(draft) Trip: S-K Download GPX
Distance: 69.4 km (39.8 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 253m to 1518m. Gain: 5691m. Loss: 5884m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)


Distance: 3.0 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 341m to 761m. Gain: 440m. Loss: 20m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good benched track leads south from Putara Roadend towards Roaring Stag Lodge / Herepai Hut. The track is not gravelled but otherwise good, easy going and all creeks are bridged.

After a long flat sidle above the river, the track crosses Ruapae Creek, and makes a steady 300m climb to pt770. This section is not platformed, but is a good quality tramping track for most abilities. A signposted marks the junction of tracks to Herepai Hut and Roaring Stag Lodge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2006-10-01

Distance: 1.4 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 698m to 801m. Gain: 103m. Loss: 64m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From pt770, a good marked, cut tramping track drops north to a saddle, before climbing briefly west to reach Herepai Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2006-10-10

Distance: 2.0 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 812m to 1270m. Gain: 478m. Loss: 20m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A cut, marked track climbs steeply through the last of bush and scrub above Herepai Hut. After a hard, steep 200m climb, you emerge on to tussock and gravel tops and the gradient eases. A good ground trail follows the ridgeline up to Herepai Highpoint then west to Ruapae. A cairn on Ruapae summit marks the junction with the Main Range route heading north to Burn Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-20. Experienced: 2006-01-01

Distance: 0.8 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1253m to 1345m. Gain: 92m. Loss: 12m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A gentle climb along a narrow ridgeline of tussock and gravel takes you from Ruapae to East Peak. DOC warn of a section of this ridgeline that is slipping away as a hazard - but it's no worse than many other ridgeline around - just stay off the crumbling eastern face.

East Peak is the junction of the Main Range and Haukura Ridge. A biv used to lie 1.5km down this ridge (now removed) but the route down the ridge an on to either Roaring Stage or Herepai is still usable.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-20. Experienced: 2015-03-20

Distance: 4.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1140m to 1452m. Gain: 431m. Loss: 368m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From East Peak to pt1415

Heading due west from East Peak, the Tararuas play a mean trick (to be repeated many times) with a steep descent of over 200m to the saddle between East Peak and West Peak (1335m). Throw away all that hard-earned altitude. The base of the saddle is a bit scrubby, but there's a well worn ground trail, the ascen to f the far side is rocky and good going.

Up high, amidst the tussock, on a narrow ridgeline traversing rocky peaks, we’ve reached the real Tararuas at last. From West peak, heading SW again, a series of climbs and descents follow as the ridge crosses a series of peaks and saddles: Walker (1392m), Pukemoremore (1474m) and pt1415. The gets too little use to form a good ground trail, and going is slowed by rolling tussocks underfoot. At pt1415 a DOC signpost points east to Dundas Hut, clearly visible clinging to the hillside 150m below.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-20. Experienced: 2015-03-20

Distance: 3.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1332m to 1486m. Gain: 357m. Loss: 341m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From pt1415 to pt1434

From Pt1415 above Dundas Hut, the well-trodden (but unmarked) track continues SW with sharp climbs and descents to Logan (1500m) and Mt Dundas (1499m). Care is required in bad weather on Mt Dundas to select the correct ridge: from the trig point head at 185 degrees, dropping steeply, and avoiding the more obvious ridge which continues a short distance SW before ending in bluffs. There is no obvious ground trail along this section and it is not marked / poled.

From Dundas the ridge continues climbing and falling over a series of small peaks (pt 1437 and pt 1424 being the only ones marked on the map). Pt1424 is the junction with the shark-toothed Bannister Range, joining from the east. A fun, challenging route towards Cattle Ridge / Cow Creek / Blue Range - in good conditions.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-20. Experienced: 2015-03-21

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1401m to 1492m. Gain: 91m. Loss: 12m . Gradient: 10 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From pt1434 to Arete Peak

A simple, steady climb on a tussock and gravel ridgeline takes you the 1505m Arete Peak, where you finally find warratahs and a poled route..

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-20. Experienced: 2015-03-21

Distance: 0.8 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1348m to 1492m. Gain: 70m. Loss: 148m . Gradient: 15 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A poled, well-travelled route runs between Arete Peak and Pukematawai along a sharp but safe ridge. The track junction from Te Matawai Hut / Dracophyllum Hut is signposts and 40m west of Pukematawai summit.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2015-03-23

Distance: 4.6 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1010m to 1400m. Gain: 177m. Loss: 480m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

South from Pukematawai we pick up marked tracks again. On Pukematawai a DOC signpost indicates the track NW to Te Matawai Hut, and south to Dracophyllum Hut. Continuing south on the main ridge, the cut track drops and swings west scrub-line. Slight climbs are required for pt1217, pt1180 and pt1158, but the general pattern is descent until the bushline is reached. Once in the bush, however, the main ridge resumes its sawtooth norm, and climbs and falls sharply over pt 1070, pt1090 before reaching the damp Dracophyllum Hut at Dracophyllum Knob (1117m).

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2015-03-24

Distance: 5.1 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 951m to 1225m. Gain: 462m. Loss: 409m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Leaving Dracophylum Hut, nothing much changes - the well-cut track continues to climb and fall through mossy cloud-forest and occasional scrubby peaks: pt 1033, Puketoi (1152m), Kelleher (1182m), pt1055, and pt1031 - before commencing the long and steep climb to Nichols, where the track swings sharply west. In bad weather (I had mist and horizontal rain) it is very hard to pick up the point where the track turns: a well-trodden track (presumably made by lost trampers) continues south along the ridge which then drops sharply towards the Waiohine. Nothing obvious marks the turning point - so look out for a worn track branching due west.

About 500m after turn at Nichols Peak, a signpost indicates Nichols Hut below on the left (south) side of the ridge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2015-03-24

Distance: 3.4 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1155m to 1448m. Gain: 346m. Loss: 142m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the junction above Nichols Hut, the poled route continues west, climbing and falling through scrub, rock and tussock over pt 1276, pt1240 and pt1345, where it swings gently to the south, still climbing to Mt Crawford (1452m). This entire section is very exposed to the weather and can be a very unpleasent place to be. Strong winds can make this section impassable.

1km south of Crawford is Junction Knob (1375m), where a signpost indicates the descent to Waitewaewae Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2015-03-23

Distance: 2.5 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1145m to 1361m. Gain: 278m. Loss: 69m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A well worn track continues south, marked by cairns and poles over pt1356, and down to the tarns, following a muddy plateau to reach the well-maintained Anderson Memorial Hut where the bushline rises to meet the main ridge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2015-03-23
Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-15 23:30:13. Experienced: 2018-03-02

Distance: 5.1 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1073m to 1342m. Gain: 396m. Loss: 588m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From Anderson's Memorial Hut, follow the well-marked, well cut track south through the bush along the ridgeline. Going is at first easy through the bush, but become increasingly difficult with steep climbs requiring hands and feet, and making full use of vegetation to pull yourself up the steepest bits. Beyond Kahiwiroa (1320m) the ridge narrows, but is still negotiable in all but the worst weather. At Aokaparangi there are two track junctions. The first, on the highpoint, is with a poled route/track climbing from Mid Waiohine Hut in the valley to the ESE. The second, 100m later, is with a sparsely cairned route dropping SSE to Aokaparangi Hut - a biv on the bushline 200m below. Both junctions have had signposts, and either/both/neither have been missing on different occasions when I've passed through. It's a windswept spot and signposts don't last. There are cairns if the signposts are missing.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-27. Experienced: 2015-03-24
Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-12 20:48:33. Experienced: 2018-03-01

Distance: 1.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1193m to 1316m. Gain: 280m. Loss: 239m . Gradient: 16 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The most exciting and challenging section of the Tararua Main Range.

From Mangahuka follow the poled track south 100m to the summit and signposted junction (turnoff to Niell Forks). Continue along the main range, swinging west and dropping a narrow ridge to the saddle below. A couple of scrambles follow over the saddle - both roped, before you swing round the northern face of Tunui to a slight saddle between Tunui and a knob to the north. Swinging back towards the main range the poled route sidles a very steep tussock face. The face has eroded badly in recent years and is now roped across a small creekhead. This takes you to the base of the steel ladder between the peaks Tunui and Tuiti. The ladder is just that - a very long,tall ladder. We can all climb them: I've done it carrying the dog 3 times!

The tricky bit is when you get off the top. You step right off the top of the ladder, then scramble a steep rockface onto Tuiti, with large bluffs below. This section was the worst, but now has a good steel rope to hold onto.

Once on Tuiti things become easy. A standard tramp along a narrow ridgeline follows for 1km west to reach the 1st peak of McIntosh. Blue poles on the 1st summit mark the junction with a track dropping north to Penn Creek Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-13. Experienced: 2014-02-01
Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 00:04:26. Experienced: 2018-03-02

Distance: 5.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1062m to 1408m. Gain: 535m. Loss: 685m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From McIntosh to Bridge Peak the Main Range route follows the narrow ridgeline over a series of peaks, scrambling 100m-or-so over each. The route is on good tussock and not badly exposed to bluffs, etc, but this section catches the worst of the winds, which seem to be amplified through the low saddle. This route should not be attempted in strong winds. Potential escape routes exists down spurs to Penn Creek, but are scrubby with leatherleaf and would be hard going.

After the last knob, Boyd Wilson, a long, gentle climb follows up Bridge Peak. Just before the summit a poled short-cut track cuts SSW to Kime Hut, or you can continue another 250m to the main signposted track junction on Bridge Peak (recommended in poor visibility).

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-13. Experienced: 2014-02-01
Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-15 23:57:14. Experienced: 2018-03-02

Distance: 0.7 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1395m to 1418m. Gain: 23m. Loss: 15m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the signposted junction on bridge peak, a well-worn trench of a track continues south over Hut Mound and drops to Kime Hut in the basin beyond

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-13. Experienced: 2015-01-03
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-07-13 19:32:56. Experienced: 2015-01-03

Distance: 1.6 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1355m to 1514m. Gain: 259m. Loss: 158m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From Kime Hut, the poled route circles round the head of the basin and climbs the ridge to Field Peak. As short descent follows to a saddle, then a steady climb up Mt Hector on gravel and tussock. This section of track is less obvious on the ground than most of the southern crossing, and care should be taken with your route finding in poor visibility.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-13. Experienced: 2012-11-01
Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 22:07:49. Experienced: 2017-06-01

Distance: 3.2 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1317m to 1518m. Gain: 159m. Loss: 318m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From Mt Hector to Aston

This route is part of the popular southern crossing, and is well used. Giving wonderful views over Wellington and down to the South Island, it is an exposed, alpine track on rock and tussock, well above the bushline.

From Hector, the marked route drops steeply south to the undulating ridgeline that forms the Dress Circle. Once on the narrow ridgeline, a good track heads SSW over several knobs - the Beehives (1485m), Atkinson (1472m), Aston (1376m). A signpost on the broad tops of Aston marks the junction with tracks west to Elder/Renata and SSE to Alpha/Kaitoke.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-14. Experienced: 2012-11-01

Distance: 1.9 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1241m to 1360m. Gain: 88m. Loss: 119m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From Aston to Alpha

From the signposted track junction on Aston, the well worn, poled track continues south over broad tussock ridges to Alpha highpoint.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2012-11-01
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-07-15 15:45:55. Experienced: 2012-11-01

Distance: 1.2 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1117m to 1309m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 192m . Gradient: 9 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From Alpha to Alpha Hut

From Alpha summit the track swings west and soon drops into the bush. Alpha Hut lies 100m beyond the bushedge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2012-11-01
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-07-15 15:45:39. Experienced: 2012-11-01

Distance: 2.0 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1000m to 1181m. Gain: 193m. Loss: 227m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Between Alpha Hut and Omega Highpoint, the Southern Crossing track drops two the two low saddles of Hells Gate, climbing in between to pt1187. Sections of the track are steep, and there's an element of despair for some at throwing away all that altitude for nothing, but that aside it's a well cut, well marked, well travelled track.

A signposted junction just before Omega marks the turnoff left (NE) to Cone Hut via Bull Moumd

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2014-02-01

Distance: 2.5 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 907m to 1110m. Gain: 99m. Loss: 227m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Bull Mound turnoff the track swings south down the broad-topped Marchant Ridge Initially through a mix of stunted bush and low subalpine scrub there are views of the main range and valleys. Soon however the ridge drops into beech forest and there follows a long walk in the bush. The ridge undulates over several low mounds but this section of track is good with no major climbs.

On pt953 the turnoff down Block XVI track is marked by a signpost (Note - 2015: DOC talk of closing the Block XVI track)

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2014-02-01

Distance: 6.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 659m to 1029m. Gain: 212m. Loss: 480m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Block XVI turnoff, Marchant Ridge narrows and the track is forced to climb and fall more with the ridgeline. Tree roots become more prolific underfoot, and the ground between them pools and becomes muddy. It's not a bad track, but it does do go a bit!

Finally, crossing the highpoint at Marchant, you are rewarded with a burnt-section of tops which feature views down the Hutt Valley. Soon after the track drops off the eastern face and sidles down to broad low tabletops below - all in regenerating scrub following logging. Once out of the mature bush the ground turns to slippery clay.

A signposted track junction follows a slight rise, and the remains of an old fireplace - all that's left of Dobson Hut. A track cuss east here, dropping to Smith Stream Shelter and the Tauherenikau.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2012-11-01

Distance: 3.4 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 403m to 659m. Gain: 52m. Loss: 305m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An old bulldozed track runs SSW down Dobson Ridge from the former hut site through regenerating scrub and gorse. The ground is clay and it becomes a skating session after rain.

After 3km the tramping track cuts off the old roadbed and drops the face to intersect the Puffer Saddle track at a marked junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-07-15. Experienced: 2012-11-01

Distance: 1.5 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 253m to 435m. Gain: 70m. Loss: 246m . Gradient: 12 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Signposted track heads left off the Kaitoke Road End track down to the YMCA camp car park at Kiwi Ranch Road End. Descends with a variety of stairs and slopes which can be slippery when wet.

Created by: Ellya on 2018-04-16. Experienced: 2017-10-23

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