Rangitata & Havelock Rivers

(0 routes)

Type: 
Valley

The eastern Two Thumb Range sits on the true right of the Rangitata River. Significant peaks extend
from Graf Spee, at the head of The Growler (a tributary of the Havelock River), to Mt Caton at the
head of Black Birch Creek.
Havelock River access
A DOC car park exists just beyond Mesopotamia Station and all 2WD cars should be left there. River
conditions permitting, 4WDs can be taken beyond Mesopotamia Station as far as the confluence with
Eric Stream, providing vehicle access to St Winifred Hut and Eric (Agony Island) Bivouac. Contact
the station to get up-to-date river conditions (Malcolm and Sue Prouting, phone 03 696 3738). The
usual route follows a reasonable 4WD track to the vicinity of Carneys Creek and then crosses to the
middle of the riverbed to pick up the track to Curtis Memorial Hut (opposite the Forbes River). From
here the route continues up the true left until opposite St Winifred Hut. A more difficult route also
exists on the true right until Mistake Flats and the Mistake Flats Hut are reached.
The shortest distance to travel on foot leaves from Erewhon Station but in this case the Clyde
River must be crossed. Permission to cross station land should be obtained from Erewhon Station
(Colin and Christine Drummond, phone 03 303 9739) and details left in the intentions book held at

Huts
Dog Kennel Hut (DOC) : A two-person bivvy in Black Birch Stream.
Crooked Spur Hut (DOC) : An eight-person hut in Bush Stream.
Black Mountain Hut (Mesopotamia Station) : Can be booked ; ask the station for permission.

Access: 

The Havelock River catchment provides access to a range of straightforward peaks on the Main
Divide, the Cloudy Peak Range and also the glaciated peaks of the northern Two Thumb Range
including the challenging Mt D’Archiac. The alpine rock climbing on the south-western aspects of
Cloudy Peak is also accessed from the Havelock River.
Many peaks of the eastern Two Thumb Range are best reached from a
camp in North East Gorge Stream, but some of the more prominent peaks such as Alma and The
Thumbs are frequently reached from the Rangitata side via Alma Stream and Black Birch Creek. Alma
Col (2139m) and Cassandra Col (2307m) allow access from the east to the more westerly peaks and
routes.
The eastern Two Thumb Range is generally free of snow in summer and approaches involve relentless
scree slogs to reach the rocky ridges that lead to the summits. Some snow coverage usually provides
nicer access.
The eastern Two Thumb Range sits on the true right of the Rangitata River. Significant peaks extend
from Graf Spee, at the head of The Growler (a tributary of the Havelock River), to Mt Caton at the
head of Black Birch Creek. Many peaks of the eastern Two Thumb Range are best reached from a
camp in North East Gorge Stream, but some of the more prominent peaks such as Alma and The
Thumbs are frequently reached from the Rangitata side via Alma Stream and Black Birch Creek. Alma
Col (2139m) and Cassandra Col (2307m) allow access from the east to the more westerly peaks and
routes.
The eastern Two Thumb Range is generally free of snow in summer and approaches involve relentless
scree slogs to reach the rocky ridges that lead to the summits. Some snow coverage usually provides
nicer access.
See North East Gorge Stream
Huts
Dog Kennel Hut (DOC) : A two-person bivvy in Black Birch Stream.
Crooked Spur Hut (DOC) : An eight-person hut in Bush Stream.
Black Mountain Hut (Mesopotamia Station) : Can be booked ; ask the station for permission.
Several Havelock Valley huts can be used as climbing bases from which to access the wider area. There are no
alpine huts, and high bivvys are often used for climbs of Mt D’Archiac and the more time-consuming
routes on other peaks.
Growler Hut (DOC) : An eight-bunk concrete block hut hidden in matagouri and not visible from the
riverbed, but the old 4WD track leads straight to it.
Forbes Bivouac (DOC) : A standard two-person bivvy in the Forbes Valley, not easily visible from the
riverbed.
Curtis Memorial Hut (DOC) : A four-person hut on the true left of the Havelock River.
Mistake Flats Hut (DOC) : An eight-bunk hut situated at the back of the flats near forest at the confluence
of the Forbes and Havelock Rivers.
St Winifred Hut (CMC) : A nine-bunk hut with a mountain radio and solar lights. It is situated at the
confluence of the Havelock River and St Winifred Stream. Both these watercourses can be difficult
to cross after heavy rain.
Eric Bivouac / Agony Island Bivouac (CMC) : This bivvy is located on Agony Island and is officially
called Eric Bivouac, although it is named Agony Island Bivouac on map sheets 260-I35 / BX18. A basic,
but good, weatherproof shelter, it is not derelict as indicated on those maps. Sleeps four or more on
the floor.
Veil Bivouac (DOC) : A basic two-person bivvy.
Finlay Face Hut, shown on map sheets 260-I35 / BX18, has been destroyed by an avalanche.
Rangitata & Havelock Rivers, access
A DOC car park exists just beyond Mesopotamia Station and all 2WD cars should be left there. River
conditions permitting, 4WDs can be taken beyond Mesopotamia Station as far as the confluence with
Eric Stream, providing vehicle access to St Winifred Hut and Eric (Agony Island) Bivouac. Contact
the station to get up-to-date river conditions (Malcolm and Sue Prouting, phone 03 696 3738). The
usual route follows a reasonable 4WD track to the vicinity of Carneys Creek and then crosses to the
middle of the riverbed to pick up the track to Curtis Memorial Hut (opposite the Forbes River). From
here the route continues up the true left until opposite St Winifred Hut. A more difficult route also
exists on the true right until Mistake Flats and the Mistake Flats Hut are reached.
The shortest distance to travel on foot leaves from Erewhon Station but in this case the Clyde
River must be crossed. Permission to cross station land should be obtained from Erewhon Station
(Colin and Christine Drummond, phone 03 303 9739) and details left in the intentions book held at the homestead. Cross the Clyde River – always swift, prone to flooding and very seldom an easy crossing
– and follow the north bank of the Havelock River until Freezing Point. Cross the river here to
reach Mistake Flats Hut. If travelling further upstream, stay on the true left until opposite St Winifred
Stream and cross somewhere here to reach St Winifred Stream and hut.
If walking upstream from Mistake Flats, cross to the true left of the Havelock River to avoid a twokilometre
section on the true right where the river abuts scrubby bluffs. Re-cross the river opposite St
Winifred Stream to access St Winifred Stream and hut. If it is not possible to cross at Mistake Flats,
a route exists in bush on the true right above the river, but it is airy in places with steep scrubby guts
at the St Winifred Hut end.
Travel further upstream beyond St Winifred Hut and Eric / Agony Island Bivouac involves passing
above a long shallow gorge north of Veil Bivouac before the headwaters are reached but is generally
straightforward. At the head of the valley, Disappointment Saddle provides access to peaks to the
north and the Gardens of Eden and Allah.
Bush Stream
There is a marked DOC tramping route up Bush Stream, which provides partial access to straightforward
climbs of Mt Caton, Pt 2303 metres and Mt Pattison.

NZMS260: 
J36 414 316
Topo50: 
BX18 314 700
Attribution: 
Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint, in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club
This place appears in: 
The Canterbury Westland Alps: a climbing and transalpine guide

Places

Actions
Valley Black Birch Creek (0 routes)
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Valley The Growler (0 routes)
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Valley Carneys Creek (0 routes)
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Valley Forbes River (0 routes)
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