m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6)
From Upper Princhester Hut, the route continues up the stream until you reach the confluence of the 3 streams. Go past the first stream on the true right, then observe the second stream flowing out of a gorge on the true left into the main stream. A scrubby ridge climbs steeply up the hill, forming the true right (south wall) of the gorge. Begin climbing here, initially straight up the ridge but then sidle south into a scrubby gully. Climb straight up to the top of the gully, where after pushing through some more scrub, open tussock slopes are reached. Climb these up the hill to sidle into the upper valley high above the main branch of Princhester Creek between 1100-1200 metres.
Cross the creek and climb towards the obvious low point on the skyline, the saddle that leads to the Aparima Valley. Moirs Guide South vaguely describes a route which passes through bluffs on the western side of the large valley on the Aparima side which gorges out lower down. I crossed over the saddle in thick fog/cloud, so rather then tackle bluffs I descended the eastern side of the valley. Sidle southwest, staying high as best as possible, crossing some steep unstable scree slopes, until you encounter a deeply incised stream dropping down into the Aparima below. The true right ridge of the stream can be followed most of the way down the mountain side. Lower down, drop into a gully west of the incised stream, and follow this the rest of the way down. The bottom of the gully pops out near the mouth of the gorge of the stream dropping down from the Princhester/Aparima saddle.
The Aparima River is mostly rocks and scree up here but there is good camping just below the 900m contour roughly a kilometre down stream.