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Godley Glacier


From Godley Hut
Continued recession of the Godley Glacier and fluctuating lake levels has affected the access around the terminal lake significantly. Conditions change constantly and so a variety of routes should be kept in mind when planning a visit the Godley
Glacier. There are three possible routes.

  1. Travel up the true left side of the terminal lake using a shelf near to the waterline. Check the lake level first. Some parties have become bluffed. Also, significant rockfall hazards exist.
  2. Use the true right side of the terminal lake, but this involves crossing the lake outflow.
  3. Climb up behind the hut to a flatter part of the slope at about 1600m elevation. Traverse at this level, following the valley side all the way to the tarn west of the Trident Glacier. Continue past the tarn to the stream that drains from the Trident. Descend this stream to the Godley Glacier.
    Currently route 1) is considered impassable. Route 3) has been used successfully by a number of parties. During winter access is much improved as the glacier lake is typically frozen.
    The Neish Glacier is the largest tributary to the Godley Glacier and joins about three kilometres up-valley of the terminal lake. The Neish Plateau area is popular with ski touring parties and climbers alike. Those visiting the plateau may need to use tents or snowcaves for accommodation or access the plateau from Godley Hut in winter when the lake is frozen. A number of peaks, with superb views of Westland, can be climbed from the Neish Plateau.
    Once on the Godley Glacier travel up valley turn up the Neish Glacier to negotiate the icefall. The Neish Icefall is often impassable. Instead climb a steep slope to the SW of Sealy Pass and traverse to the middle section of the Neish Glacier. (This traverse is often prone to slab avalanche hazard!). The plateau can also be reached from the Maud Glacier via Maud Pass. Sealy Pass, accessed from the Neish Glacier, allows passage to the West Coast via Scone Creek.
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Alex Palman