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Spencer Glacier


This region is relatively inaccessible. It includes the Burton and Spencer glacier systems. Approaches from the West Coast are long and wild. The upper Tasman Glacier provides the quickest approach.


From the Tasman Glacier, Divers Col (Route 7.24) ) or the Walter-Elie Col provides the best access to the upper Spencer Glacier. From Centennial Hut travel to the Geikie Snowfield on the Franz Josef Névé, the most popular route is via the Cerberus Glacier, all the way to the Spencer. Alternatively, follow the Styx Glacier then down a rotten ridge and moraine wall onto the Spencer Glacier. There is no air access allowed into the Spencer; the nearest landing sites are the Geikie Snowfield and Centennial Hut.
To reach the Burton Glacier, descend the Spencer Glacier and climb over the toe of the Burton Ridge of Mt Elie de Beaumont. Alternative routes lie via the Whataroa Valley and Callery Saddle, or up the Callery River onto the Burster Range and via Tatare Saddle. These routes are serious, demanding, and long, requiring some information before they are tackled. If you do go into the Spencer Glacier make sure you take a map and compass as all access routes to the Spencer Glacier are committing.
A number of large bivouac rocks are found on the terraces beside the Callery River just above where it joins the outflow of the Burton Glacier. Searching in the high basins or glacial and river terraces may reveal more bivouac rocks.
From Tasman Saddle Hut over Divers Col to the upper Spencer Glacier takes about 5 hours. From Centennial Hut or the Geikie Snowfield allow 4-6 hours, down the Styx or Cerberus glaciers. The other routes into the Spencer region take a number of days.
An alternative, and better access from the Geikie. DCF Feb 2021 From the knoll 793811 follow a snow ridge down (SE), avoiding the crevases with a short detore to the east and north onto the eastern side of the Styx. After dropping a 100ms head SE onto a solid rock buttress with good ledges which takes you quickly to the Spencer glacier. The lower section can be exposed to icefall, but most of the time you can choose a sheltered route, and travel is easy. This route is recommended over the other alternatives above which are both subject to a high level of rockfall. Photo below

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Type Name
Mountain Mt Elie de Beaumont West Pk
Alex Palman