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Nov 1, 2018

Typical OUTC Fiordland Trips

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Edited: Nov 1, 2018

 

 

This is a list of the most popular locations visited by OUTC on the Fiordland weekend, in an order easy to hard. The list is by no means complete – the area offers an infinity of trips, and with a bit of imagination you’ll always be able to find something new. This list will hopefully be of some help for the youngest trip-leaders to get a feel for the range of trips that the area offers. Routes off the Milford Road only are considered; locations near Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau are not included.

 

Gertrude Saddle EASY+

  • Considered one of New Zealand’s best day walks this is a steep but popular trip. It heads up the Gertrude Valley to the saddle which involves some scrambling to get to the top, but rewards you with exceptional views all the way to Milford Sound on a clear day. Can be done as an overnight camping trip or extended to Barrier Knob and/or Peak (requiring ice axe and crampons). Otherwise there is the option to stay in the comfortable Homer Hut at the start of the track ($15-$35/night).

 

Mistake Creek EASY+

  • Off track, river-crossings, no huts. Lovely lake among impressive peaks at the head of the valley. Can be easily combined with the loop over U Pass.

 

U Pass MOD+

  • Off-track, rough track, navigation, river crossings, no huts, steep terrain, scree, limited water. Recommended route is up Mistake Creek, up the true left of the waterfall, camp at the top of the waterfall, walk over U Pass, then return via Hut Creek. Will take about two 7 hour days.

 

Consolation Peak HARD

  • Gorgeous route with a great alpine section, but requires good navigation skills. Tracks limited to lower valleys, river crossings, bush-bashing, navigation.

 

Lake Erskine HARD +

  • Alpine trip – requires ice-axe and crampons; rope and helmet recommended. Can be easily combined with the loop over U-Pass. Takes two 13-hour days.

 

Eglinton River East Branch to Cascade Creek HARD

  • Two very long days – has been done on a Fiordland weekend before, by a fit party. Partially off track, no huts. Not the most inspiring route.

 

Kiosk Creek MOD (?)

 

Glade Pass / Dore Pass HARD

  • Off track, river-crossings, no huts.

 

Key Summit / Livingstone Range / Lake McKellar MOD

  • Easy off-track on open tops, comfortable hut ($15, sleeps 24, or $5 to camp next to hut). There is a fairly good track from the saddle (top of Duck Creek) down the spur, not marked on map. (Updated 2013 - J.Vincent)

 

Key Summit / Livingstone Range / Cascade Creek MOD

  • Mostly off track, no huts

 

McKellar Hut EASY

  • Easy walk on track, 3 to 4 hrs each way. Comfortable hut ($10, sleeps 20)

 

McKellar Saddle / Upper Caples Hut MOD

  • Good track, comfortable hut ($10)

 

Lake Roberts MOD+

  • Mostly off track, no huts. Steep terrain with scree and rockfall, can only go over south pass, not up waterfall. 6 hours walk each way. (Updated 2013 - J.Vincent)

 

Routeburn Track / Lake Wilson / Deadmans Track MOD

  • Good track most of the way, a fairly long way to walk. Camping near the Routeburn Track is not allowed – need to go past Harris Saddle to camp in the Valley of the Trolls at least

 

Deadmans Track to Knob 1116 MOD-

  • Steep track up to the routeburn with a scrub sidle to the knob. Basin area beyond to explore as well.

 

Lake Marian EASY

  • Short walk to a nice lake with plenty of exploring to do beyond it. The car park is way bigger than it use to be thus, more tourist wearing town shoes! Track is sometimes steep but is not exposed. Rough large stones under foot. Lake is tranquil and camping spots can be found to the right around the corner past the big boulder area. Lake is nice to swim in. takes about 1 and a half hours to walk in. 2.4km one way.

 

Lake Alabaster EASY

  • Good track, relatively flat, 20km to McKerrow Hut = long way! Van required on Hollyford Rd. Good campsites along the lake shore 10-20min beyond Lk. Alabaster hut in 2011. (updated 2013 - J.Vincent)

 

Moraine Creek / Lake Adelaide HARD

  • Off track, great bivvy rocks. Takes about 9 hrs each way. Van required on Hollyford Rd.

 

Moraine Creek / Lake Adelaide / Giffords Crack HARD

  • Off track, great bivvy rocks. A scramble on steep terrain – requires a good head for heights, plus ice-axe and crampons if traversing over Barrier Knob. Barrier Peak can be climbed on the way. Descent to Homer Hut. Don’t go down Giffords Crack! Van required on Hollyford Rd.

 

Falls Creek MOD

  • Off track, no huts. Nice lake at the head of the valley. Horrendous walk through horrible scrub. Not really worth the walk, though the head of the valley is very impressive when it’s bucketing down with rain.

 

Barrier Knob MOD+

  • Is really not that hard, but requires good use of ice-axe and crampons. Steep snow/ice slope. Campsites near Gertrude Saddle, but can be done in a day from Homer Hut. Trip can be extended to Barrier Peak (requires alpine skills).

 

Climbs from Homer Hut HARD +

  • Mt. Crosscut, Barrier Peak, McPherson – Talbot Traverse, Bell – Moir Traverse, Mt. Christina. All these trips require alpine skills. Good scrambling on solid Darrans granite, often exposed, with snow-fields or small glaciers.

 

Esperance River / Mt. Isolation HARD

  • Very overgrown track from Milford road to bush “edge”, no huts. DoC time is 3hrs but that’s a lie. Time taken up in 2013 was 5.5hrs and 3.5hrs back. Track markers are indicative of old track only and bush bashing is required. Campsites can be found above De Lambert Falls. Head for heights required on final scramble to summit. Van required, check tunnel opening hours as it can be closed at night. If rain is forecast then it’s strongly recommended not to do this trip as the catchment is very responsive to rain. In 2013 a helicopter rescue was required for an injured member after a botched river crossing. In 2010 trouble was also encountered with the river above the bush line. (updated 2013 - J.Vincent)

 

Tutoko River to Leaders Creek junction EASY

  • Mostly on a track, no huts. Two major river-crossings, can be avoided if necessary. A stunning valley with great campsites. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.

 

Tutoko River to bottom of Grave Couloir MOD+

  • Mostly off-track, rough valley floor, no huts, major river-crossings. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.

 

Turners Bivvy HARD +

  • Some very steep terrain, awesome rock bivvy. Rope recommended. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.

 

Mitre Peak HARD +

  • Aquanaut or other floating device required to cross the sound. Steep scramble – needs good head for heights; may need a rope. Van necessary – the bus leaves Milford Sound quite early.

 

Cascade Peak MOD+

  • Awesome views into Milford sound. Some near vertical bush bashing

New Posts
  • Start up the falls creek route to the river south of the F letter in Falls on the topo map. The track can be poor and overgrown at times. There is a sections after the initial climb where a "track" clearly continues forward though an orange arrow is marked to go left. This follows by a vague arrow and track that points to go right roughly 20 meters later. Enter the bush on the far side of the river and climb to above the treeline. Easy bush bashing with few bluffs. Once above the treeline, climb another 250 vertical meters and sidle around easy river gullies to point 1309. Continue up the northeast arm of consolation and sidle around to the upper saddle heading down to mistake creek at ~ 1640 meters. Lighten packs and climb a scree gully on the northwest side to the true summit south of the false summit. Return the same way, follow the river down to the start of the bush bashing & waterfall. Sidle 100 meters south of the waterfall (to avoid bluffs) and enter the treeline. Once across mistake creek, there is a vague track on the true left of the river (looking down from the valley, so your right.). Once at the waterfall, either climb it directly or the recommended route is to follow the clear and big gully on the true left (your right) until you reach a 5m steepish chimney climb. Once passed that and above the bluff, traverse across easy tussock back to the waterfall and then shuffle around the next bluff to the base of U-pass. Climb up and down the pass into hut creek. There is a large orange triangle in the first bushline heading down the valley but AVOID IT and continue following the river. You will down climb some of the smoothest, most beautiful and unique granite boulders in NZ. You will also pass a cave in the river where a boulder has fallen on another. Once out of the "Grace of Granite", follow the river until you come to the proper bushline. The large orange triangle starts close to the northern mountain side of the valley, quite far from the river. Exit with a river crossing and mud pool haven close to the car park.
  • Take this guide with a grain of salt, but provides a good overview of the route etc.
  • Key Info: off track, hut, $$, on track, camping, chamois. Follow the Routeburn and turn off towards Key Summit, then follow Livingstone Ridge along until you reach Duck Creek and descend down to McKellar Hut. From here it is an easy walk out to The Divide the next day. You can either stay in McKellar Hut (24 bunks) or camp nearby: Bunk: $15/night Camping: $5/night After reaching Key Summit continue along the ridge, there is a well-formed path initially however the ridge is open and not particularly steep so easy walking. There is a chance of seeing Chamois. There is a good track from the top of Duck Creek down the spur (not marked on the map) [2013]. From McKellar Hut it is 1.5-2.15 hours to Lake Howden Hut, then another 1-1.5 hours (3.4 km) to The Divide. (Updated 2013 - J.Vincent) (Updated 2018 - C-L. Schloots)