Length: from 3.0 up to 6.0 days
Distance: 81.5 km (47.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Hard terrain
Altitude: 375m to 1953m. Gain: 8168m. Loss: 8120m . Gradient: 12 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6) Winter - High avalanche risk, iceaxe/crampons (7/7)

A tough saddle-hopping route from Raspberry Flat carpark in the Matukituki (Wanaka) to the Earnslaw Burn roadend on the Glenorchy-Paradise road. Wonderful views, tough passes, less travelled routes.

The section between Lochnagar and the Snowy spends over a kilometer sidling very steep country above high bluffs. An ice-axe is required even when no snow is present along with the confidence and experience to use it.

From Raspberry Flat Car park to Aspiring Hut via West Matukituki track
Distance: 8.7 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 375m to 467m. Gain: 168m. Loss: 76m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Raspberry Flat car park cross the bridge over Big Creek and follow the 4WD track up valley through farm land. After 10-15 minutes you'll pass the turn off to the popular Rob Roy Glacier track. The track continues, usually following the 4WD farm track but sometimes making its own way, marked by snow poles. Its flat going except for one set of zig zags over a bluff above the river. After 1.5h pass the historic Cascade Hut (NZAC private, locked hut) and continue on to Aspiring hut.

Note: The track passes through farm land almost all the way to Aspring hut. There's several fences to go through, all of them with stiles built over them. It probably goes without saying but please keep all farm gates as you find them and don't disturb stock.

Created by: Yarmoss on 2015-10-12. Experienced: 2015-10-11

From Shotover Saddle Track turnoff to Shotover Saddle via Shotover Saddle Route
Distance: 2.5 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 425m to 1544m. Gain: 1119m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 28 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A snow-poled route ascends to the Shotover Saddle from the West Matukituki farm track up the true left (west) side of Bride's Veil creek. The ascent is steep on first farmed faces, later tussock. Poles are intermittent and the ground trail indistinct - you may just wish to follow your nose.

80m below the saddle, a fault-line running across the face has opened up to create a long thin basin, at the western end of which lies a narrow tarn. Reasonable, well sheltered camp spots exist at it's eastern end.

The route from the tarn to the saddle is unmarked - climb the escarpment and find your way through the humps and hollows above to the broad saddle.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-20 19:13:25. Experienced: 2018-01-11

From Shotover Saddle to Tummel Burn Hut via Tyndall Creek "middle" route
Distance: 7.7 km (7.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Hard terrain
Altitude: 778m to 1546m. Gain: 900m. Loss: 1592m . Gradient: 19 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

This is the 'middle' route sidling down the Tyndall at around 1200m. It is also possible to sidle out to the eastern valleyside at the height of the pass and follow that ridgeline to the confluence. That route passes through one band of bluffs and so some visibility would be useful.

Note that the attached gpx route drops too low in the middle section of the sidle and has to climb again - this can be avoided by not dropping whilst sidling.

Tyndall creek on the south side of the saddle descends to the valley floor via a waterfall, and so should not be followed . Instead follow the spur west of the creek down into the basin below, rejoining the creek at the first minor forks at around 1250m. Cross the creek to flats on the eastern side of the creek, cross the brief flats and from there sidle downriver keeping roughly the same altitude. At first there is a bit of low scrub, but soon you end up in good tussock, which slowly deteriorates back to knee high scrub as you head down valley. There are occasional steep sections and bluffs but they can easily be passed above or below as seems best. Do not be tempted by deer trails dropping into basins below - the scrub there is a nightmare. If in doubt - climb rather than descend.

Eventually the ridgeline to the east drops towards you. Sidle onto the ridge and follow it down towards where Tyndall Stream emerges onto Junction Flat. The eastern side of the ridgeline consists of sheer bluffs dropping all the way to the Tummel Burn below, but the western side is gentle tussock basins. At times Tummel Burn Hut can be seen - a very small dot almost vertically below on the flats. Occasional cairns will appear as you start to hit low scrub, followed by a single warratah with a white marker on top. It is important to locate this warratah, as continuing down the spur beyond it leads to impenetrable scrub and then bluffs.

At the warratah, sidle 50m right (i.e. back up the Tyndall Creek) through thick scrub, and drop into the basin of the side-creek to the NW of the spur we have been descending. The creek / gut is fairly open at first and can be descended with care down gravel chutes and short grass. In lower sections the route enters stunted bush on the TL of the gut for a while. The gut/creek drops into Tyndall Creek in a gorge 200m above Junction Flat. Moirs mentions a route sidling above the gorge, but it was not obvious to me.

The brief gorge can be descended with care on the TL with a bit of scrambling over boulders, crossing to the TR when the stream levels out as it approaches Junction Flat. Tummel Burn Hut is 50m from the start of the flats on the TL and is obvious.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-16 00:48:51. Experienced: 2018-01-12

From Tummel Burn Hut to Lake Creek Junction via Shotover River
Distance: 6.7 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 633m to 781m. Gain: 28m. Loss: 168m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Tummel Burn hut, head down Junction Flat, crossing the Shotover to the eastern bank. Follow good deer trails down the eastern bank through the following gorge, keeping close to the river. The old cut track further up the face is overgrown and unusable.

Once at Pine Creek Flat, pick up cattle tracks heading downriver and climbing onto a low terrace on the eastern valleyside, where the 4wd farm track commences. This can be followed all the way down the valley to Lake Creek, passing the locked, private Hundred Mile Hut. A crossing of the Shotover is required - ankle deep in late summer flows but easily impassable after rain.

The turnoff to Lochnagar is not marked, but you can see the track climbing to north face of Lake Creek soon after the ford and aim for it if that's your desination.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-20 19:17:22. Experienced: 2018-01-12

From Lake Creek Junction to Lochnagar Hut via Lake Creek and Goatel Rock Biv
Distance: 4.2 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 635m to 1124m. Gain: 517m. Loss: 60m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Head up the old farm track child climbs the northern side of Lake Creek and sidles it upsteam for 1km before returning to the creek. An old cage may help the crossing, but it;s wheels were siezed when I visited (2017) so fording the creek was preferable (knee deep, late summer low flows).

There is no visible track on the southern bank, but head generally upstream climbing spurs onto terraces on the southern bank in grassy open country. The track becomes clear once the scrub is reached - a platformed old farm track cutting into the scrub. This is the lower of the two tracks shown on topomaps.

Follow the track as it sidles flat, the river rising to meet it. The track becomes rougher (uncut for some time in 2018) as it climbs the southern side of the rockfall dam towards the lake. Scrub is thick and encroaching on the track until you reach the large overhanging rock known as the Goatel. Exit the goatel through the hole in its ceiling towards the rear to find yourself on flatter tops of the rockfall dam, in sparse low scrub. The track is poled from here with white canes, cutting towards the northern side of the valley and climbing through a basin before dropping to Lochnagar Hut near the lake outlet.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-20 19:23:32. Experienced: 2018-01-12

From Lochnagar Hut to Rees Saddle via Snowy Creek
Distance: 12.7 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1121m to 1953m. Gain: 1637m. Loss: 1294m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Note: The sidle from the large basin at the head of Pine Creek to the ridge line overlooking Lochnagar is extremely steep and exposed and almost entirely on snow grass. You have to go through two sets of bluffs. A slip would be serious. Only attempt this crossing in perfect conditions and carry an ice-axe or other means of arresting a fall.
From Lochnegar Hut, follow the lake shore north and cross the lake outflow. Climb the spur on the other side. Going is scrubby at first but once the spur becomes more clear a good ground trail exists. Follow the spur upwards until the left (western) side starts to become bluffy, and then sidle left (west) off the spur, round the base of a brief bluff and into the gully west of the spur. Follow this gully up to the saddle between pt1865 and pt1896. The climb is steep in places, but generally good going with only brief scrambles.

Cross the saddle onto the faces above Pine Creek to the north. Sidle the faces above Pine Creek NW for 200m until going becomes difficult due to bluffs descending from pt1896. Descend approximately 20m down the snow-tussock spur just before (SE of) the tricky bluffy section and sidle into a basin below the bluffs. This is a very steep descent on slippery snow-tussock with exposure to serious falls - take care and use an ice-axe.

Sidle the steep faces above Pine Creek at your current altitude north past pt1896, past the next saddle until a scree terrace appears below you - just before you come level with pt2000. Descend to this terrace early, before impassable bluffs develop below you. This is another steep scramble down.

Follow the screen terrace east of pt2000 and into the basin at the head of Pine Creek. These are broad desolate gravel and ice flats. Once int he basin you can drop to Pine Creek and follow the TR of it north up to the saddle at pt1950.

Beyond pt1950 is the vast Snowy Creek valley. Several spurs appear from the top to be good routes down, but most bluff out at their base, so follow the route described here. Head north from the saddle for 2-300m, crossing a small but steeply incised creek flowing west. Follow the spur to the north of the creek west and down into the Snowy, passing a cairn marking the start of the descent. One set of bluffs at 1800m can be avoided by dropping south of the spur towards the creek, and then sidling back onto the spur once beneath the bluffs. From there it is an easy tussock descent to the Snowy, with amazing views of the hanging glacier opposite the whole way.

Follow the Snowy downstream - the entire descent can be made easily on the southern (TL) bank, though crossings would be easy enough in low flows. Just prior to the Rees Saddle the Snowy enters a gorge. Do not follow it into the gorge - which Moirs says is impassable. Instead, climb the faces to the south to the easternmost saddle of the three visible. Here you will find a small tarn, and the Rees Dart track 50m beyond it.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-17 01:53:26. Experienced: 2018-01-12

From Rees Saddle to Shelter Rock Hut via Rees River Tk
Distance: 4.9 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 894m to 1466m. Gain: 48m. Loss: 620m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Descend from the pass, remaining close to the right bluff and follow the footpad, initially in the stream bed then rising on the TL 80m above the river.

The track sidles the valley side until dropping close to the stream just before Shelter Rock Hut.

Last updated by: Bernieq at 2015-07-08 06:12:54. Experienced: 2009-04-13

From Shelter Rock Hut to Twenty five mile turnoff via Rees River Tk
Distance: 11.4 km (4.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 493m to 894m. Gain: 420m. Loss: 814m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the hut, the track crosses to the TR and heads down the valley. Several guts are crossed and a gap under boulders negotiated before reaching a swing bridge that crosses back to the TL.

Once having cleared the trees and moved on to the valley floor, the track picks up an old vehicle track and swings around a low terrace. Just before the (indistinct) track to 25 Mile hut, cross 25 Mile Creek.

Last updated by: Bernieq at 2015-07-08 05:57:59. Experienced: 2009-04-12

From Twenty five mile turnoff to Earnslaw Hut via Earnslaw Track
Distance: 2.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 507m to 926m. Gain: 436m. Loss: 20m . Gradient: 11 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A poled route leaves the Rees-Dart track and crosses the Rees about 1km north of Twenty Five Mile creek and leads to the bushedge below Kea Basin.Once in the bush a good cut, marked track zigzags far more than the topo map indicates as it climbs onto the marshy, clear knob at pt777. A second shorter climb follows to a marked track junction. Earnslaw Hut is 20m down the right-hand track. The lefthand track continues to zigzag for another 200m before emerging from the bush into Kea Basin. The first of many rock bivs is located just left of (below) the track as you emerge into the basin proper.

Created by: Madpom on 2018-01-16. Experienced: 2018-01-13

Distance: 11.3 km (7.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 842m to 1695m. Gain: 1665m. Loss: 1780m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6) Winter - High avalanche risk, iceaxe/crampons (7/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Two options exist for crossing Lennox Creek. The Moir's route sidles south from the zigzags on the Earnslaw track and crosses Lennox Creek at 800m. Apparently a small 'pad' exists here; on the north this is hidden by a beech tree. From there make a sidling climb towards Lennox Pass through beech and scrub.

Alternatively, when snow loading / avalanche risk is minimal it is possible to sidle from Kea Basin. From Earnslaw Hut, climb to Kea Basin and pass through tussock/low scrub north of pt1074 to where the north branch of Lennox creek is crossable before it enters it's gorge. Cross the creek and follow the western bank south, sidling gradually away from it in good beech at 1000m. Beech becomes scrubby for the last few meters before you emerge onto clear grass faces beside the southern branch of Lennox Creek. This is an active avalanche path - be aware of snow conditions above before attempting this route. Old avalanche (snow and rock) debris covered the creek here for 500m from the base of the bluffs (min Jan) making for an easy, flat crossing to the south bank and out of the avalanche path.

Once across Lennox continue to sidle at around 1000m through beech tongues and bands of tussock and low scrub keeping on gentler terrain below the steeper faces above. Two streams descend from Black Peak about 150m apart. Cross both and then follow the spur south of the southern creek uphill on good deer trails. Once the route into the basin below Lennox Pass becomes visible - sidle left off the spur and between the two bluff systems that lie below the pass. The last 200m from the basin to the pass is an easy if steep climb up snowgrass faces.

The west side of Lennox Pass is very steep and starts as hardpack offering little support. An ice-axe was required to provide support / braking for this initial part of the descent. 100m or so down true scree starts, though it is platy rather than rocky and does not provide good footing. The gut is descendable all the way to the Earnslaw Burn with falls low down passable on their true left on the gully floor.

Once you hit the valley floor deer trails lead down the back to the fan to reach Earnslaw Burn creek at the head of the next flats downstream. A good track leads downstream from here to the bushedge on the TL. The mapped rock bivvy is across the river at the bushedge.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-16 03:55:49. Experienced: 2018-01-15

Distance: 8.9 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 375m to 845m. Gain: 1230m. Loss: 1696m . Gradient: 20 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A marked, cut tramping track starts on the TL of the Earnslaw Burn at the bushedge, opposite the rock biv marked on maps. It sidles down the eastern valleyside making may small climbs and descents as it goes. It is a popular track but subject to windfall / slips in the middle section. The track exits onto farmland at the end of the Earnslaw Burn valley. From here, follow the fence SE and climb the gate to the carpark.

Last updated by: Madpom at 2018-01-16 04:06:02. Experienced: 2018-01-13

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