Altitude: 1316m to 1676m. Gain: 44m. Loss: 404m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
The route south from Te Atuaoparapara descends a steep ridge with scree on one side and bluffs on the other. It is not for the inexperienced, and should not be attempted in strong winds.
From Te Atuaoparapara, descend south, briefly on nice tussock but soon reaching scree faces. The ridgeline is dotted with tall impassible rock outcrops, and it is necessary to sidle below these on the western face. Descent the sharp ridgeline, or the western face just below it on loose scree to the saddle below. Do not venture onto the eastern face.
One on the saddle you can breath easy. Swing SE to climb onto the bare rocky ridgeline of the next highpoint, and follow it south over pt1625. Cairns try to lead you onto the eastern face - this is a mistake - don't do it. Instead, pass pt1625, head due south for 150m, and follow the tussock spur dropping towards the Waipawa Saddle. This becomes fine scree lower down, and is good running down to the saddle. A cairn and warratah at the saddle marks the track crossing from Waipawa Forks to Waikamaka Hut.