Altitude: 1237m to 1489m. Gain: 683m. Loss: 686m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
South from Sparrowhawk the main Ruahine ridge becomes scrubby. The climb to Maropea is ok, but Maropea summit is dominated by speargrass and best bypassed to the west. The saddle south between Maropea and pt1476 is scrubby and tough on the legs, but 'ok.'. The next saddle south however, is covered with thick scrub and densely packed bush and is a real bushbash (2014). It is hgard, painful going and 'find-your-own-way' until you get clear of it climbing to pt1499. I sidled the west, then crossed to the east, but the route was hardly recommendable.
Once on to pt1499, things improve, and it is an easy climb over the peak and down to Armstrong Saddle, where the track crossing from Sunrise to Top Maropea is obvious. A small tarn at the saddle provides water if you need it.