Length: from 10.0 up to 12.0 days
Distance: 90.7 km (51.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 494m to 1721m. Gain: 8124m. Loss: 7807m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)

A circuit around the Kaweka Ranges.


Distance: 3.5 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 494m to 1229m. Gain: 742m. Loss: 16m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the information panel at the campground, the Kuripapango track runs up flats on the eastern bank of the Ngaruroro river for 200. Two sidestreams are crossed by bridge.

After 200m of flat, the track starts to ascend steeply up the spur to Kurikapango summit, and continues on the same gradient for 2km, gaining 800m. The track is generally ok - on gravelly clay-pan in places but not as slippery as faces further west. Track markers are poles / cairns, but the track is well used and generally fairly obvious. The track hits the Lakes-Kiwi Saddle track 100m west of the summit/transmitter tower at a signposted junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-03

Distance: 2.7 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1221m to 1370m. Gain: 224m. Loss: 75m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

NE from the Kurikapango track junction, the track follows the ridgeline, generally sidling just north of its summit. Through a mixture of pines and manuka, it enters beech after 1km and climbs to pt1359. Beyond it teeters between bush to the north and scree faces to the south as it drops over a coupe of saddles and makes the steep, loose climb to the Cameron Hut track junction. The junction is signposted on the bushedge on the unnamed summit 1km south of Kiwi Saddle Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06

Distance: 2.7 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1115m to 1377m. Gain: 118m. Loss: 313m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Dropping west from the track junction towards Cameron Hut, its just 100m to the bushedge, and some shelter from the elements. After a brief, steep drop, the ridgeline meanders around at about 1100m for an age. Climbing, falling over numerous small peaks, but generally getting no closer to the silver thread of the Ngaruroro visible (on a good day) 1000m below at the base of the deep gorge. The south face of the valleyside is scarred by numerous slips, the vegetation back to that sparse manuka so typical of the Kawekas; the north thicker, more stable, a solid canopy of beech. A track forks off north to Kiwi Mouth Hut (the fastest way out of that hut, if the Kiwi Stream is up) and later we swing south, but still do not start to drop.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06

Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 560m to 1182m. Gain: 59m. Loss: 681m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the track junction, the track continues a further 500m west along the ridgeline, before finally veering sharply south off the final peak. Thus we commence a precipitous descent to the river. The broad Kaweka highway is gone – the track benched and cut only by the passing of feet – zigzagging its way down a narrow, crumbling slips and chutes. The descent goes on for ever – in and out of scree chutes, brief sidles between them. The out onto clay-pan faces – fine in the dry, but lethal after rain, ‘like butter spread on steel plate’. And still the river, far below.

Slowly, eventually, features on the valley-floor resolve into objects. We’re dropping to a semi-circular flat, trapped between a sweeping curve of the river and the steep sides of the gorge. A large, circular clearing in the middle of the flat – at first guessed to be the hut site - becomes a dry lakebed. The sea of green becomes tall, mature manuka – growing some 10m tall in this flat, protected spot.

We finally hit the valley floor, knees trembling. A short track leads to a junction: Kiwi Mouth & Te Iringa right, Kurikapango left. No mention of Cameron Hut.

Cameron turns out to be left, the track heading briefly downriver before swinging south towards the point of the peninsula. Cameron Hut sits in a moss-carpeted clearing 50m back from the river.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06

Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 560m to 1182m. Gain: 681m. Loss: 59m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Cameron Hut, a cut, marked track leads north across the small flat to the base of the valleyside. A signposted track junction points upriver to Kiwi Mouth, or north up the face to Kiwi Saddle or Kurukapango.

The climb is steep and basic - more a route than a track. Zigzagging up the face on a series of claypan slips - this can be barely passable after rain due to the slippery surface and lack of things to hold onto: 'like butter spread on steel plate' my trip notes report. I only succeeded in ascending with the aid of an iceaxe after rain.

The climb continues for 600 steep meters, finally getting into more solid bush and onto gravel surface far betteer than the claypan. The route is well marked.

As suddenly as it started the climb ends, and a good broad cut marked track continues onto the flat ridgeline above through mature bush. Swinging east, a signposted track junction lies 500m beyond. A marked route branches north over a broad saddle towards Kiwi Mouth, and the main track continues east towards Kiwi Saddle and Kurikapango.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06

Distance: 1.1 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1138m to 1189m. Gain: 42m. Loss: 55m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A rough, unmaintained but marked track runs north-south between the Kiwi Saddle-Kiwi Mouth track and the Cameron Hut track. The track drops 100m to a beech-clad saddle before climbing to the track junction at the far end. Both ends are signposted.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-26 19:33:56

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 1.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 636m to 1230m. Gain: 54m. Loss: 594m . Gradient: 21 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the sign-posted track junction, climb 300m due west through beech forest to the flat high point of 1238. From here the track/ route swings NW, then west down an ill-defined spur, before beginning to descend more steeply (600m in 1 km) in a NW direction through chutes & open clay-pans down to Kiwi Mouth Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 01:45:18

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 5.5 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 621m to 1287m. Gain: 709m. Loss: 114m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Heading downriver from the Kiwi Mouth Hut a well marked, well cut track runs 700m to the swing-bridge. A signpost here marks the route onwards downriver to Cameron Hut. Crossing the bridge, the track zigzags up the bush face to reach the crest of the spur & follows it north. At pt 1045 the track cuts across the western face on ill-defined slips & clay-pans which are steep & slippery after rain, eventually reaching the saddle north of the knob. From here travel is on a well-used & well-marked poled route, climbing steeply to the ridgeline & following it north on tussock & clay pans for a further 2 km to the signposted turnoff to Manson Hut. The hut sits 50 m below the ridgeline, down the marked side track.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-28
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 01:55:56

Distance: 0.3 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1116m to 1231m. Gain: 2m. Loss: 115m . Gradient: 23 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Manson Hut, head south through a tongue of beech to the crest of a spur. Follow this down through slips and manuka scrub. A roughly marked route drops steeply east, becoming better defined as the vegetation gets thicker. This finally emerges into a flat, grassy basin 100m below. Old Manson hut sits on the bushedge at the back of the basin.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 3.6 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 961m to 1333m. Gain: 446m. Loss: 324m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

When standing in front of the Old Mansion Hut looking downhill towards the lower end of the grassy basin, head to the lower right hand corner & follow vague & ill-defined flagging tape down the small side creek to the Tapahiwhenua Stream. Head down Tapahiwhenua Stream for 100m & climb up on to the true left bank to the base of a scrubby but open side spur. Climb in a NE direction, picking your way through scrub near the bush edge on the crest of the spur. As you gain height the scrub lessens & eventually reaches the bush edge & open tops. From here, the spur becomes more defined, it sidles to the south of an un-named high point (south of pt 1412) & eventually meets the DOC marked track that runs in a NW-SE direction from Mansion Biv. Upon meeting the DOC track stick to the spur as it descends 1 km through bush to a saddle NW of pt 1257, reaching open tops shortly thereafter. A ground trail climbs towards pt 1257 (close to the bush edge) & swings SW for 200m to Mansion Biv. Do not swing into the open country after emerging from the bush saddle, stick to the bush edge ground trail.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 03:20:33

Distance: 3.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1158m to 1415m. Gain: 324m. Loss: 153m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Manson Biv, head onto the open tops to the west, and follow the bushedge NE to pt1257. Do not swing west in to open, instead look for DOC triangles on the NE bushedge which mark the start of a cut, marked track swinging NW through the next 1km of beech-clad saddle. This emerges back into the open 1km east of pt1412, and a further 2km of unmarked tops travel follows, swinging north ver pt1412 then west to meet the main manson tops poled route at a signposted junction 500m ESE of Manson highpoint. The route is, for the most part, unpoled and has no clear ground trail.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1400m to 1421m. Gain: 28m. Loss: 12m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Continuing NW from the Manson Biv junction, the poled route reaches another signposted track junction after 500m - just below Manson highpoint. This is the turnoff to Otutu Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 2.6 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1051m to 1445m. Gain: 252m. Loss: 397m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the open top junction, climb 200m SW to the exposed high point of Mansion via a poled route. Over the next 1km the route drops SW-W along a tussock ridge to the bush edge. At the bush edge the track drops steeply down to Mason Creek which can be crossed normally with dry feet. The track then climbs steeply up a well-marked & well-cut track to the bush edge, where it swings NE along the open tops (marked by a few poles) to a high point south of Otutu Hut, before descending close to the eastern bush edge to the hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-03
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 03:41:11

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 2.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1249m to 1419m. Gain: 234m. Loss: 164m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From Otutu Hut to pt1373

From Otutu Hut head north dropping into a bush saddle along a cut & marked track, before gradually climbing to the scrubby open poled tops & climbing to an un-named high point (south of pt 1411) where the route swings east, dropping to the bush edge & into a bush saddle SW of pt 1373.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 03:55:19

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 2.4 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 796m to 1363m. Gain: 35m. Loss: 589m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The route north of pt 1373 to Ngaawapurua Hut crosses private Maori land & the track is old & non-maintained but the ground trail is obvious as the track is moderately well-used. Note the swing bridge over the Ngaruroro River below the hut has been removed, however the Ngaruroro River can be crossed in all except flood conditions.

From the high point of 1373 head north climbing & dropping 800m over several bush covered knolls & rocky out crops before swinging NE & descending a bush covered spur (steep in places) & marked intermittently with permolat/ cruise tape, to the true right of the Ngaruroro River just below the forks with Harkness Stream. Once at the waters edge, head slightly up-stream of the forks with Harkness Stream & locate a good crossing point. One can either cross at the outflow or by swimming a deep slow pool near the forks. Once across on the other side head up-stream either on river terraces or in the Harkness riverbed to Ngaawapurua Hut which sits at the back of a grassy clearing overlooking the river.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 04:29:46

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 4.6 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 811m to 1050m. Gain: 345m. Loss: 212m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Ngaawapurua Hut the track heads north climbing & sidling along the western side of the valley for 1 km through mature beech forest, before swinging NW-N & continuing to sidle in to & out of narrow, 2-3m wide streams (knee deep in normal flow) for another 2 kms. The track drops into the valley floor for the next 2 km with numerous side-creek crossings leading up to the Harkness forks.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 04:44:53

Distance: 0.7 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 943m to 980m. Gain: 42m. Loss: 5m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The track junction for the turnoff to Harkness Hut is signposted up the NE fork, and another broad Kaweka track heads up the north-east fork towards the hut, crossing the creek another 4 times. You can see the hut clearing on the northern slopes ahead, where tussock valley transitions back to beech. It’s a brief rocky scramble up the track to the hut, some 40m out of the valleyfloor.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 3.8 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 974m to 1483m. Gain: 560m. Loss: 122m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Harkness we continue along the central Kaweka highway. To warm-up there’s an easy 800m section along the valley floor, but then the climb starts. The broad track climbs steadily up the meandering ridgeline, reaching exposed tops 1km before the hut. The tops route is poled and clear.

A junction with a well-trodden track, heading north from the summit, is not marked on maps or signposted. However, it appears to lead off along the tops towards Mangatainoka Hut.

Te Puke Hut nestles in a beech-covered basin at the head of a small sidecreek on the southern side of the ridgeline - 100m off the track. The junction is signposted.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 7.0 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1285m to 1443m. Gain: 331m. Loss: 348m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Te Puke the track spends a lot of time on an exposed, bare ridgeline, dropping in between to long, flat saddles where stunted beech trees lap over the tops - at the limit of their range. In late summer, the whistles of sika serenade me from the faces below. There are no major climbs, but lots of short ups and downs over each peak. The tops sections are poled, and the bush sections well cut, so it is easy tramping, but exposed.

Finally, the narrow ridgeline broadens to wide, marshy tops – climbing, slowly drying as they rise, to reach the track junction on the flat summit.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 0.5 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1362m to 1400m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 38m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Mangaturutu Hut is 600m along the NW fork from the track junction – the track dropping 60m through a band of beech as it commences it's descent along another narrow ridge.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 0.5 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1362m to 1400m. Gain: 38m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Mangaturutu Hut, the track climbs SE, soon leaving the beech and climbing onto exposed rocky tops. The route is poled, and the track junction signposted - some 800m from the hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 3.1 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1202m to 1450m. Gain: 302m. Loss: 253m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the track junction at the summit above Mangaturutu, the poled track to Venison Tops runs south over the open tops – easy going for 500m, when the low saddle(s) to Venison Tops open out below you. The track drops to a narrow ridgeline, losing 200m to the first saddle, climbing again 100m-or-so to cross each of two intermediate nipples above the low ridgeline. Beyond the third saddle, the track makes a final, steady 300m climb to reach the bushedge at Venison Tops Hut. It’s a well marked, well cut track, and I shouldn’t complain, but there’s a lot of up and down for just four horizontal kilometers.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 4.8 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1208m to 1603m. Gain: 431m. Loss: 278m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Heading south (uphill) from Venison Tops / Tira for 100m or so leads you to a signposted junction for Rocks Ahead (south) or the main Kaweka Range (east). Heading east, the track drops steeply to a beech-covered saddle, where it idles flat for a couple of kilometers before commencing its steady climb to Ballard. The 400m climb is continuous but good, the 1.5m wide cut track following the ridgeline as it weaves its way upwards towards the main Kaweka tops. Things become steeper and stonier once the bushedge is passed, and we climb through red clay-pan hollows in a landscape painted orange, yellow, grey by the sub-alpine plants and lichens of the Kawekas. Climbing further, the clay-pan is slowly superseded by bare fine stones, the colours of the sub-alpines by a diminishing scattering of grey-gold tussock. Until finally, nothing remains but bare rock and scree.

A large cairn on the summit marks the turnoff to Ballard Hut, accompanied by a standard steel-plate Kaweka signpost.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 16:19:05

Distance: 0.5 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1404m to 1603m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 199m . Gradient: 25 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the cairn at the summit, an unmarked route drops steeply north towards a saddle 200m below. At a jog, it takes just 10 minutes to descend the 200 vertical meters from the summit to Ballard Hut, which is hidden in beech on the saddle. The route is not marked or poled, but is fairly obvious.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 16:20:22

Distance: 0.5 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1404m to 1603m. Gain: 199m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 25 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The steep climb south from Ballard Hut to the main track is not marked, but is fairly obvious - just head south up the steep face from the hut to the ridgeline. You leave the bush at the hut, and the entire climb is on gravel and tussock - exposed to the weather but a scramble, not a climb.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 16:20:22

Distance: 4.8 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1208m to 1603m. Gain: 278m. Loss: 431m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the cairn / signpost at the Ballard Hut junction, the poled route to Venison Tops drops steadily east through a landscape of bare rock and stone. Soon the rock gives way to clay pan and small alpine plants, and slowly a Kaweka palette of striking orange, yellow and grey plants and lichens establish themselves over the red-oxide soil.

The gradient steepens and we drop north off the narrow spur into the bush below, aiming for a saddle on the ridgeline. Once in the bush the track is broad, marked and well cut. The track idles more-or-less flat in a westerly direction for a couple of kilometers before a final kilometer-long climb is reached, rising 300m to Venison Top and emerging back into stony tussock. A signpost marks the track junction on the ridgeline, and the hut is 100m to the north on the bushedge.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 16:19:05

Distance: 4.1 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 714m to 1481m. Gain: 33m. Loss: 776m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Vension Tops Hut head south to the junction that heads east to Ballard Hut, Whetu & the main ridge of the Kaweka Range. From the junction continue heading south & climb to the open tops of pt 1490. Swing SW & drop to the bush line & continue dropping to the NW side of pt 1368. From the NW side of this high point swing south & drop down the spur to Rocks Ahead Stream, cross this & climb to Rocks Ahead Hut.

Created by: Reidpaulnz on 2018-06-10
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 00:51:12

Distance: 3.4 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 712m to 1404m. Gain: 745m. Loss: 53m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the track junction 20m south of Rocks Ahead Biv, the track to Back Ridge climbs steeply and continuously east up an ill-defined spur to the first knob. From here the gradient lessens and numerous small climbs and descents follow over a series of knobs before the summit of Back Ridge is reached. Travel is through mature beech forest, apart from the last 100m to the signposted track junction at the summit. Back Ridge Biv lies 150m SE of the junction on the far buishedge. A poled route drops to the biv.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-11-10 22:48:52. Experienced: 2014-07-01

Distance: 2.6 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1316m to 1454m. Gain: 101m. Loss: 195m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Back Ridge Biv, a track climbs north 150m to the signposted track junction on the summit. From here the track to the Kaweka Main Range heads NNE along the ridgline, initially through beech forest, emerging briefly onto claypan tops at Maminga highpoint, before dropping back into bush for Sterns Saddle. A signpost at the saddle marks the turnoff to Back Ridge Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26

Distance: 0.5 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1265m to 1317m. Gain: 30m. Loss: 54m . Gradient: 10 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Sterns Saddle, the Back Ridge Hut track cuts east, sidling the face to cross a spur then dropping / sidling to creek. The creek is small and should be crossable in almost any weather. Back Ridge Hut is on the edge of a small copse of beech on the opposite bank.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26

Distance: 2.4 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1292m to 1701m. Gain: 470m. Loss: 61m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

This route takes the northern of the two ridges leading up from Back Ridge Hut to the main range.

A roughly marked track climbs the peak to the north of the hut, sidling the face SE of the summit to the saddle east of the peak. An unmarked route then follows the spur east, climbing to the Kaweka main range in a series of steep steps. Initially the track is in tussock, but soon enters loose, bare rocky tops. The track frequently sidles the dark, southern face and can hold ice late in the day in winter.

The junction with the main range track is marked by a signpost, but both tracks are sparsely poled, and it is easy to miss in poor visibility.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-30
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 16:52:13

Distance: 0.8 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1688m to 1721m. Gain: 33m. Loss: 13m . Gradient: 3 deg (Flat)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Back Ridge Hut turnoff, the main range track continues south across broad, featureless, stony tops to the Kaweka J highpoint. The route is sparsely poled, and markers can be hard to find in poor visibility. The Makahu Spur track junction is signposted and reached 100m before the summit.

Just by the summit stands a large cairn and memorial plaque. A signpost nearby marks the start of the route west down Back Ridge.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 1.9 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1576m to 1721m. Gain: 24m. Loss: 169m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Heading SW from the cairn at Kaweka J, the ridgeline continues broad and flat. The route meanders along the Kaweka tops to reach Mad Dog summit. The track junction for the northern access to Studholme Saddle Hut is signposted, and reached 100m south of the summit itself. The route is poled, but often the distance between poles is sufficient to lose sight of them in poor weather. Though the ridgeline is obvious in good weather and navigation is straight forward, a compass and map would be advisable in poor visibility.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 0.8 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1307m to 1576m. Gain: 1m. Loss: 269m . Gradient: 19 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

At the signposted turnoff just south of Mad Dog hill, drop down the spur east of the hut. A good ground trail exists but the track is not marked.

A cairn marks the spot to drop west off the ridge - just after where beech starts in the valley below. AA rough route zigzags down to the bush where a triangle marks the start of a track. Follow this downriver to Studholm Saddle hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2011-01-01

Distance: 0.5 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1244m to 1314m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 70m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the track downriver, soon exiting the bush. From there you wander down the tussock valley to the forms some 300m away. Studholm Saddle Biv is on the eastern side, between the two forks.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2011-01-01

Distance: 0.4 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1244m to 1392m. Gain: 148m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 21 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A lightly poled route runs up/down the spur between Studholm Saddle Biv and the signposted turnoff north of Mackintosh Spur. A vague ground trail is present through the tussock.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2011-01-01

Distance: 0.4 km (0.2 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1374m to 1418m. Gain: 44m. Loss: 18m . Gradient: 9 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

South of the southern Studholme Saddle Hut turnoff, the main range track heads 500m south dropping to a small saddle and climbing to the Mackintosh Spur track junction on the next knob. The junction is marked with a signpost - Mackintosh Hut to the east and Kiwi Saddle to the west from the summit.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Distance: 2.8 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 903m to 1418m. Gain: 14m. Loss: 529m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A wide, well cut tunnel of a track drops through contorta pine down Mackintosh Spur. Lower, manuka replaces pine, and soon the track emerges onto flats at the base of the range. The track junction to The Lakes carpark via the former Kaweka Biv is just beyond and is signposted.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06

Distance: 1.0 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 855m to 908m. Gain: 5m. Loss: 53m . Gradient: 3 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Kaweka Biv track junction, the MAckintosh Hut track heads SSE across beech and pine covered flats. A junction 300m before the hut is the turnoff for Makahu Saddle Hut. Mackintosh Hut sits on the edge of an area of beech overlooking a large clearing.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-07-08 15:56:23

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