Alpine - 41 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75

Most climbing on the St Arnaud Range is accessed from the upper Wairau valley, but the range can also be reached from Lake Rotoiti and the Travers River in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Access: Most peaks are reached from tributaries of the Wairau beyond a locked gate at Six Mile Creek. From St Arnaud head towards Blenheim on SH63 for 9km, then turn onto the skifield road. After about 3.5km the road is joined on the left by that from the homestead, 1.5km back down-valley. Continue from the homestead turn-off for 13km to the locked gate. Beyond here you pass the Hamilton River (6.5km from the gate) and Connors Creek (12km). To get into the Rainbow Valley, turn right onto a 4WD track just before the road swings left to cross the Wairau River, 15km from the locked gate. Park near the pylons. The farm manager no longer permits 4WD vehicles up the riverbed. Rough but okay for mountain bikes. Access to the western side of the St Arnaud Range is from the shores of Lake Rotoiti or from the Travers Valley. From St Arnaud, a track leads to the range via Parachute Rocks (1470m) in about 2½ hours. A range traverse south, towards Rainbow Skifield and Mt McRae is a good day trip, particularly for ski touring. Access down to Lake Rotoiti is easy in several places. Easy ridge travel and good ski touring along the range from Pk 1880m (above St Ronans Well) almost to the Camel.

Showing all routes 2 routes total

Marker Crags map | Google maps | Topo maps

The skifield road is open for foot access year-round but to vehicles only when the skifield is open. From here there are good day trips by foot or skis. Note that if you walk out of the area controlled by the skifield, you are required to sign an intentions book. The operators are responsible for safety, and don’t want to search needlessly for a walker or climber or the occupants of a vehicle that hasn’t left at the end of the day.

Access: The skifield road is open for foot access year-round but to vehicles only when the skifield is open. From here there are good day trips by foot or skis. Note that if you walk out of the area controlled by the skifield, you are required to sign an intentions book. The operators are responsible for safety, and don’t want to search needlessly for a walker or climber or the occupants of a vehicle that hasn’t left at the end of the day.

Showing all routes 2 routes total 1878 m

Above Rainbow Skifield

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St Arnaud Range
Grade 0
From the skifield head south-east up easy slopes to Mt McRae. Continue south to a saddle overlooking the Arnst basin and east towards Pk 1915m. Beyond here, the range is rugged and it is necessary to descend and sidle below bluffs, then regain the ridge in the vicinity of Pk 1880m. The range south of here is easy ridge travel, and can also be reached easily via a track up the true left of St Ronans Stream (no longer maintained but easily followed, through open forest into delightful tussock basins). Some superb campsites near tarns.
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Lake Rotoiti Route
Grade 0
Ascend the scree just north of the Lake Head Hut jetty and then the obvious gut, topping out on the range above Rainbow Skifield. Head south over easy ground.

Showing all routes 3 routes total 2205 m

Marker Crags map | Google maps | Topo maps

Fifteen Mile Spur

Access: Hamilton River (http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/nelson-lakes/st-arnaud-range/hamilton-river) Connors Creek (http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/nelson-lakes/st-arnaud-range/connors-creek) Begley Creek (http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/nelson-lakes/st-arnaud-range/paske-creek-upper-rainbow-river-and-begley-creek)

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North Ridge
Grade 0
Via Hamilton River. Ascend through open forest north of the eastern feeder to a basin below point 2154m. Head south-southeast to a small saddle above, and follow the ridge to a prominent step below point 2154m. Climb the step direct or turn it on eastern slopes. Pleasant scrambling leads to the summit. Alternatively, descend from the small saddle, sidle eastern slopes, then climb directly to the summit.
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East Face
Grade 0
Via Connors Creek. Climb steep scrubby gullies or scree and tussock slopes to a basin on the east face, then directly to the summit. Alternatively, climb easy slopes to a basin south-east of the summit and onto the narrow south ridge.
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West Face
Grade 0
Via Begley Creek. Climb up the waterfall creek west of the summit, and to a saddle on the south ridge. Follow the narrow ridge to the top.

Showing all routes 3 routes total 2216 m

Marker Crags map | Google maps | Topo maps

1 pb130127

An attractive peak visible from near the gorge in the Rainbow. Slightly East of St Arnaud Ra.

Access: Rainbow River (http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/nelson-lakes/st-arnaud-range/rainbow-river) Paske Creek (http://climbnz.org.nz/nz/si/nelson-lakes/st-arnaud-range/paske-creek-upper-rainbow-river-and-begley-creek)

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North Ridge
Grade 0
Follow the south branch of the Rainbow River to a good campsite at 1470m, near a small waterfall on the true right. Scramble up dry watercourses, steep carpetgrass and easy rock to the range north of Paske. The final ridge is interesting.
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West Face
Grade 0
From the south branch of the Rainbow River, climb scree basins and chutes to the ridge south of the summit.
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South East Ridge
Grade 0
From Paske Hut cross the creek and follow it upstream, then angle upwards through open forest into a tussock basin above a waterfall. Either climb open slopes on the south face to the summit pyramid or, from an obvious saddle, climb the interesting south-east arête.

Showing all routes 1 route total 1940 m

Marker Crags map | Google maps | Topo maps

St Arnaud Ra

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From Travers Valley
Grade 0
From the hut, climb snowgrass and then scree. Angle north-east until a small bluff gives routes to the saddle. Descend loose rock and steep scree to the west branch of the Begley. There are small campsites near the bush edge. Generally good travel on the true right bank. Cross the main Begley Creek and climb a bank to pick up the track 200m south of point 1072m.

Showing all routes 32 routes total

Alpine - 32 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75

St Arnaud to Hanmer Road Built in the 1950s to service the hydroelectric power pylons marching northwards, this follows a historic droving route up the Wairau Valley and into Canterbury. The historic cob-built Tophouse accommodation house (near St Arnaud) is still in use, while the old Rainbow Homestead (also cob construction) is used during summer when the road is open to the public. It is a public road as far as the Rainbow Skifield turnoff.

Access: This is a public road as far as the Rainbow Skifield turnoff. Just beyond here, there is a gate at Six Mile Creek. During summer, this is usually open, and a $25 per vehicle road toll collected at the old Rainbow Homestead, 10.5km further. The DOC Visitor Centre at St Arnaud can advise on the road opening times. Although 4WD is seldom needed, the road can get washed out in several places, making it difficult for lower suspension or 2WD cars. However, it's easy for mountain bikes. Locked gate information The road is a toll road managed by Rainbow Station (Star Holdings Ltd) and is open from 26 December to 5 pm on Easter Monday. There is a $25 toll per 4WD vehicle, $15 per motorbike, $2 per mountain or push bike, $2 per tramper. Outside the open period contact Star Holdings Ltd to arrange access through the station to 4WD, tramp, hunt, fish or mountain bike. The DoC website also has information.

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

The Raglan Range runs between the Branch River and the Wairau Valley.

Access: Lees Creek At about 6km beyond the locked gate at Six Mile Creek there is a footbridge over the Wairau River, and a track to Lees Creek Hut (4 bunks, standard).

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The Peak is slightly east of the main Raglan Ra. Scott Stream is the easiest access.

Access: Scott Stream is the easiest access. From Greigs Hut cross the Branch, following a track into the stream. Good campsites in a basin at 1200m. In winter, ice forms in runnels and on buttresses above the campsite.

Attribution: Ben Winnubst. photo Mark Holmes

1
Standard Route
Grade 0
From the basin climb easy, scrubby slopes on the true left of the stream into tussock basins and scree below the peak. Ascend easy slopes to a notch just south-west of the summit.
2
South Face
Grade 0
The gully in the centre of the face leads to a steep traverse to the left, and is a good winter ice climb.
3
North East Ridge
Grade 0
Climb scree slopes east of the peak to the ridge. Follow the ridge till a ledge allows bluffs and gendarmes to be turned by traversing slopes on the Silverstream side to regain the upper ridge. . Can also be done from the Silverstream-Branch River confluence.

Raglan Range

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East Ridge
Grade 0
From Lees Creek Hut follow tussock flats and then foot trails through forest to point 1144m and a river flat. Climb into the side stream on opposite bank, taking care beside a mossy waterfall, then follow loose rocky ribs onto pleasant easy slabs leading to the summit. Descend the north ridge into a basin and back down the stream. A good summer day trip.

Raglan Range

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North East Face
Grade 0
Easy travel beyond point 1144m into the southern head of Lees Creek, where there is a delightful campsite under beech trees at the junction of the two southern feeder streams. Open forest and then scree leads to a large basin under the peak. Climb an obvious shallow gully to this highest point on the Raglan Range.

Showing all routes 5 routes total

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

Wairau Valley

Access: From the power pylons, follow farm tracks up the Rainbow River; this is the main access route to excellent climbing in the headwaters. Two hours of easy riverbed travel brings you to a gorge. Rainbow Hut (4 bunks) on the south bank is now controlled by Rainbow Station. Climb around the gorge on a stock track on the true left and descend to Rainbow Junction flats.

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St Arnaud Range

Attribution: Photo & text by Ben Winnubst

A
North East Ridge Grade 2
Grade 0
Via Rainbow River. Climb a broad, scrubby ridge from the junction of the north and south branches of the Rainbow, then sidle along a shelf (great campsite) and diagonally up narrow exposed platforms to a col north of the peak. Follow the range to the summit. Beware of avalanches on all slopes.
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West Face / North Ridge
Grade 0
Without crossing the swingbridge, follow the old track on the true left. From a large boulder at the southern end of the large clearing east-southeast of Mt Franklin, climb through forest to the bushline. Sidle upwards, crossing into a basin with a large tarn. Climb scree towards a col north-east of Mackay (map ref. M30/878040), and along the ridge.
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South Ridge Grade 2+
Grade 0
A steep ridge rising from the northern pass (see route 6.06) can be bypassed via gullies falling to the source tarn of the East Sabine. Climb a large couloir at the head of the tarn, up a rock step and onto Peak 2180m. Gendarmes on the narrow main ridge to the summit can be sidled or climbed over.

St Arnaud Ra

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South Ridge
Grade 0
Rianbow River. Pleasant scrambling up a long ridge between two streams from north bank of the Rainbow River.

St Arnaud Ra

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East Ridge
Grade 0
From the north bank of the Rainbow River, climb up the true right bank of the stream south of the peak, and into delightful tarns surrounded by red rock. Climb scree to the ridge east of the peak, then a steep scramble to the top.

Showing all routes 7 routes total

Alpine - 7 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75

St Arnaud to Hanmer Road

Access: Easy to get to even without a key or 4WD, being only 30min on the MTB from the skifield car park. A marked track follows the true right bank of the Hamilton River. Where it peters out continue up the bouldery riverbed to campsites in the upper basin near the bush edge.

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St Arnaud Ra

Attribution: Ben Winnubst

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Hamilton Route
Grade 0
Approximately 1km past the Hamilton River track end a creek from The Camel tarns emerges. Proceed another 250m, cross the river and enter the bush just west of another smaller creek. Continue on the true left of the creek, cross the main creek at 1280m, and aim north-west to point 1790m. Follow the St Arnaud Range to the summit.
A
St Arnaud Range Route
Grade 0
A short distance up the Arnst River climb a spur to the range, taking care to avoid bluffs in the bush. A rock scramble leads to the summit. Descend north-west from Pk 1785m down a spur on the true left of a creek.
Alpine - 5 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75
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St Arnaud Ra

Attribution: Ben Winnubst

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East Face
Grade 0
Via Hamilton River. Climb easy tussock and scree slopes to the summit.
B
South East Ridge
Grade 0
From Hamilton River. A striking ridge gained from the saddle at 1675m to the Begley. Steep towers can be turned via western slopes.
A
South Face
Grade 0
Via Begley Creek. A narrow steep gully (visible from the flat just downstream of Begley Hut) angles up right from the bottom of the face to the South East ridge. Take the left exit option, and follow the ridge (or a slope on the north side) to a knob south-southeast of the summit, then cross a basin to the summit ridge. A more technical variation is to climb part way up the gully, and then sidle left across a steep snow-covered slab and up a snow slope to a blocky rib. The easiest descent (or ascent) route is via a large basin and gully south-west of the peak.
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North West Face Route
Grade 0
Cross the river just below John Tait Hut (Travers Valley), and follow downriver a short distance to a bush spur leading above the bushline to scree basins. Steep gullies lead to the ridge north of the summit.
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South West Ridge
Grade 0
The scree basin of North West Face Route (Travers Valley), leads to a col; the final 60m of rock ridge is interesting.
Alpine - 15 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75

Drains into Upper Wairau Valley.

Access: From the Rainbow Junction flats just above the gorge, stock tracks up terraces on the true left of Paske Creek lead to Paske Hut (6 bunks, standard). About 1½ hours travel up the Rainbow there is a second fork; the north branch gives access to a delightful tussock basin under Kehu Peak, and the south branch leads to Mts Paske and McKay, and a good saddle to the large tarn source of the East Sabine. Begley Creek From the Rainbow Junction flats, a track leads to Begley Hut (8 bunks, standard) and saddles with Connors Creek and the Hamilton River.

Mtweld3

Named for Frederick Weld, who in March 1855, with Alphonse Clifford, climbed onto a high point on Turk Ridge and spotted Tarndale, which led to the upper Clarence and opened up the important droving route to Canterbury.

Attribution: Ben Winnubst

A
South East Ridge
Grade 0
From the Hydro Rd. Follow a 4WD track to power pylons on the end of the spur. Pleasant ridge scrambling leads to a difficult notch at about 1950m. Turn it by descending steep slopes on the east, crossing a gully and climbing up the final easy slopes to the summit. There are easy descent routes via scree and tussock into streams on either side of the ridge.
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North Ridge
Grade 0
Climb a tussock ridge south-east of Paske Saddle stream and then a narrow ridge (or a shelf) to Mt Dora. Mt Guinevere is to the south-west of Dora.
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South East Ridge
Grade 0
Easy riverbed travel from Island Gully Hut Upper Wairau Rv, leads to a pleasant campsite at the junction of the two source streams of the Wairau. Climb easy slopes from the eastern source stream onto the ridge, north of peak 1820m. Scramble over several minor bumps and narrow rocky sections till below a steep buttress guarding the summit pyramid. Follow leads up on ledges and steep but generally sound rock on the eastern side till above the buttress. Scramble along narrow ridges to the top. The easiest descent (or ascent) is north-east down Turk Ridge, then easy scree into the head of the stream. Mt Guinevere is an easy scramble south-west of Dora.
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South Gullies
Grade 0
Follow the western source stream of the Wairau, bypassing a waterfall on the true left, into a scree basin and tarn. A steepening snow-filled couloir tops out above the buttress of SE Ridge route.
Alpine - 9 routes - avg. grade 0 0 - 2.75
Screen%20shot%202011 06 29%20at%205.54.44%20pmScreen%20shot%202011 06 29%20at%205.55.51%20pm 01 pb130092

All routes reached from the Begley and Rainbow valleys are steep, and probably best done as spring snow or ice climbs. This magnificent peak has some of the best climbing in the park, with nice rock on the normal summer route, and more difficult winter and spring climbs. It is the only major Travers Valley peak visible from Lake Rotoiti, and is named after Thomas Brunner’s Maori guide Kehu (or Ekehu) without whom his epic 18 month journey from Nelson to Paringa would have been impossible.

Attribution: Photo & Text by Ben Winnubst

A
South Face Gully
Grade 0
Via Begley Ck. The face is split by an obvious hanging gully, very steep at the bottom, then at an easier angle to the short ridge joining the north and south summits of Kehu. In October the steep bottom of the gully is one pitch of consistently superb plastic ice, about 75º. Magnificent.
B
South Face Direct
Grade 0
Via Begley Ck. To the right of the steep gully (South Face Gully route) is a shallow steep gully. Angle up to the top edge of a steep snow-covered slab. Traverse the slab a short distance (very exposed) or crawl under a small rocky overhang onto easier slopes, topping out on the south summit.
C
West Face Gully
Grade 0
Via Begley Ck Climb around the toe of a buttress and into a wide easy gully on the western side of Kehu. Look for an obvious gully on the right, walled by steep rock. The gully snakes up and tops out above the buttress, beside two shark's teeth shaped rocks. Traverse across and into the hanging gully of South Face route . Alternatively, climb to the ridge above, from where it is possible to descend onto upper slopes on the Travers side (see Travers Face Route & West Face routes). Other ice gullies on this face have yet to be explored.
D
Travers West Face
Grade 0
Via Begley Ck. The wide gully of West Face route leads to the ridge between point 2096m and the summit. Descend on the Travers side and sidle steep slopes or a gully to the peak.
E
Begley Face
Grade 0
Keep mostly on the true right of the west branch of the Begley, through bush into an upper basin. Climb easy slopes and at map ref. N30/902080 cross a spur into a hanging valley north-east of the peak. A narrow gut at the head of the valley, to the right of rock bluffs, tops out just north of the summit. Alternatively, snow slopes to the left of the bluffs lead to a gully, which tops out just south of the summit.
F
North West Face
Grade 0
From Upper Travers Hut, climb tussock and scree to a wide shelf. Sidle south then ascend a major scree basin under Kehu to the steep firm rock of the face. There are several routes onto the rock face (e.g. via a short gully on the lefthand edge) leading to the range above and then a scramble south to the summit.
G
North Ridge
Grade 0
A traverse of the divide from Begley Saddle is long. A sharp rock fin requires cheval tactics then the ridge rises in steps. From a shallow col descend west to North West Face route.
H
West Ridge
Grade 0
Via Travers Valley. The south-west head of the scree basin in route 5.12 leads to slabs and ribs under a low point on the divide. The spiky and difficult ridge rises steeply to the summit.
I
West Face
Grade 0
Via Travers Valley. Follow the basin in the West Ridge route south, around the toe of the north-west face, to where a steep and rotten gully (good ice in winter) gives a route to the divide immediately north of the summit.
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Paske Creek Route
Grade 0
Belvedere is an interesting peak, being located at the top of the Buller, Clarence and Wairau catchments. (A ‘belvedere’ is a raised turret or lookout for viewing). From Paske Hut follow Paske Saddle route to Paske Saddle and then the easy ridge to Belvedere. A good day trip from Paske Hut is to climb Mt Paske, then traverse Belvedere before descending a couloir and directly down, or else continue to Paske Saddle, and returning to the hut.
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From Clarence Pass
Grade 0
From the Clarence pass, good ridges lead east to Belvedere Peak and west to Pk 2085m. A steep scree gut on the west side of Pk 2085m descends to the head of the east branch of the Waiau. On the south side, bluffs above the head of the Clarence must be avoided.