Mt Cockayne to Mt Cheesman, Craigieburns

It was kind of a last-minute trip, at least by CTC standards, where trip leaders sometimes post trips a year in advance. With about three days to sign up, I managed to gather seven folks, including myself. We drove to the Hogs Back car park, from where we started climbing along the Cockayne Alley Track. It’s a shared walking and MTB track, though we didn’t see any bikers on it. Once we finally emerged from the bush, we encountered the first snow. At Mt Cheeseman lodge, we had to put on more layers because the wind was picking up, and it was getting quite chilly. We continued following the road, occasionally taking off-track shortcuts, until we arrived at the top of the Cockayne last chairlift. 

After a short side trip to Mt Cockayne, Tom decided that he’d had enough and started to descend back to the cars. Shortly after that, Clare found the increasing winds not to her liking and followed Tom. The rest of the team had a brief discussion about what to do next and agreed to continue. Alan and Rachel, being smart, had put their stuff into my car at the car park in the morning, which allowed us to avoid time pressure since Tom and Clare could simply drive back home in case they turned back.

The ridge from Cockayne to Cheeseman looks gnarly but is actually pretty cruisy with no exposure. It took us over two hours to reach Cheeseman. The wind was steady and strong, around 50 km/h—not strong enough to throw us off balance but very close to it. It was more manageable because it was steady and from the same direction. From Cheeseman, we started to descend quickly into a basin below. We stopped for a quick lunch, where I got very cold; I don’t remember the last time I felt that cold. I realised that I hadn’t eaten much that day, so I quickly ate a giant muesli bar, put on a puffy jacket, and kept heading down. Because my hands were frozen, I didn’t want to check the map too often, so I tried to wing it on how to get back to the ridge heading to pt1552. I didn’t quite get it right—I think patience is key here. The best approach would be to descend all the way down to somewhere around the 1700-1650m contour and then climb up the ridge. We took a slightly longer, less efficient route, but oh well… we got there in the end.

On the ridge, we took our crampons off, and under beautiful light conditions, we continued our descent to pt1552. Somewhere around the 1500m contour, we jumped onto a scree slope and, through a forest opening, met the Hogs Back track, which was easy to follow all the way back to the cars.

Stats: 15.5 km, 9 h 5 min, 1450 m ascent

Participants: Michal Klajban (leader, scribe, GPX), Rachel Hunt, Brenda O’Donoghue, Clare Kiamtia, Alan Chapman, Tomyu Hu, Karolina Kasprzak

Tramped on 28th June 2024.



Total distance: 17757 m
Max elevation: 1936 m
Min elevation: 871 m
Download file: GPX-hikingisgood-com-nz-2024-Cockayne_to_Cheesman.gpx

About the Author

I lived a pretty ordinary life for a while. I did my studies, my second studies, my third studies, my first job, my second job, and my third job. I wasn’t really sure what’s going on so, in 2014, I left my home country (Czechia) to learn about the world. I’m still not sure what’s going on but I enjoy it much more. I lived in a few countries before settling in New Zealand.

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