Altitude: 1182m to 1866m. Gain: 1075m. Loss: 391m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6)
From Blue Lake, the route is poled all the way to Waiau Pass (and on to the valley floor).
Initially gently rising and open, once to the trees the track steepens. A rising track leads to the true left of Lake Constance brings you to a steep scree climb then a traverse to the mid-point of the lake.
Although there have been recorded deaths above the lake, the track is straight forward. However, take care if you choose to approach the top of the bluffs as the fall to the lake is sheer.
The poled route leads to a steep descent in a gut and to the lake shore – then along to the lake head and across the valley floor (good campsites 100m before the start of the climb) and up up up to Waiau Pass.
It’s steep but the initial section on larger rocks is stable. The track moves onto a grass tongue until an obvious footpad angles up, across the scree, towards a grassy shelf. A useful tarn at the base of the final ascent to the pass means less water needs to be hauled up from the valley.