Right choice of route for November (between 14-24)

Hi There I am coming over from England and would be very keen to do a more challenging route such as the Cascade Saddle Route. I have winter mountaineering experience but will not have this equipment with me. Can anyone tell me if this route is suitable for November? Or would the Dusky track be more suitable for example? I would really appreciate any advice on this.Many thanks
Both are great options! The Cascade Saddlem is one I recommend to most who venture to NZ. Its been a few years since I've done the Cascade Saddle route so my info here might be outdated. The CS route is not an all weather pass so my advice is to go in the direction of the West Matukituki and O/N it at Aspiring Hut and heading up on the back of a good weather report. My preference is to camp at the top, means carrying a bit more but the views of camping at the top are superb. And its sandfly free! Though this practice may be frowned upon with higher traffic doing the route. The elevation gain is from about 350m to about 1700m from memory so its a haul, but all worth it! Easier to ascend the snow than descend hence my preference to go in this direction. The main point which accumulates snow of a potential danger will be just below the pylon on the West Matukituki valley side. People have fatally slipped here in the past but in saying this, this is what makes the trip more adventurous. You could talk with DOC (Dept of conversation) before you go to get the latest conditions. But I'd be pretty certain you'll need at least an axe for that time of year. Beware of NZ tussock also, it is designed to shed snow. I almost lost a partner in the ravine below the summit who didn't head my warning. All gear can be hired from Wanaka which would be the best starting point for you. You can get all your supplies from Wanaka, it has a supermarket and numerous outdoor stores. Getting to the start used to be via shuttle but in November it may not be running just yet. I've always hitch hiked out of Wanaka which is relatively safe in NZ and the chances are still good. Sometimes there is a hut warden at Aspiring Hut, definitely in the busy times. There is some camping facilities there and again thats my preference to an often busy hut. I camp at the top, just be aware of Keas! You'll know what I mean. A few times I've been forced off due to bad weather in the middle of the night so be prepared. On the other side I'd go back via the Rees valley. It might however depend on getting a shuttle bus out which runs in the peak season. If not then you might have to hitch it out, again a tent will be handy as a back-up. You can check on this with DOC at Wanaka From here you'll get to Glenorchy where you're only a hop skip and a jump away from Queenstown to do all those adrenalin activities. Total time not allowing for bad weather would be 4-5 days. My advice is if you get yourself to Wanaka then go talk with DOC at the visitor centre, they'll give you all the lowdown. They're very helpful. NZ weather is unpredictable and they can help here with local,knowledge. Best to be flexible with your dates as I say to take advantage of better weather. You'll want fine views! Wanaka is a beaut town and in a rain shadow. Sometimes it be sunny here but foul up the valley so don't be fooled. I haven't done the dusky, plenty of other options without the stories heard of ending up in waist deep mud! Hope that helps
Thanks for all that really helpful information. It has really got me longing to get there. I appreciate the time you have taken to give me all the details. Thank you.

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Forum Visiting New Zealand
Started by gsenior
On 15 October 2011
Replies 2
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