Altitude: 448m to 1868m. Gain: 7659m. Loss: 7688m . Gradient: 10 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot, avalanche risk (3/7)
A very scenic 100km tramp down the middle of the South Island, from St Arnaud to Lewis Pass.
Most of the tramp is remote and sections are dangerous, particularly in poor visibility. Take a PLB and/or Mountain Radio. Described here from North to South, the tramp can be done in either direction. Maps, compass and GPS are necessary.
From St Arnaud, the high Robert Ridge and scenic Angelus Basin are a taste of things to come. Descending steeply to the Sabine River precedes a longer gradual climb to it's source and a steep scree ascent to Waiau Pass.
Descend to the valley then climb again to Lake Thompson at 1800m elevation and a tricky route-finding sidle, high above the head of the D'Urville Valley.
Descending into the Matakitaki Valley, the route follows the east branch then climbs back to the tops along the west branch, to Three Tarns Pass.
Finally, the last major descent and onto the St James Walkway and Lewis Pass.