Barron Saddle – Mount Brewster
This comprehensive guide 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.
The valleys are popular tramping regions but fewer climbers visit the area, perhaps because all the prominent peaks have now been climbed, the rock is typically of moderate to poor quality, and none of the peaks reach the magic height of 3000m. However, for those who appreciate superb river, bush, rock and snow vistas, are tired of moraine bashing, and enjoy the chance to tackle peaks of moderate altitude and difficulty, the region continues to charm.
Thoughtful climbers who enjoy some research can continue to find unclimbed routes on the ridges and faces of the major peaks. 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. A total of over 280 routes are listed in this guidebook, and are an indication of the range of climbing opportunities provided by this area. 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.
210mm x 148mm, paperback
Published: 2nd edition 2002
Author: Ross Cullen
Ross grew up on a farm in South Otago and at the age of four years established a reputation for wandering with a four-mile solo walk. His penchant for walking led eventually to tramping, an activity he pursued with increasing fervour after joining the Otago University Tramping Club. In March 1976, Ross made his first visit to the Barron Saddle-Mt Brewster region and in superb weather completed the North Temple-Gunsight Pass-South Temple circuit on an Otago University Tramping Club trip. A year later he experienced the vagaries of Westland weather on an Easter OUTC tramp in the Otoko Valley. The peaks beckoned and Ross reached his first summit, Double Cone, in 1977.
A climbing friend commented in 1979 that there was much more climbing to do in the Ohau region than there is in the Aspiring region. He may well be right, and over twenty-three years Ross spent much of his climbing time tackling the peaks, cliffs and boulders in the Barron Saddle-Mount Brewster region. Since 1977 Ross has climbed in many regions of New Zealand, as well as Antarctica, Canada, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Tibet and Scotland, but he returns most often to the ranges in the Barron Saddle-Mt Brewster region, where there are still plenty of climbing challenges.
Ross is a past President of the New Zealand Alpine Club. He can be sighted occasionally, together with Pip and their son Ben, at their holiday home in Twizel.