South Island Hike in September.
Hey Folks. I've got a cousin getting married in New Zealand South Island in September so I'm thinking about taking an extended holiday while I'm there. Ive got quite a bit of hiking experience under my belt in various terrain, both on and off track and a good fitness level. That said I've never hiked in snow, and thought it would be a great chance to see some snow while in NZ. There are a whole bunch of short tracks im planning to do, and want to include bigger ones such as Kepler track - just an overnight to Luxmore hut and back, Alex Knob Track, Hooker track, Tasman Lake hike, and an overnight stay at Meuller hut and Ball Hut. Im aware bookings aren't taken for hut in September. Im wondering if crampons or any other specialist gear is recommended for any of these hike in September, and if these hike should be attempted in September? cheers
Luxmore hut will be fine to reach, no alpine gear required, although if you'll want to go any further you probably will. Tasman Lake/Ball hut: you'll need to check with DOC Mt Cook Village. There was a large washout on the old 4WD track up the side of the Tasman over summer, a massive slip collapsed into the lake and the main route was cut. I'm not sure if there's a new route up there that's doable in Summer, let alone September.
Agree. Up to Luxmore Hut, you're walking uphill thru bush track. just after the big rocks, know it when you get there, it breaks out of the treeline for the last 30 min. Might be snowy ?. Ask at DoC Te Anau before you go. Suggest next day, you continue up to take the 10min side-trip to Mt Luxmore peak before turning around, THAT will be more weather dependent. Not so much the snow itself as the avalanche risk. Or ice. Once you get up on the Sealy Range, it may be hard to see the track to Meuller Hut, along the relative flat. Wasn't there a guy taking supplies to the hut from off a helicopter, slipped on ice & slid off to his death ?. Again, check with DoC Mt Cook at the time.
How doable would you say Meuller hut is in Sept though?
Sure. Tell me what the weather's been doing August-September ?. I'm GUESSING, Winter snow is thawing & re-freezing, unless it's been a poor ski season & there's barely anything there. If thaw/refreeze, then is icy. Could be new snow sitting on an old base, which can be avalanche prone. It's a changeable part of the Winter/Spring transition. Wouldn't totally shelve the plan. Just ask around, closer the time. Doc Mt Cook will give you an answer that mitigates their risk of being blamed for sending you into danger, but ask around, closer the time.
Cheers Pro-active, Year trying to predict weather that hasn't happened will always be hard. You've actually helped in the body of your answer. in giving me a bit of insight into climate condition for that time of year. It looks like i've started planning a bit early. Oh well, the excitement will grow with anticipation.
The later, the better as we don't know how long the border will be closed either!
My Christchurch tramping club cancelled multi-day tramps earlier this week. By end of week they have now suspended all group activities. They have effectively stopped. Enjoy your freedom while you can. Still a few weeks before Daylight Saving time ends. Best of luck !. - PA
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