Arthurs Pass to West Coast - wisdom needed.
Hi Guys Now that NZ's borders are opening, my thoughts are once again turning to some adventure on your fine shores. I’m keen to hear any throughs on the following trip (for Feb-March 2023). I was planning to walk it 2 years ago, but COVID happened!! Looking at it now (and if I am honest with myself) it is a bit ambitious and doesn’t allow enough days for bad weather, but it would be good to get opinions from those who have spent time in this part of the backcountry. I'm also open to suggested alternative routes. Places I would really like to visit are Upper Waimak Hut, Barker hut and Ivory Lake Hut :) I really enjoyed my solo trip through Kahurangi a few years back, so I think I’ll be tramping this one solo as well. Thanks in advance for your help, Cheers, Moh. ----------------------------------------------------------- Day 1 - Arthurs pass Village to upper Waimak hut (HUT) via Mt Philistine & Waimak col Total 9.5-10hrs? Day 2 - Upper Waimak Hut to Barker Hut (HUT) Total 6-8hrs? Day 3 - Barker Hut to Aerial tarns via Harman Pass (CAMP) Total 5.5hrs? Day 4 - Aerial Tarns to Lake Browning via Whitehorn & Browning Pass (CAMP) Total 8-9 hrs? Day 5 - Contingency Day Day 6 - Lake Browning to Lathrop Saddle campsite (CAMP) Total 8.5-10hrs? Day 7 - Lathrop Saddle to Top Kokatahi Hut (HUT) Total 9-11.5 hrs? Day 8 - Top Kokatahi Hut to Bluff Hut (HUT) Total 11.5 - 13.5hrs? Day 9 - Contingency Day Day 10 - Bluff Hut to Price Flat Hut (HUT) Total 11-14hrs? Day 11 - Price Flat Hut to Ivory Lake (HUT) Total 12-14.5hrs? Day 12 - Contingency Day Day 13 - Ivory Lake to dickie Spur hut (HUT) Total 9hrs? Day 14 - Dickie spur hut to Mikonui River road end 3hrs?
good luck getting weather that allows you to be able to pull all that off , even in summer... the weather often greatly slows you down or prevents you from moving far at all sometimes for several days in a row... having a lot of long days in your plans is risking a fair chance of failure at some point. prioritise what you most want to get done and focus on that and plan for extra days where the weather causes problems either from traveling on the open tops of having to cross rivers.
Hi Wayno. Yes, I know that I will need luck :) The optimist in me always plans for the best, and this has eventuated more times than I ever thought it would. The realist always has several contingency plans for bad weather and unforeseen delays. Have you tramped any of the sections? Any highlights that you can share? Thanks Moh.
Looks like some hard mountaineering in there. I'd suggest a more conventional "Three Passes" trip with side trips to Waimak Falls and Barker huts. Then wait for another window of good weather in Hokitika before trying Ivory Lake from a standard route.
Thanks Chris Unfortunately for me, the hard mountains are half the attraction. The other half is spending 2 weeks wandering around in them. I'm not really fussed how far I travel in those 2 weeks, but it is always nice to cover some ground and experience different landscapes. I suspect that Ivory Hut may have to wait for another trip, but that's ok, it gives me another reason to come back (the list is growing). As a side note, I had a chat with a German at Lonely Lake hut on my last NZ trip. He been travelling and tramping around the South Island for about 3-4 months, slowly making his way up to the north. He made a point of telling me how disappointed he was with the tramping along the west coast in general, and felt it was the only area that did not live up to the hype. I'd never given the west coast any thought until this, and decided that I should check it out myself as I was unaware of any hype:). Keen to also hear any options on his comments. Cheers, Moh.
Good for you Moh. These guys were 15 days on a round trip to Ivory Lake Hut. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=308241729692307&set=a.1113844672465338
Thanks for sharing Chirss. The country looks amazing. I had previously read a few accounts of the difficulties of tramping up the Waitaha river, especially beyond Chinaman Ck, and the need to allow an extra week (or more) to deal with the rain and high water levels. It is good to see some photos of it. I also remember reading that the down climb after point 2084 (above Ivory Lake) is not for everyone, but these guys do not seem to mention it. It certainly is a special part of NZ. Cheers, Moh.
1 deleted post from Barmer34
Hi Moh, That is ambitious but doable. You would need the right wx and it has been great so perhaps you have completed your trip by now. How did it go?. I've done all you are/were planning except for visiting Waimak Falls via Mt Philistine (I've been a different way) That is quite a bit of food to carry; did you have a supply drop part way?
@glennj thanks for the input. I would have loved to have done it this year, but I couldn't get over to your shores due to international travel restrictions. Plan is to do it next year & carry all my food. I've carried a couple of weeks of food a few time now. It makes for a very hard first few days :) Cheers Moh.
Hi Moh, shame you couldn't get here as the wx has been excellent through Feb & March with low rivers. Good luck for next year. Well in the past I've started big trips with up to 23kg loads but I couldn't/wouldn't attempt to repeat that these days. (I'm in my mid 60's now)
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