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Trip Report – Mt Sefton Trip

By: Kent Andrews

Source: Southland Section Newsletter (April 2018)

In early February Matt Humphries, Reece McKenzie and I took advantage of a fine weather window to do a five day trip into the Copland Valley area to climb Mt Sefton.

Driving up from Invercargill on the first day we hauled heavy packs from the Copland Track carpark to Welcome Flat whilst surrounded by energetic and enthusiastic Copland Track hikers.

Day two saw us start the day by dramatically reducing the contents of our packs before rock hopping up Scott Creek and picking up a flagged hunting trail on the true right of the creek. We made steady progress up the steep terrain and gained the saddle between point 1800 and 1784 by mid-afternoon. With cloud clagging our route through the Tekano Glacier above us we set-up a base camp amongst the rocks just off the ridge leading up from point 1800 to Scott Peak.

We were greeted by clear skies the following morning and found ourselves on the Tekano Glacier an hour after leaving camp. Snow conditions were excellent and we made good time up to Welcome Pass at 2390m. The route onwards across the Douglas Neve and up the West ridge to Mt Sefton had a lot less snow cover than we had anticipated and hoped for. Despite this Reece led the charge and picked an excellent route between the crevasses and across the snow bridges on the Douglas Neve up onto the West Ridge saddle. After a short break we picked our way up the ridge on a mixture of ice, snow and rock and were standing on top of Mt Sefton at 3151m just after midday. We took advantage of the fine conditions and enjoyed the superb views out to Mt Cook, Lake Pukaki, Lake Ohau and the West Coast. We arrived back at our base camp via the same route to end what was an extremely enjoyable day of climbing.

On day four we mostly retraced our footsteps back down to the Copland Valley except when I stepped onto a bees nest and motivated Matt and Reece into a more energetic pace. We made it as far as Architect Creek hut before dropping packs and enjoying a relaxing afternoon at the hut and a swim in the Copland river for some. Despite the blood stained walls on the hut we were surprised and disappointed to discover that the hut wasn’t suitably constructed to keep out mosquitoes. Tenting beside the hut is recommended to any needing to spend a night in the vicinity.

On day five we walked back out to the car park in heavy rain which added some interest to the track but didn’t do much to keep the sandflies at bay.

Posted: 14/05/18

Posted By: Narina Sutherland