Length: from 10.0 up to 12.0 days
Distance: 97.8 km (73.3 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 84m to 2621m. Gain: 6018m. Loss: 6002m . Gradient: 7 deg (Steep)
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)


Distance: 16.3 km (7.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 89m to 245m. Gain: 308m. Loss: 163m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

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.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-02-14 12:40:45. Experienced: 2016-02-05

NZTM2000: 1417430, 5211581

Standard Hut

Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-17 20:31:07

From Hunters Hut to Lord River via Blue & False Blue Lookouts
View
Distance: 5.9 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 219m to 1405m. Gain: 1186m. Loss: 627m . Gradient: 18 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Canterbury/Westland guide has a good description of this route. Pick up the Blue Lookout Track and follow to the lookout. Generally traverse with some ups and downs to the ridge above False Blue Lookout across some steep snowgrass terrain. Descend to the lookout. Form the lookout, descend to the E towards the streams draining pt 1994. Choose a likely spot and descend through steep vegetation to the river.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-20

NZTM2000: 1420525, 5207746 (alt: 799m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-20

From Lord River to Strachan Pass via Lord River
View
Distance: 7.7 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 796m to 1731m. Gain: 994m. Loss: 59m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Snow / ice (5/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

In general follow the Lord River, travel on the TR is reasonable with some clear flats and boulder hopping although we elected to follow an open lead to above the scrub line which may or may not have been easier than the river. The final slopes to the pass are steeper requiring ice axes & crampons.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-21

NZTM2000: 1427462, 5209207 (alt: 1731m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-21

Distance: 2.5 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear
Altitude: 1643m to 2050m. Gain: 322m. Loss: 407m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Mountaineering (6/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

On the Strachan side, this is not a tramping route and has steep exposed terrain above the Clarke Glacier. Even with belaying for about 100m, we wished for two ice-tools on the ever-increasing steep icy slopes. Gain height above the pass and choose the best looking line to reach the low point between Mt Lord & pt 2069m. Expect the need to belay.
Mt Lord is easily climbed from the low point and the descent to Vane Stream is straight forward.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-22

NZTM2000: 1427700, 5210653 (alt: 1643m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-22

From Upper Vane Stream on Hazard Glacier to Mt Whitcombe via Dainty, Lornty & Leeb Glaciers
View
Distance: 5.2 km (6.0 DOC hours)
Altitude: 1643m to 2621m. Gain: 1081m. Loss: 103m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the upper Vane Stream, climb above the Hazard Glacier to gain the Dainty. Cross and find a place to descend tot he Lornty. At Xmas 2009, there was a single snow slope about 100m wide between rock slabs; without the snow slope, it may have been impossible to descend the rock slabs. Once on the Lornty, ascend the glacier and through slopes to gain the Leeb Glacier. Ascend the glacier and gain the pt 2550 between Snow Dome & Mt Whitcombe. Both Mt Whitcombe & Snow Dome and easily reached from this point.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-23

NZTM2000: 1430466, 5213079 (alt: 2621m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-23


From Mt Whitcombe to Upper Vane Stream on Hazard Glacier via Dainty, Lornty & Leeb Glaciers
View
Distance: 5.2 km (6.0 DOC hours)
Altitude: 1643m to 2621m. Gain: 103m. Loss: 1081m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

From the upper Vane Stream, climb above the Hazard Glacier to gain the Dainty. Cross and find a place to descend tot he Lornty. At Xmas 2009, there was a single snow slope about 100m wide between rock slabs; without the snow slope, it may have been impossible to descend the rock slabs. Once on the Lornty, ascend the glacier and through slopes to gain the Leeb Glacier. Ascend the glacier and gain the pt 2550 between Snow Dome & Mt Whitcombe. Both Mt Whitcombe & Snow Dome and easily reached from this point.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-23

NZTM2000: 1427700, 5210653 (alt: 1643m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-22

From Upper Vane Stream on Hazard Glacier to Smyth Hut via Vane Stream & Wanganui River
View
Distance: 5.1 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 692m to 1640m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 948m . Gradient: 11 deg
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Easy initial travel to the main junction of the east and south headwaters of Vane Stream. Some scouting may be needed to find the best descent route to the main Vane Stream. Continue down the stream below the impressive Essex Icefall. There are rough tracks through the scrub when needed on the TL in the lower sections. Once at the junction with the Wanganui, travel down the Wanganui. At Xmas 2009, there were a multitude of cairns and other markers indicating various routes in the Wanganui, however with severe floods in later years, the route is probably completely different.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-23

NZTM2000: 1425230, 5213680

Standard Hut

Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-17 20:31:07

From Smyth Hut to Lower Evans Glacier via Wanganui & Evans Rivers
View
Distance: 4.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 692m to 1177m. Gain: 485m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the Wanganui upstream to the Vane Stream junction. Cross Vane Stream above the junction and travel mostly on the TL of Evans River to reach the flat area above the scrub. Continue upstream through steeper terrain to reach the base of the glacier.
Floods after Xmas 2009 may have changed this route.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-25

NZTM2000: 1429019, 5214730 (alt: 1177m)

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-25

From Lower Evans Glacier to Neave Hut via Full Moon Saddle, Erewhon Col & Sale Glacier
View
Distance: 13.2 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear
Altitude: 764m to 2149m. Gain: 1045m. Loss: 1458m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Glacier travel required (7/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Ascend the Evans Glacier to reach Full Moon Saddle. Cross to Erewhon Col and make a descending traverse of the upper Ramsay to reach pt 2061m north of Lauper Peak. Descend the Sale Glacier to reach Whitcombe Pass. Follow the Whitcombe River route to Neave Hut.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-26

NZTM2000: 1436030, 5217179

Standard Hut

Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-17 20:31:07


From Neave Hut to Wilkinson Hut via track
View
Distance: 3.1 km (2.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 618m to 771m. Gain: 47m. Loss: 193m . Gradient: 4 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

Continuing up the true right from the Wilkinson Swingbridge towards Neave, the going gets harder, the sidle track rising and falling repeatedly, but giving great views of glaciers opposite. Bush finally gives out to scrub, but the track is good, Neave Hut on tussock terraces on the true right shortly above the gorge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-08-21. Experienced: 2007-03-23

From Wilkinson Hut to Price Flat Hut via east bank track
View
Distance: 6.4 km (4.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 394m to 670m. Gain: 207m. Loss: 422m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Returning upriver 100m to the swingbridge, the track crosses and climbs briefly to meet the main vale track on the eastern valleyside.

The track climbs and sidles down the valley, cut and well marked and not prone to the slumps/slips encountered downstream. Sidling through old mossed over slips and boulderfields in the bush.the track drops to the sidecreek above the NZFS Prices Flat Hut and crosses it to the hut. The historic Hut is 500m downriver along the track.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-08-21 01:34:21. Experienced: 2007-03-23

From Price Flat Hut to Frew Hut via track
View
Distance: 8.4 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 216m to 392m. Gain: 116m. Loss: 292m . Gradient: 3 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

A good cut track leads through lush green bush, along river terraces up the Whitcombe from Frew Hut. Several small side-creeks are unbridged. Frew Creek is the largest, and easily becomes impassible. So long as Frew Creek is crossable the others should present no problems. As the river gorges out, the track climbs and sidles the face. The last 2km to Prices Swingbridge crosses almost continuous slips and slumps – meaning sections of track are often absent and making for slow going.

Soon after the swingbridge the track drops to broad flats of grass and regenerating bush. Passing through a serries of clearings, in one of which lies the Historic Prices Flats Hut. This is a beautiful slab hut, but certainly not sandfly proof, and probably better admired than stayed in.

The new Prices Flat Hut is 400m further up the track on a terrace overlooking the valley.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-08-21. Experienced: 2007-03-24

From Price Flat Hut to Rapid Creek Hut via Whitcombe Valley track
View
Distance: 5.9 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 118m to 216m. Gain: 53m. Loss: 150m . Gradient: 2 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A track / route leads down the Whitcombe River from Frew Hut to Rapid Creek Hut.

The track is marked as far as the Frew River (ankle-knee deep in normal flows) beyond which you are left mainly to find your own way down the riverbed on the true right until the swingbridge is reached. Crossing at the swingbridge a cut/marked sidle track commences on the western valleyside. This drops occasionally to rock-hop beside the river but is otherwise well marked but steep-sidling in places. The track ends about 1km above Rapid Creek on broad gravel flats.

Rapid Creek can be crossed with dry feet in low-normal flows, but a swingbridge exists 300m upstream if the river is up (officially closed when I visited in 2020). Continue a further 300m down the bank of the Whitcombe to pick up DOC triangles marking the start of the brief track to Rapid creek Hut.

2-3.5 hrs

Last updated by: Madpom at 2021-03-03 23:47:29. Experienced: 2020-06-23

NZTM2000: 1437922, 5235997

Standard Hut

Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-17 20:31:07

From Rapid Creek Hut to Hokitika Gorge Carpark via Hokitika River
View
Distance: 8.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 84m to 133m. Gain: 71m. Loss: 99m . Gradient: 1 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the track.

Created by: Megturnbull on 2021-03-24. Experienced: 2009-12-29

NZTM2000: 1438215, 5242118 (alt: 88m)

Carpark for the Hokitika Gorge track

Created by: Zamda on 2020-11-06. Experienced: 2020-10-23



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