The Spurs (or so called “Rakaia Spurs”) in Birdwood Range are a couple of peaks, nearly 2000m high (1964m and 1985m), overlooking Wilberforce Flat by Lake Coleridge. To climb The Spurs, you do need permission from the local station.
A few enthusiastic CTC members decided to climb these beautiful towers, led by David Sutton. We started off at a rather awkward place, right in the middle of a farm road, quite far from the local farmer’s house. We crossed Glenthorne Stream and started looking for the track to Gargarus Saddle. We might have underestimated our understanding of the farmer’s instructions and managed to follow the river downstream for a bit which wasn’t the right way. Then we opted for bush bashing through some nasty scrub for about 45 minutes, which wasn’t the right way either. When we finally found the track, it was a wee bit disappointing to see such a wide 4WD road as all our bushbashing efforts could have been avoided. Someone suggested that variety makes a good tramp which we enthusiastically agreed and kept following the 4WD.
From Gargarus Saddle it was a slow slog to pt1706. We had lunch there and off we went to battle the sharp towers between pt1706 and pt1902. There was a lot of scrambling and it was the hardest part of the tramp. Even though Jiang managed to follow the sharp ridge (she’s a well known CTC mountain goat with cameras hanging off her sleeves), the rest of us ended up dropping down and going around the rocky bits. Just for future reference: if you decide to come up here, take a helmet for these bits, you’ll be happy that you have it.
Going from pt1985 was fairly straightforward and easy. The ridge is very wide there and pleasant to follow. David led us to some scree between pt1832 and pt1634 which was quite epic – not very steep but very looong and our scree runs took around 20 minutes. Going along Boundary Stream was okay, although in high water this would be impassable. We had to cross the stream many many times and the water was sometimes above our knees and quite fast flowing. Once we reached pt709 it was all just flat and easy. On the NZ Topo map there are some cliff markings but the cliffs are not really there or don’t make for any complications. David later said that the last time he came down through the valley between pt1507 and pt1408. This route could have been an easier walk out, or perhaps the scree from pt1587 could have been the easiest but in that case we would have missed all the fun of going along Boundary Stream which was my personal favourite part.
Thanks David for leading, it was a fantastic trip!
Tramped: 6th December 2020
Max elevation: 1985 m
Min elevation: 574 m