I put this last-minute CTC trip up on Thursday afternoon. The long weekend was ahead and I thought that 2 long days out could suit some folks better than 3 standard days. In the end, it was just me and Chris who came to stretch our legs on the Lake Man trip.
- As I wanted to do a loop, we started at Windy Point which is the most logical place because it’s got a swing bridge across Boyle River. We crossed and continued along a well-trodden track for the first half of the day. The plan was to do a side trip to Top Hope Hut but somewhere after St Jacob’s Hut we had to admit that it’d be too ambitious in the winter when daylight hours are scarce. Looking back it was a good decision because when we came to a right turn to Pussy stream, a DOC sign said that it was still 5 hours to Lake Man Biv and it was around 1.30 pm.
- The track to Lake Man Biv from Hope Valley crosses Hope river first and then leads to Pussy Stream where it disappears for quite some time. It’s only about 1.5 km to the base of the spur where a marked track starts again but it’s pretty slow going. The valley is pretty narrow with only minimum strips of forest on each side so we couldn’t really bush bash and we had to stay in the river bed. There were plenty of fallen trees across the river and we had to cross maybe 20-30 times. This route would be impassable in high flow.
- When we finally reached the base of the spur where a marked track starts again, we had to scramble up. It was actually quite exposed at places but the vegetation around provided us with some good security. The scrambly part goes to around pt1005 and then the sharp ridge gradually flattens. Once above the bushline, the track is again quite steep at places but plenty of flax around helps to move up rather than down. Above the bushline, the track is marked with orange poles and leads to a saddle between Mt Murray and Mt Lakeman. The saddle is pretty flat with a big shallow boggy tarn and it could provide some good camping spots. From the saddle, a good track led us down to Lake Man Biv where we spent the night. Chris was hardy and camped, I couldn’t resist a nicely rebuilt clean biv and slept inside the biv.
- The following morning we went up to Lake Man. The best way to Lake Man seems to be to enter the tussocky patch in the immediate proximity of the biv, cross the patch diagonally towards Lake Man and then drop down to the bush on your right. Don’t go to the scrub on your left. There you can follow the TR of the stream and come out above a couple of waterfalls to another tussocky patch. To avoid the scrub straight ahead, it’s a good idea to head left around it (the stream is maybe 100m on your right now). Once on a flat ledge below the base of cascade waterfalls, cross to the TL of the waterfall and go up along a clearly defined, surprisingly gentle ridges. This route can be seen in one of my photos below. Pretty straightforward navigation in good weather. The whole route is easier than it looks from the distance.
- Lake Man itself was truly epic. There are some good campsites around which I’m hoping to use one day. Scramble to the top of Mt Lakeman also looked pretty straightforward. We took some photos and went back to Lake Man Biv.
- The track from Lake Man Biv down to Doubtful River along Kedron River is pretty straightforward, though with some surprising amount of ups and downs. It’s still rough but definitely easier than from Hope Valley.
- We did a side trip to Doubtless Hut, had a wee lunch at Doubtful Hut which had an insane amount of sandflies, and popped at the Windy Point carpark around 9 hours after we started walking up to Lake Man Biv. The whole journey in Doubtful Valley is on a track, easy, monotonous and long.
- Epic trip with 2 full-on days. Thanks, Chris for putting up with me.
Day 1: 8 h, 27 km horizontal, 1.1 km vertical
Day 2: 9 h, 29 km horizontal, 0.6 km vertical
Participants: Michal Klajban (leader, scribe, photos, GPX), Chris Mcharg
Tramped on 3-4th June 2022.
Max elevation: 1351 m
Min elevation: 481 m
Max elevation: 1539 m
Min elevation: 476 m