Howden Hut to McKellar via tops.
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Hi, considering doing the route from Key Summit along the ridge line to McKellar hut but wanting to get a more accurate idea of time this may take. Anyone done it? I have read Wilderness magazine article that says 8 hrs but that is from the divide. How long does it take from divide shelter to top of Key Summit? Wondering if we go up to the bushline from McKellar then on up to the ridgeline, how far along the ridgeline back towards Key Summit to get the views down both ways?
Haven't done it. It's probably easier navigation wise going up on to the Livingstone Range from McKellar Hut then North along to Key Summit. 10 years ago a guide/hut employee from Ultimate Hikes tried doing it the other way, got in trouble coming down off the Livingstone Range towards McKellar Hut and took a bad fall, side of Duck Creek I think. (Edited to add, it looks like he went too far south and tried to descend from near point 1596) http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap?v=2&ll=-44.901666,168.135452&z=14&pin=1 http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/805950/Hiking-guide-dies-in-40m-fall This describes the route from McKellar Hut up onto the Livingstone Tops: http://www.routeguides.co.nz/routes/-582 Heading south, get to the saddle between Cascade and Duck Creek and head down the spur to the east of Duck Creek should be fine. This describes the route going down to McKellar Hut from the saddle between Cascade and Duck Creek: http://www.routeguides.co.nz/routes/582
yeah if you get the route wrong, theres bluffs up there.. going down to mckellar particularly dangerous.
I’ve just done it last week. Took me just over 7 hours from the Divide to the summit of Pt1543. That was with a 25kg pack and bad fitness as it was part of my first tramp in a while. The terrain east to south east of the summit is very steep, with some bluffs. I didn’t see an obvious way down. I went south from the summit and descended into the northern branch of Cascade Creek. Divide to the top of Key Summit is less then an hour. It’s 40 minutes to the turn off to the summit then it depends on if you count the “Lake Marian lookout” the summit. You get amazing views everywhere on the ridge once south of the Marian Lookout ( much better views of Marian, too ;) )
Many thanks all of you for replying. Next question............has anyone used/ uses a power bank or solar charger for phone etc? Any comments on best sort, brand, what to look for etc.? liz
Better start a new thread for that please.
@Elizabeth try this thread: https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/10539
This route can be misleading, it looks straightforward, but its not without its perils and challenges. We did it recently and made a few mistakes but eventually made it to McKellar well after dark having set off after lunchtime in summer. We did it both ways! - sounds punishing, but did it to just enjoy the trip when the weather cleared next day. Scenery pretty amazing. First thing allow a full day, don't get caught thinking you can do this in 6-7 hours as some suggest, and secondly only in good weather. Going from McKellar may be better, since most of the climbing is out of the way once near 1543m, then its mostly downhill to Key Summit from there. Also going up 1543 from McKellar is less treacherous than going down 1543 from the KS route. One route on the internet indicated bearing due east from 1543, wow that's very steep down and dangerously slippery if wet, though going up from McKellar is doable using every limb to hold on. A safer alternative is to use Cascade Creek as a mark then sidle around to climb a more N-S bearing to the summit. There needs to be a cairn placed at the top of the last ridge to show the way off the range down to McKellar, there is a cairn but its out of sight and a fair way down near the treeline. As for 1543, once in sight, there is no need to go to the very top of rocky 1543 instead you can sidle around on the east side where safe. Finally stick to a north-south bearing along the range, never attempt to deviate eastwards where there are dangerous bluffs. There are no short cuts on this route.
>A safer alternative is to use Cascade Creek as a mark then sidle around to climb a more N-S bearing to the summit. Can you clarify, is it better to sidle around on the south or the north side of 1543 from the saddle between Cascade and Duck Creeks before climbing up 1543? http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap?v=2&ll=-44.883805,168.122578&z=15 Thanks
You don’t want to sidle around the northeast side. I know 2 different parties who did this and both said it was terrible. The ridge that runs southwest of the summit has good travel. The easiest way to travel between the Saddle and the summit would be to drop into Cascade Creek then climb west onto the ridge before turning north onto 1543.
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