State of tracks rising from lower Hollyford road?

My partner and I will be driving our camper (Nissan Civilian bus) to Gunn's Camp in early March and staying there for about 7 days. Depending on the weather we want to be out and about walking, exploring the local bush and scenery as much as we can. Not just in the Hollyford valley floor but up side valleys and tops where feasible. Another couple we know will also be staying at Gunn's while we are there and are likely to join us on most or possibly all these trips. Final plans will wait until we arrive - and be dependent on how many fine weather days we get and how fit we are and what we fancy doing at the time. But some tentative routes on the East involve climbing up Pass Creek track to the Routeburn at Lake Howden and down Deadmans track back to Gunn's (NOT on the same day), with a possible overnight camp at the small lake at head of Sunny Creek. Other possibilities involve walking part of the Routeburn and Greenstone tracks from the Divide to McKellar Hut then negotiate a rough route up a spur to point 1543 and return back along the Livingston range tops - with their lovely tarns - North to Key Summit. For overnight trips we will take small tents or a fly and bivvy bags. Some of our trip ideas are inspired by route descriptions and photos by Danilo Hegg (Southern Alps Photography) and regular NZ Tramper stalwarts Yarmoss, Madpom and others with extensive local knowledge, and by perusing the routeguides.co.nz website. What I would like to know is the current state of Pass Creek and Deadmans tracks. I am expecting them to be rough and steep in places, especially Deadmans which seems to be very steep mainly. But are they well marked and/or well-defined and has there been any recent maintenance by DOC or are they likely to be very overgrown and littered with tree falls and eroded with slips? Anyone with recent experience of these tracks please share! On the West we will almost certainly do an easy day trip up to Lake Marian, and possibly go a bit further up valley beyond the head of the lake, possibly an overnight camp near Lyttle Falls. Many decades ago (1981?) my partner and I walked up Moraine Creek track to a small hut below the Lake Adelaide terminal moraine rock jumble, so revisiting this side valley is a possibility. But I cannot see any sign of the old hut on modern topo maps, so I guess much has changed, and most likely the state of the track, which I remember as rough and a bit vague in places, easy and well defined in others, has changed a lot also. In fact the map shows the track (dotted line) petering out at Tent Flat whereas I seem to remember a track or clear route extending much further up valley than that. Again, anyone with recent experience of Moraine Creek track, please share! Thank you, in anticipation!
deadmans track is very rough, steep. overgrown and difficult to navigate,
I went up Morraine Creek to Lake Adelaide a few years ago. We had to ferret around a bit to find the track after the walkwire, but once on it, it wasn't too bad going up to Tent Flat apart from sporadic windfall. There's a rock shelter that sleeps three people about 2/3 of the way up to Tent Flat. The best camping at Tent Flat is on the western end under some trees after the flats. The track continued on for a while after Tent Flat and then fizzled out. Some scrub bashing was needed beyond that, although on our return, we boulder hopped down the stream that travels west from about 267833E 5045560S. The northern end of Lake Adelaide has a horridable boulder field that should be avoided by sticking to the northwestern wall of that area. Stunning spot but not for novices. Hopefully someone can fill you in on more recent conditions.
Hi @Antico Last February I did the routeburn track and in order to take some picture we came down a little bit on the deadman track...looked reasonably market but I cant tell how it is today and of course I can talk probably for the first 100 m from the top.
I haven't done either Pass Creek or Deadman's, but from what I've herd talking to rangers and OTMC members is Pass Burn gets maintenance and Deadman's does not. The sign at the top of Deadman's says 5 hours to the bottom... says it all, really. A party from the OTMC recently went along the Livingstones from Key Summit to near 1543 and down the Duck Creek route. They made a mistake and turned off early, and had a nasty sidle around the top of Duck Creek, so don't be tempted to do that, stay high. I revisited Sunny Creek in December and should really update the entry on Routeguides, but its a neat place. I recommend a free couple of hours return for a climb to the saddle at Pt 1611 (now that I've finally made it up there) Amazing views.
Many thanks to those who have replied to this thread. Wanderwild: Thanks for update on Moraine Creek. Because of lack of time (allowing for other, more definite options for the week) we will probably not bother to go up that valley, especially because of the uncertain state of track beyond Tent Flat. I know about the dreaded moraine boulders (covered in thick scrub mostly) as I have been up there near the terminus and also skirting Lake Adelaide twice before, in 1970s. But I seem to remember there was a decent flat grassy campsite close under the slabs leading up to Apirana. Yarmoss: Thank you for your valuable insights and recommendations. Yes I had already considered scrambling up to the saddle at 1611 overlooking Fraser Creek. My original plan was to do a loop from Gun's camp. Up Pass Creek track (after boring 5Km road walk) to L. Howden, then a short Routeburn segment followed by off-track up Sunny Creek to lake. Next day: out via a Routeburn segment and descend Deadmans to Gunn's. But this would be two quite long days, and the final long stage - Deadman's track descent - is by all accounts unpleasant and uncertain, which puts an unwelcome psychological dampener on the whole exercise. So we may come out the way we went in. Less interesting but less risky. Additionally, we might really take it easy and start walking from the Divide (parking there overnight) instead of walking from Gunn's. As for walking along Livingstone tops, we would probably do it the other way, starting from McKellar Hut, climbing Duck Creek spur (there is supposed to be some sort of track through the bush?) then off-track to Cascade Creek Saddle and 1543 and then down-ridge to Key Summit. Route-finding may be easier that way. Any additional suggestions are welcome!
>As for walking along Livingstone tops, we would probably do it the other way, starting from McKellar Hut, climbing Duck Creek spur (there is supposed to be some sort of track through the bush?) then off-track to Cascade Creek Saddle and 1543 and then down-ridge to Key Summit. Route-finding may be easier that way. Yes, there is a track there. From the true right side of the bridge over Duck Creek (on the Greenstone track) head west, pushing through the light scrub/ferns etc there, and you should pick up the ground trail almost immediately, with tape markers a few metres further on. It heads passed the water tank and intake piping for McKellar hut, and connects with a dry stream bed/water course where the terrain begins to steepen. Follow this all the way up to bush line, and from there simply follow your nose up the tussock slopes onto Pt1362. You could do the walk along the tops north of McKellar Saddle if you wanted? Route is on Routeguides. It could be combined with the Key Summit/Livingstone Range for a 3 day circuit.
I have to disagree with the above posts regarding Deadmans. I've been down it twice in the last few years and found it very straightforward. Yes, rough and boggy, the odd windfall, but not hard to follow and not particularly onerous. From memory about 2-3 hours down. I'd definitely do that ahead of returning the same way.

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Forum Tracks, routes, and huts
Started by antico
On 3 February 2019
Replies 7
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