Pass hopping in Leatham Conservation Area
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!
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Some great info here from all contributors. DOC's website has the listing for Bull Paddock Creek Hut as closed with no additional information. A google search revealed an undated link to a DOC statement that led off, "Bull Paddock Creek Hut is closed indefinitely due to structural damage." However, when you click the link you get a "page not found". It falls under Nelson Lakes DOC so I'll ring 'em tomorrow. It'd be a shame if it were closed because many of the options listed cite Bull Paddock Creek Hut as a common thread to other valleys, and I'm seeing the possibilities. I'd have my bivvy sack but a hut is always welcome. @Honora, I, too, have walked the Leatham Molesworth Route, and it really is a wonderful circuit. Came in from Hanmer, had to park a little past Lake Tennyson (2WD), then marched the 4WD road to Sedgemere Sleepout, allowing access to Severn and the start of the circuit proper. DOC are promoting this route and the East West Route to attract visitors to this beautiful part of our country. Although the Saxton and Boundary are cattle runs, the country sure is pretty. Only heart-thumping moment was crossing the slip in the upper Gordon Stream before Top Gordon Hut @ BS26 164 570. Don't know how much longer that hillside will remain viable. But the rest was straightforward with excellent huts and spectacular, open scenery. Anyhoo, I'll ring DOC tomorry and update the community if I can.
Bull Paddock Creek Hut is being looked after by the Clapham family, namely Martin & his son Kerry. They volunteered to look after the hut after it was slated for removal. Unfortunately, they have run into some 'bureaucratic' problems following an engineers inspection. The Clapham's are planning on upgrading the foundations to meet the building code. They hope to do the work this summer. I can confirm the existence of the track up from the Wairau River. DOC has ceased maintaining it so the Clapham's & other volunteers have been clearing & marking it periodically. Other information states there is no marked route to the hut but this is 100% incorrect. The marked route starts from Sandfly Stream in the Wairau valley & heads over a saddle to Bull Paddock Stream & then up to the hut. Cheers Paul
I'm just back from 3½ days walking on parts of the Raglan Range plus some other stuff. I walked out from Bull Paddock Creek Bivvy to the Wairau along the track you mentioned Paul. It is pretty good going and well marked. It took me 2¾ hrs to walk out to the Wairau this way after having already done 5hrs walking earlier in the day. Also visited Mid Silverstream Hut and Silverstream Biv. There are bluffs and some gnarly rocky bits on the Raglan Range ridges but you can generally pick your way thru these or bypass them. Some creeks on the other hand look quite nasty in places with waterfalls and gorges.
i went over from the branch into the Lees. went over between 1965 and 2046, just a steep walk bit of scrambling in places, straight forward had a look around top misery, pretty straight forward getting out of the valley http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap?v=2&ll=-41.967255,173.004513&z=14
Had a great 8 days checking out the area. Saw the route in the upper Branch plus checked out the head of the Misery, but mainly stayed in the valleys. Met a party of 4 from Nelson Tramping Club covering this very area, over into the Misery from Bull Paddock, then out the Branch to Coldwater and Lees. Unless you have a 4WD and can ford the Leatham or take the Hydro Road next to the Wairau, you'll be marching 14kms up the Branch on an unsealed road into Greig's to access the area. Fantastic country, very few people.
I made use of a mountain bike in the Branch. Took my SUV on the Hydro Road up the Wairau, parked up on Rainbow Station and forded the Wairau which was low. No other people were encountered whilst walking. No one had signed the Silverstream Hut & Biv books for a couple of months when I visited. Missed a party of two at Bull Paddock Creek by less than 48 hours and Martin Clapham has told me others were in there not long after I passed through on my loop walk from the Wairau.
I can't have missed some of you guys by much as I was in the Raglan range area Jan 8 and 9. Climbed Scotts Knob then dropped down to Siberia. Had been planning to head over to Bull Paddock then Mid Silverstream but poor weather on the 9th deterred me. End up just walking up to Lost Stream Biv then back out to the ute at Greigs. Was a bit worried about the Branch coming up and trapping me as I had a flight out to meet. Oh well, still leaves a good trip for another day.
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