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Barron Saddle south to Mt Brewster

This area covers the ranges between the Haast Pass and Mount Cook. The valleys covered include the Hopkins and Huxley, the Landsborough, and other West Coast valleys north of Haast Pass.

 

The ranges covered offer many fine rock and snow climbs on peaks slightly lower and less glaciated than those at Mount Cook, though there are also many climbs of a technical nature.

 

The mountainous region between Mount Cook National Park and Haast Pass contains some superb alpine country. Its delights include major rivers, tussock covered valleys, attractive forest, and five mountain ranges including the Main Divide with peaks reaching up to the high point of 2746m altitude.

Twenty-three peaks in the region reach 2500m or more in altitude and provide an array of climbing experiences ranging from highly accessible Glentanner Peak to isolated Mount Strachan, from ice glacier covered Mount Dechen to rock glacier flanked Dun Fiunary Peak. from gendarme-like Black Tower Peak to massive Mount Hooker.

While many of the earlier ascents involved traverses of often delicate ridges, the greatest potential for new routes may be in face climbs which have been overlooked until now.

 

The Ben Ohau Range has many varied peaks of about 2450m. The glaciers are small and the rock is good. The Twin Stream catchment in particular has many multi-pitch rock climbs. To the south the peaks are lower with more scree.

The Dobson valley is rarely visited by climbers, because access routes are long and the peaks relatively uninteresting.

By contrast, the Hopkins valley is very pleasant and the mountains are impressive. Richardson Bivouac and Erceg Hut are bases for climbs at the head of the valley, such as Mts Hopkins (2682m), McKerrow (2630m), Percy Smith (2469m), Williams (2536m) and Humphries (2446m).

From Elcho Hut Mts Jackson (2454m) and Ward (2644m) can be climbed. Generally the Hopkins peaks are reasonably hard climbs.

The Huxley valley, a tributary of the Hopkins, enables climbs of peaks such as Mts Strauchon (2324m) and Trent (2340m) in the North Huxley, and Mt Huxley (2499m) in the South Huxley.

In Westland, the Karangarua and Makawhio rivers both give access to Mt McGloin (2073m) and Mt Fettes (2454m), though the latter is usually climbed from the Landsborough valley.

The Mahitahi valley is rough travelling to the heavily glaciated Mts Strachan (2545m) and Dechen (2630m) on the Hooker Range.

The Otoko branch of the Paringa River is also difficult going, and as well as Dechen there is the dominant peak of this area, Mt Hooker (2652m).

The Landsborough River has a very long valley running southwest between the Main Divide and the Hooker Range. The Main Divide peaks, including Mts Burns (2738m), Hopkins, McKerrow, Jackson and Strauchon, are all more accessible from the east.

The outstanding peak of the Wills River is Mt Brewster (2423m), which can also be climbed from the Haast, Makarora or Hunter valleys.

The long Hunter valley is approached from Lake Hawea. The major peaks are Mts Strauchon, Huxley, Barth (2431m) and Brewster.

Guidebooks

Barron Saddle – Mt Brewster (NZAC)

 Maps

Maps can be purchased from Mapworld who offer NZAC members a 10% discount.
NZAC members receive a 25% discount on maps purchased through Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC).

Accommodation

 

NZAC Elcho Hut

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