Wandering around Lewis Pass
I've locked in another jaunt across the ditch for Feb. The plan includes Libretto & Opera ranges, Harris river and Zampa tops, an approach to Glorianna (and summit if all things align), Sylvia tops, Grand Duchess and a final stroll across the Lewis tops - weather permitting, of course. I have a couple of questions arising from my research ; 1. Wilderness mag had a mention of Libretto Range and the comment "just over the ridge to the south is a fantastic campsite with good tarns" refering to the Boucher saddle (the 1330m saddle south of Travers Peak) and, presumably the area south of pt1674. However, both the topo map and Gogle Earth don't show any tarns worthy of the name until south of pt1680. Anyone able to confirm the tarn/campsite comments? 2. Anyone been up the ridge N of Nina hut? the one running NW up to Grand Duchess. The plan is to take this spur up over the 3 spot heights the sidle N under (and E of) Grand Duchess at about the 1430m level and camp at the 2nd tarn shown on the topo. I had a look at these tops from 3 Tarns Pass, a few years ago and wondered then if I could return for some exploration - fingers crossed for appropriate weather.
They must mean 'just over the ridge to the north' in reference to Boucher Saddle. The tarns below Trovatore. The southern tarns are several kms away. You might find these photos useful in your planning... https://get.google.com/albumarchive/100895717774510695568/album/AF1QipPosyOuH-ePS1bFaz07Xjs_Ksie0j2CPmeMeij7 Nina & James have walked the NW ridge to Brass Monkey Biv: https://ninadickerhof.smugmug.com/TrampingandmountaineeringinNew/North-of-Arthurs-Pass/Nina-Valley-Bras-Monkey-Biv/i-mrrNcW2
Thanks, jetnz. I'll follow up the links later today. The article was about tramping with children and discussed a loop starting at Boyle, going up the St James, up Boucher and then along the Libretto and down to Boyle - so going north at the saddle wasn't on the tramp. Not to say that the article wasn't edited by someone looking at an upside down map !
I recall being on Boucher Saddle a few years ago and there being small and shallow tarns on the saddle. You may be able to see them on Google Earth.
Hi Honora, thanks. Yes they are visible in GE. The same article describes the saddle as boggy so it didn't sound very inviting. Given it's orientation, I expect it would be windy on a calm day. Besides, I'd much rather camp on the tops.
... and thanks again, jetnz, for the links. Good to see someone's been up that ridge north of Nina hut (and see pics of the terrain). The gnarly snow pic of the Lucretia approach looks like fun, too! Thanks to Nina for posting the trip photos.
Ha, funny what one's research can turn up. I was idly browsing search results and hit this link 🤔 https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/2365?post=17563#17563 So, over 4 years since posting some initial ideas/questions (wizz, that went quickly), the trip has matured into the outline in the OP. Thanks to wayno, glennj, matthew, as well as more recently honora and jetnz, for some of the info to put this together.
Re the Wilderness article about tarns south of the boggy saddle at the head of Boucher stream - there are great tarns around pt 1468 that aren't marked on the map. There are loads of tarns all across this range that don't show up on Topo maps which makes camping very easy. That said, its been a very hot summer so you'll have to take that into account. The Libretto Range is wonderful, easy travel - I'm sure youll love it.
Thanks, tramperjoe, I wondered about pt1468; the topo flattens out so it's an obvious area to look for a campsite (and tarns) but most of the GE snapshots are snow-covered so can't see much. Yes, I've been watching the weather for a wee while; dry but with a few showers in the last week or so. Hopefully, for me and much of NZ, a decent fall or two is not far away. If not, maybe the 'boggy' saddle will be the go. It's a large group I'm taking (9 - experienced, but some on their 1st NZ tramp) so a moderate introduction is the order. There are, however, a few more challenging bits to keep them on their toes 😎
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