Altitude: 477m to 1616m. Gain: 1692m. Loss: 2916m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
Altitude: 477m to 1155m. Gain: 576m. Loss: 855m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/6)
Head down Theatre Flat and follow markers into the bush on the true left of the Rock Burn. A short distance later cross the swing bridge over the river and follow a good quality track all the way down river through bush and flats with good camping. The track climbs up the hill past Point 844 and a sign posted track junction reached which points the way to Sugarloaf Pass. Climb and cross the muddy pass and follow markers down into the bush on the Routeburn side. The track drops steeply all the way down to a signposted junction with the Routeburn Great Walk. Follow the Routeburn to the shelter at the car park.
Altitude: 754m to 1002m. Gain: 70m. Loss: 316m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
Head south from the rock biv and cross the outlet stream from the Park Pass Glacier melt lake (a difficult crossing on slippery rocks in rapid current). Follow the Rock Burn down stream. A marked track drops down through the bush by the upper gorge and then its down more river flats to climb through the bush beside Point 908 on another marked track. Drop down to Theatre Flat and cross to the patch of bush half way down. On the north side of the bush is a giant boulder with a permanent fire pit on its eastern side and sheltered camp spots.
Altitude: 1174m to 1583m. Gain: 675m. Loss: 377m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate)
Pick up the footpad west of the tarn and climb the spur to the large cairn, 1.2km from the pass. Leave the spur, descend and negotiate a small shallow depression (outlined on the map by the 1220m & 1240m contours). The route is infrequently marked with cairns but it is a steeply rising sidle across tussock and scree - dangerous in adverse conditions. Aim to approach the marked stream above the 1400m contour and continue to climb (on the TL) to 1500m. You can travel above the tarn or around to it's outlet - both routes rejoin in the lower saddle (1600m). Continue through the saddle and down to the small tarn (close to the left rock wall is easiest) and proceed to the Lake.
Altitude: 1474m to 1616m. Gain: 171m. Loss: 58m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
From the north shore of Lake Nerine, walk to the west side and climb to the low saddle. From here there are two routes to North Col.
This route stays high. From the saddle above Lake Nerine, negotiate the large boulders and climb a little to 1560m. Now it's route-finding at it's best - lots of rocks and ridges provide a few challenging moments but the plan should be to stay at 1560 - 1580m, climbing and descending as required.
If visibility is questionable, use the low route.
Altitude: 695m to 1587m. Gain: 77m. Loss: 967m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
In Feb 2013, snow and ice was easily avoided. However, even in summer, the south side of North Col can be fully covered in snow / ice. Without appropriate gear, attempting the descent in such conditions would be stupid.
In good conditions, it's a long descent on boulders, scree and snowgrass. The line is occasionally cairned and obvious. From 1200m contour, aim for the gully to the right of the flattening spur. At 1020m contour, cross to the TL of the burn and pick your way down until a slip suggests easier travel on the TR (870m elevation).
From here the going is easy through grass flats - the start of the marked track clearly marked. Continuing through grassy flats, then around a significant tarn and into the bush, the track rises a little then descends to the final flats leading to the Routeburn Flats Hut. There is no bridge crossing the Left Branch but low flow presents no problem.
Altitude: 477m to 710m. Gain: 123m. Loss: 343m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
From the Flats Hut turnoff, carry on down the flats and through bush to reach the car park at Routeburn Shelter.