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Strauchon Glacier


This small valley is renowned for outstanding rock climbing on the Dilemma-Unicorn massif. In addition, the lower valley is one of the most beautiful spots in the Mt Cook district. The tussock-covered old moraines and flats are framed by spectacular views of Mt La Perouse, Mt Cook, and the Dilemma group. The crossing of Baker Saddle provides a difficult but satisfying alpine trip.


The quickest route is over Baker Saddle from the Hooker Glacier. There is a short steep snow climb on the east, and easy slopes on the west. Beware of ice avalanches on the west side of the saddle and also wet snow avalanches in the afternoon. The trip over Baker Saddle from Gardiner Hut to the base of the Strauchon Face takes two to four hours. From Douglas Rock Hut, in the Copland Valley, it takes between three and five hours.
From the Copland River below Douglas Rock Hut the lower Strauchon Valley can be reached by crossing the Copland River. Although the crossing is aided by a large vegetated rock island there is a cable across the Copland River, just above the junction with the Strauchon. Alternatively you can do a hideous bush-bash up the true right of the Copland River, from Welcome Flats Hut. Access up the lower Strauchon River however, is too difficult to be worthwhile and the best route is via Jungle Creek (one kilometre downstream from the Strauchon River). Jungle Creek leads onto terraces overlooking the glacier moraines.
There are no huts but there may be bivouac rocks on the terraces.

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A few notes. The upper section of Jungle creek is very good travel once you get there. The face out of the Copland is a bit of a battle on steep ground. The camping on the moraine terraces is very good, but you might have to travel for water later in the season. Getting around the Strauchon lake is very easy. All care should be taken crossing the Copland. The vegeiated rock is not a help, but there is a ford just above it when the river is low. I can not vouch for the status of the cable. Feb 2021

Sun, 28/02/2021 - 12:31 Permalink
Alex Palman