Alpine - 5 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75

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Access: Probably no one enters the Kokatahi Valley to go climbing, but there are interesting subalpine tops trips on the ranges either side, and the valley drains a significant section of the Main Divide where there are still pockets of permanent ice. The main route up the valley is described here. http://remotehuts.co.nz/

Attribution: Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint, in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club

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Roadend to Kokatahi Valley headwaters
Grade 0
From a side road off Upper Kokatahi Road, follow a track on the true right of the river up to the swingbridge, as marked on map sheets J33 and BV19. Permission is required to cross the private farmland here (Terry Sheridan, phone 03 755 7967). The bridge spans an impressive gorge of water-worn bedrock and is worth a visit in its own right. A short sidle then leads to the riverbank at Adamson Creek. Within a hundred metres or so the track climbs from the riverbed on the true left and gains height. En route, streams are crossed and in some cases the marked route goes up them a short distance before climbing out again upstream. Boo Boo Hut (DOC, four bunks) is on a small terrace about 100 metres east of its marked location, with the creek about 20 metres away. From Boo Boo Hut, the route sidles as marked for a little over a kilometre and then stays high, not dropping as indicated and only sidling down slowly to meet the spur overlooking Pinnacle Creek at about the 500-metre contour. Marked by tape, it then drops directly down to Pinnacle Creek on an overgrowing old slip face, a good hundred metres up from the river. The marked route then crosses two eroding spurs before climbing up to the site of Twins Hut (now removed). These narrow spurs can be bypassed at river level between Pinnacle and Meharry Creeks before climbing up to the marked route on to Twins. The track leads towards the river and descends to the Twins bridge. Cross the river to the true right. Upstream, the riverbank is slowly subsiding and the original route is now a dog’s breakfast, parts of which are useful and parts of which have long since been buried in gravel and collapsed trees. It’s all doable without climbing too high, and the last kilometre or so is along the gravel riverbed to Crawford Junction. Above Crawford Junction, the Kokatahi Valley is tracked and followable to Zit Saddle. Top Kokatahi Hut (DOC, four bunks) has been relocated further up the valley, close to where the Kokatahi Bivvy once stood, at the 1060-metre contour, about 200 metres up the Kokatahi Valley from the Zit Saddle side creek. To access Zit Saddle, head up the side creek draining the saddle and climb out up to the Toaroha Range following poles onto a bench a couple of hundred metres north of Zit Saddle. Times : Road to Boo Boo Hut, 5 hrs ; Boo Boo Hut to Crawford Junction, 6 hrs ; Crawford Junction to Zit Saddle, 9 hrs
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Crawford Creek
Grade 0
From Crawford Junction, a maintained track leads up the true left of Crawford Creek to Top Crawford Hut (DOC, four bunks) in a small clearing well above the river, and continues on to finish in the stream bed 500 metres downstream from Crawford Bivvy (DOC, two person). Time : Crawford Junction to Crawford Bivvy, 5 hrs

Showing all routes 3 routes total

Marker Crags map | Google maps | Topo maps

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Access: To upper Arahura Valley and Harman Hut The Styx Valley is approached from the Upper Kokatahi Road or Lake Kaniere. It is well tracked and hutted and regularly used on the Three Pass Trip. It offers fast and easy access to peaks and transalpine adventures on the Main Divide around Browning Pass. From a gate and DOC sign on the true right of the Styx, a well-marked track gives easy travel up valley. Grassy Flat Hut (10 bunks) is very pleasant and was built by DOC in 2008 as part of an extensive hut and track upgrade throughout the West Coast. Beyond here, the track leads up on the true right into the swampy red tussock trough of Styx Saddle and then down to meet the old benched Arahura Track leading to Harman Hut (DOC, six bunks).

Attribution: Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint, in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club

Browning Range is seldom travelled, but it offers an interesting traverse from the Main Divide at Mt Beals through to Whitehorn Ridge. The main use the range gets is as a crossing from the Crawford to the Styx at Lathrop Saddle.

Attribution: Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint, in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club

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Lathrop Saddle
Grade 0
From Crawford Bivvy in the Kokatahi Valley, a lightly poled route leads up north-west through open patches of scrub onto a spur at J33 690073 / BV19 590 457. It continues north across slopes under bluffs, climbing up into the basin draining from Lathrop Saddle. There are campsites in these basins, but also quite a lot of rock. To descend to the Styx, head north-west from the saddle to the top of a small rib. Browning Bivvy (DOC, two person) is located lower down this rib. Markers lead moderately steeply down the rib to a flatter area just above the bivvy. From the bivvy, the marked route continues steeply down before sidling into the creek bed to the east at about the 840-metre contour. Going up, the point where the track leaves the creek can be easily missed. The creek itself offers greasy but reasonable travel, until further down a marked route begins again on the true left, leaving the creek bed and following the bush fan not far away to finish on flats near Grassy Flat Hut. Times : Crawford Bivvy to Browning Bivvy, 3–4 hrs ; Browning Bivvy to Grassy Flats, 2 hrs down, 3 hrs up
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Browning Range and Whitehorn Ridge traverse
Grade 0
The Browning Range can be approached from Browning Pass via Hall Creek, heading up slopes a little west of Mt Beals to the Main Divide. From the Main Divide towards Mt Lathrop, rock strata on the range dip towards the west. A series of little ribs running down off the range has little bluff lines on southern aspects. The climb from the south-east onto Mt Lathrop itself involves a steep scramble on poor rock a few hundred metres north of Pt 1640 metres, but the descent to Lathrop Saddle is not difficult. From Lathrop Saddle, the range can be followed to a bluff at about J33 677081 / BV19 577 465. Though climbable, with heavier packs this obstacle can be passed on the Styx side about 100 metres down. As you might infer, Cairn Peak has a big cairn on it. There are often rock wrens around, but they didn’t build it. The basins through here are very pleasant, and Tyndalls Knob can be bypassed in them leading to Whitehorn Ridge. Fabulous but open campsites exist on Whitehorn Ridge at about the 1500-metre contour with tarns. Below the 1440-metre contour, the ridge drops on stable rock and tussock bluffs. These can be bypassed via the old Whitehorn Bivvy site at J33 658061 / BV19 558 445 (not the position marked on older maps). The partly collapsed bivvy has been removed. To bypass from the 1440-metre contour on the ridge, head east and descend the marked creek that heads south, then sidle across a basin to Whitehorn Ridge again by the 1300-metre contour. Follow the ridge down on tussock leads. A very overgrown track begins in the scrub basin below here and white permolat may be found at J33 659047 / BV19 559 431. It is just followable, with care, and after about 500 metres leads into a narrow channel gully overhung with scrub that gives fairly open travel for some while. Markers disappear. When it gets rougher, another gully 30 metres to the true right also gives fairly open travel. When that gets gnarly, the ridge 100 metres to the true left leads down to finish about 100 metres west of the Crawford swingbridge. Expect to bushbash. Times : Lathrop Saddle to Whitehorn Ridge scrubline, about 6 hrs ; Whitehorn Ridge scrubline to Crawford Forks, 2–3 hrs
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Styx River to Cairn Peak
Grade 0
Mid Styx Hut (four bunks) on the true left, and tracks to it, are currently maintained by Permolat. There is a marked route onto the tops of Cairn Peak from here.