Pass hopping in Leatham Conservation Area
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Hi guys, Has anyone done some pass hopping in Leatham Conservation Area? I'm looking to link up valleys such as Silverstream, Bull Paddock, Lost Stream, Misery, Lees, and Branch. I've been to madpom's routeguides.co.nz but not much joy there. I've walked the Leatham-Molesworth Route. The valleys are all tracked with huts but I'm not finding much info on linking the valleys via the tops. It's a beautiful part of our country with very few visitors. Any and all info is welcome. Cheers!
I wanted to clarify that I meant no denigration to @madpom nor to routeguides.co.nz by my flippant comment, "not much joy there." Matt is an inspiration and I have benefitted greatly from his kind generosity, extensive knowledge and sound advice.
Is Martin Clapham a member of this site? He has a good knowledge of that country. I've been thinking of walking some of those tops myself and have had a quick look at the map and what you propose looks doable Gregor. I've been in there on four trips so far and mainly traveled the main valleys and some side creeks up to the basins but did cross one saddle between catchments which was good going.
Thanks, Glenn. No shout out from Martin yet. Not much info on this area. Topo shows continuing track up the Silverstream possibly over to Silverstream Biv, but not many other indicators. Upper Misery seems pretty daunting by the topo lines. Overall, the Raglan Range has some pretty crunchy tops. Not much choice but to check it out myself, possibly over the upcoming holiday break. Will report back if I proceed.
Will be interested to hear back from you. From what I've gleaned from hut books and past conversations about the area Lees Creek to Misery Stream gets travelled a bit. Between Bull Paddock Stream and Lost Stream and Bull Paddock Stream and Silver Stream there is occasional use. I'm thinking about linking up Bull Paddock and Silver Stream plus some surrounding country for a look around walk some time. I've just remembered a mate of mine who I was mtn bike riding with last weekend culled for a season in the Branch-Leatham so I should have a yarn with him about routes before I set off.
There is an old tramping track from Bull Paddock Hut over the ridge then down Sandfly stream to the Wairau. I walked up to the ridgeline a few years back and it is still in reasonable condition. Would love to visit again but the Wairau has always been a touch too high when I wanted to make the trip. I also know of a guy who traversed over from the Branch. One of the local tramping clubs, also did a trip where they visited several of the huts in that region. Might be worth trying to track down their trip report.
http://www.nelsontrampingclub.org.nz/node/146 Trip report on Raglan Range is relevant.
Ta militaris. That report covers Silver Stream to Bull Paddock which is part of the country I'm hoping to travel.
I led a Lost Stream, Bull Paddock Biv, Silverstream circuit one Easter. Unfortunately I can't find a trip report for this trip we did. It was straightforward at the time we did it. Whatever you do, don't comtemplate travelling directly down that tributary from Lost Ck to the Mid Silverstream Hut. A party did this and it was a hell mission leading to their having to camp in a gorge. Merv Meredith led a 4 day circuit involving Hellfire Stream, over to Misery Stream then to the Top Branch and over into Lee Ck. I marked it on my freshmap as it was inspiring. I found a more direct route from Top Branch into the head of Lee Ck than the way they went.
I've also done a 5 day circuit of the Severn, Leatham, Gordon and Saxton and then Boundary Ck which had a nice cattle track going all the way to the col 400m south of Pt 1764 (which overlooks Severn Hut from the east). It was straightforward apart from high river flows on one day but we found a couple of good fords in the Gordon by avoiding the track and travelling on the other side of the stream until the valley opened up and flattened out, enabling us to cross.
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