It is not difficult to gain an appreciation of the scale of the mountains in the Upper Hollyford. As you drive down from the Divide you are confronted with the Marian Valley and the distant dark walls of Sabre and Marian. Once in the valley the road curves round the oppressive walls of Mt Christina, one of the highest peaks in the range till the valley opens to give views of the peaks round the Homer Hut area. THE LOWER HOLLYFORD The Lower Hollyford includes the mountains at the head of Glacier and Stick-Up Creeks, the Donne Glacier and the Kaipo River. In recent years many routes once approached from the Hollyford valley have been accessed largely by choppering onto the Ngapunatoru Plateau.
The mountains surrounding the Upper Hollyford Valley were the first to be extensively climbed due to their proximity to Homer Hut and the Milford Road. The valley itself was at one time an overland link between Milford Sound and the Wakatipu (Queenstown) region, crossing to the Milford side via the Grave Talbot Pass. The completion of the Homer Tunnel in 1954 made access to these mountains less of an issue, and from the 1960s to the present day a mass of classic rock and alpine routes have been completed, all within a few hours’ walk from Homer Hut.
This area encompasses Mts Belle, Moir and its satellite peaks of Moir’s Mate and the Mate’s Little Brother, Macpherson, Talbot, Barrier and Crosscut. Of all the rock in the Upper Hollyford Valley the Moir region has become the most popular with technical rock routes up to six pitches in length, dramatic views westward down the Cleddau Valley and high exposure.
Recommended adventures from Homer Hut
Not including all the classic ridge climbs in the region there are a couple of classic traverses which have become popular for climbers with a day spare and a window of fine weather.
Macpherson Talbot traverse: climb to Homer Saddle then over Mt Macpherson and onto Traverse Pass, which gives access to the summit of Talbot. From Traverse Pass it is a short descent to Gertrude Valley and the valley floor. Times vary depending on conditions and experience but parties normally complete this traverse in six to eight hours.
Crosscut Barrier traverse: from the Crosscut bluffs beside Homer Hut head up and onto the snowfield continuing along to the West Peak of Crosscut; loose scrambling to grade 8 or 9 on the ridge. Traverse past the Central Peak of Crosscut then down climb the North Ridge to the Barrier Crosscut Col; grade 10 and solid rock. From the Col ascend the South Ridge of Barrier then along to Barrier Knob before descending to Gertrude Saddle. 12-14hrs return.