French ridge hut track
Hi guys... Let's say I've got from sunday morning till monday night spare days and I would love to visit the french ridge hut track... Would you advice to do it? I read on the DOC website that is for advanced hiker... What that exactly mean? Is this a very challengeble track? And what's the conditions of the hut? I would be based in Wanaka and after I've done Rob roy and Roys peak I would love to see something hide and beautiful...and this place seems to be both things. Any suggestions?
French Ridge track is rough and extremely steep. There are exposed sections above the bushline where a slip on snow or ice would be serious. That’s why it’s rated as an advance track, it’s much more difficult then the West Matukituki valley floor track. I’ve heard the hut is out of water (that situation may have changed with recent rain). There are no water sources near by, so you may need to carry a couple of litres up with you from the valley floor. Check with DOC Wanaka for up to date information. You need to buy a hut ticket from there anyway as the hut is not a DOC hut but is administered by them. All of the tracks in the Matukituki that go off the valley floor are steep and challenging, but the views make up for them. If the weathers nice you can’t beat camping near Cascade Saddle.
several people have died around that area, due to having inadequate gear when there was snow or ice around, often not taking crampons and or wearing running shoes. above french ridge hut is alpine territory where winter mountaineering gear for snow and ice is mandatory year round
French Ridge Hut is in a stunning location and well worth a visit if you have decent weather and the energy to get there. The track is well marked but very steep involving plenty of hauling yourself up over rocks and tree roots, vertical in some places. The walk up the valley to Aspiring Hut and beyond to the French Ridge turnoff is straightforward. You will need to cross through a river near the turnoff so consider if it is safe to cross and take note of the weather forecast. Above the bush line, the track is very exposed until you reach the hut - you can cool off rapidly if bad weather comes in. The hut itself is a typical NZ Alpine Club Hut - comfortable enough, but it has no heating. Beyond the hut is the Quarterdeck Glacier but don't venture up there unless you have climbing gear and know how to use it. As you pass Aspiring Hut on the way, you could always stop or retreat there if you feel that you are lacking in time or energy or the weather conditions are not favourable. Another option is Liverpool Hut which is a similar climb but on the opposite side of the valley to French Ridge Hut - it also has impressive views. As these huts are easily accessible from Wanaka they can get very busy. Please note that there are currently water shortages at these huts so you will need to contact DOC in Wanaka to get an update on the situation with water.
Thanks a lot for all the comments... What about time...you reckon that 24 hours(if weather is good)are pretty feasible?
You need to allow for 2 full days. As with any tramping in NZ, you should build in a sufficient safety margin to cope with injury, high rivers/streams, slower travel than anticipated etc. When people are pushed for time, things can easily go wrong.
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