This classic tramp in Arthur’s Pass usually takes a couple of days to finish. Well, it’s actually not that far, so why not try to do it in a day? Three cars of CTC folks arrived at Avalanche Peak car park at about 8:40 am. I found out that I left my ice axe at home, so I started to make peace with going to Avalanche Peak and back as there was still some visible, albeit patchy, snow along the tops. We marched up the steep slope at a pretty swift pace and soon arrived at the bushline. After a few minutes’ break, we kept going and took a decent break just below the summit. There were a couple of snow fields that some of us avoided by skirting along them. We reached the top of Avalanche Peak in about 2 hours.
From the top, the track to Crow Hut actually goes south down towards Lyell Peak first. After about 50 metres, we descended sharply to the west slopes heading to Crow Valley, and after about 100 vertical metres, we turned NNW and climbed up on the ridge leading to Rome Ridge and eventually to Mt Rolleston. The path along the tops is pretty straightforward with no exposure if you don’t get lost. If you ever attempt this, do NOT descend to Crow Valley between Avalanche Peak and pt1658. The right scree slope is marked with an orange pole just after pt658. The scree itself is not too bad, I’d say 7/10. Once at Crow Valley, it’s just a short riverbed stroll to Crow Hut.
From Crow Hut the track alternates between vaguely marked riverbed travel and well-marked and maintained forest sections. It doesn’t take long to reach Waimakariri River Valley, which is very wide and, well, boring. In both Crow and Waimakariri Valleys, there are a few compulsory river crossings, so obviously, this shouldn’t be attempted after rain.
It was a pretty good and chilled trip overall with some epic views over Crow Glacier and the south face of Rolleston. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it for kids – Crow Valley is pretty, but the Waimakariri section is long and tedious riverbed travel.
Stats: 17.8 km, 8 h 15 min, 1200 m ascent
Participants: Michal Klajban (scribe, GPX, photos), Mark Nicholls (leader), Hannah-Rose Watt, Jimmy Philpott, Emma Rogers, Benjamin Stil, Xiaoqiu Jaing, Alan Chapman, Michal Klajban, Jack O’Connor, Max De Lacy, Adele Williamson
Tramped on 25th November 2023.
Max elevation: 1836 m
Min elevation: 647 m