Altitude: 70m to 2219m. Gain: 5652m. Loss: 5344m . Gradient: 10 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
Altitude: 70m to 1389m. Gain: 1361m. Loss: 42m . Gradient: 11 deg
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
Pick up the old Mt Wilberg track, this is overgrown in parts but followable. Once on the tops, follow the path of least resistance past some tarns.
Altitude: 559m to 1641m. Gain: 251m. Loss: 1082m . Gradient: 11 deg
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
Follow the ridge to pt 1665; there are some steep exposed detours on either side at times.
One or two clear gravel areas just big enough for a tent.
Altitude: 559m to 1199m. Gain: 815m. Loss: 175m . Gradient: 12 deg
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
Follow TR of Poerua past two gorges to reach the three way junction. Ascend difficult jungle and scrub to reach tussock on TR. Sidle until steep gullies draining pts 1608 & 2095m. Work down until above to cross the streams. Ascend slopes (more bush) towards the Poerua Glacier. Cross the glacial stream and ascend scrubby hillside with many rocks.
A low bivvy rock
Altitude: 1202m to 2125m. Gain: 1458m. Loss: 535m . Gradient: 17 deg
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
Ascend slopes to reach the ridge NE of pt 1826m. Sidle E until possible to descend snow slopes below Mt Kensington. Follow stream to junction three glaciers (now a bare gravel area). Ascend the Farrar Glacier.
Altitude: 1677m to 2219m. Gain: 618m. Loss: 1043m . Gradient: 8 deg
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7)
The better route crosses south of Mt Farrar and makes a southerly traverse before descending to steep wide ridge below pt 2415m to the Garden of Eden. We weren't to know this and cross the ridge north of Mt Farrar, descended easy slopes before a crevassed descending traverse south to reach the upper Adams Glacier.
Ascend easy slopes and gain the slopes north of Guardian Peak. Traverse to reach the Garden of Allah, cross Satan Saddle to reach the Lambert Glacier. Descend the Lambert to reach the rocky buttress above the icefall. We followed the TL in the mist which was heavily crevassed under pt 1967m, a better line would be more in the centre of the glacier.
Altitude: 1390m to 1787m. Gain: 711m. Loss: 934m . Gradient: 15 deg
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7)
This is probably not the best route; consult Canterbury-Westland Alps for an alternative (probably better) route. At the time, we had no route information and took what seemed the 'right' way. Traverse the snow and tussock slopes until they stop. Climb (some pack hauling and belaying) through a short rock band to reach gentler scree/snow slopes. Traverse NW to reach the flat area below the col (camp to this flat area took 6 hours); initially this is straightforward past a 'big' rock to the major stream draining Mt Lambert. A cairn on the ridge above this stream inspires confidence. We then made a high level traverse across three steep gullies using ice axes in the tussock, before easy slopes to the flat area.
The unnamed col is straightforward followed by easy slopes towards the col between pts 1809 & 1936m. The ridge and area around pt 1809 is covered in large rocks. The descent to the Lambert Tops is down easy tussock slopes and stream beds. Lambert Tops is open tussock travel.
Altitude: 219m to 1500m. Gain: 130m. Loss: 1370m . Gradient: 15 deg
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
Traverse to reach the Lambert Tops Route and follow the track down to the river. At the time, this was marked but not recut; if cut it would be straightforward. The bridge across the Lambert may no longer be there (check DOC website).
Altitude: 89m to 245m. Gain: 308m. Loss: 163m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
From the carpark at the power house / info board, a 4WD track follows the river for a couple of kilometers before veering inland over private land. A short roughly cut bush section follows to rejoin the road for the last 300m to where it ends at Canopy Bluff.
From here the route follows the riverbed/bank on rounded river stones and gravel. A few flats provide a break from the rocks. Mystie Flat is bridged and all other sidecreeks are minor. Real flood conditions will cover the route along the riverbanks though and make the track impassable. A brief sidle track is marked over Annoyance Bluff - a brief 30m climb - so just an annoyance rather than a big effort.
The north branch was fordable just above the forks (below Hunters Hut) when I visited, but the cableway 1km upriver provides year round access. Hunters Hut sits back from the river on bush covered terraces and cannot be seen from the river. The creek 200m upriver is the nearest access up onto the terraces from the riverbed.