This is currently the recommended route to Welcome Pass, as it avoids the waterfalls of the Scott Creek Route and involves a pleasant variety of bush, tussock, rock, and snow travel. A route has been cut and marked all the way from Scott Creek to the bushline. It was easy to follow in early 2016, but vegetation grows fast in Westland and regular use and cutting of this track will be required for travel to remain easy. (Perhaps consider donating an old pair of loppers to the cause – they’re more useful than a saw.)
Care should be taken to find the beginning of the route. It begins on a bush-covered terrace 20m above Scott Creek on the true right bank, at about 580m, where a small stream (shown on the topomap) flows across the terrace. This is referred to here as ‘Point A’ and is roughly located at about BX15 563 631.
Access to Point A from the Scott Creek bed varies seasonally due to massive avalanches in winter and spring that modify the shape of the creek bed and its high, steep bank. Currently, the best access begins from a small open terrace 200m further upstream at about 600m – pink flagging tape has been used to mark the short route from here to Point A.
From Point A, on the true right of the side stream, the route climbs steeply, veering away from the stream with increasing height. Stick to the marked route. Good travel up through rata/podocarp forest, and then mountain neinei/dracophyllum forest leads to the bushline at 1080m. At 1140m, there’s a two-minute detour to a spectacular viewpoint over the Bluewater basin. The marked route continues to the top of the scrub at 1260m [BX15 574 623].
From the top of the marked route, head on a bearing towards Splinter Peak for 200m to reach a large boulder at 1300m [BX15 573 622]. From the boulder, climb south-east up through tussock then follow animal trails along the base of the prominent cliffs. This leads to the final basin below the saddle between Pt 1800m and Pt 1784m (Bluewater Saddle), which is reached via gravel slopes and rock ledges.
From Bluewater Saddle, drop 20m on the Tekano side, and then traverse and climb back onto the ridge south of Pt 1800m. Follow this ridge south for about one kilometre, and then ascend on a rising traverse across the Tekano névé – watch for crevasses and soft afternoon snow – to Welcome Pass.
In the reverse direction: when descending below the bluffs, if you overshoot the large boulder at 1300m [BX15 573 622], you should encounter an old slip with regenerating scrub which leads into the stream marked on the map beginning at about BX15 572 624. This can be followed down to about 860m, where there is a short section of pink tape that leads away from the stream back to the main Bluewater Route. There is a small flat in this stream at about 900m which is large enough for one tent.
The Bluewater Route through the bush has been used by hunters for some time. The first recorded use of the full route as a descent from Welcome Pass was by Danilo Hegg and George O’Sullivan, Jan 2010. The first recorded climb of Mt Sefton using this route was by Nina Dickerhof and James Thornton in Nov 2015