Upper Waimakariri River

(1 route)

Beyond Carrington Hut


TO UPPER WAIMAKARIRI RIVER (Waimakariri Col) Cross the White River near the Waimakariri junction and travel upstream on the true right bank of the Waimakariri River, at first in the river-bed, but shortly entering the bush on a well defined track. The route continues on the true right bank, crossing Campbell Creek in a little over an hour, then turning east towards the gorge at the base of Waimakariri Falls. From here a rough track (staked, and cairned) climbs steeply through low dense shrub on the true right side to the footbridge below rock cliffs. Ford the river or cross the swing bridge (an interesting approach) and follow the trail to Waimakariri Falls Hut (3 hours from Carrington Hut). For those travelling to Mt Rolleston (access off the glacier running from the north-west ridge), head towards the prominent gorge on the true left of the river visible from the hut. When just below the break, cross the river (to true right) and follow a series of scree slopes up diagonally providing a negotiable route around the ravine. Beware of avalanche danger from the ridge running northeast of Carrington Peak. In very low water it is possible to negotiate the ravine using a succession of ramps in the gorge. It is much easier going downstream than up. Once above the gorge move eastward towards Mt Rolleston, or if heading to Waimakariri Col continue towards the head of the valley sidling slowly towards the bluffs to the west. About 90m below the ridge turn west and sidle for about 25 minutes (passing a low rocky peak on the ridge running west from Mt Rolleston) to the flat saddle where this ridge disappears under the glacier below Mt Armstrong. Note : Under winter conditions the route to Waimakariri Falls Hut tends to be difficult to traverse, and find, due to deep snow. Another option (though possibly more difficult) under these conditions is to come in via the Rolleston River from Otira. In good conditions this can take in excess of 7 hours.

Reference Title Grade Length Quality Bolts Gone Natural pro Link to edit content
Map K33 Waimakariri Falls Hut (6 bunks, Canterbury Mountaineering Club) is in a spectacular basin, but this is an avalanche-prone place, and a long walk in. Consult Arthur’s Pass DoC staff about avalanche danger and Waimakariri river levels before setting off. There is possibility for an adventurous trip on some nice ski terrain through Campbell Pass, accessed via the upper Waimakariri. At the head of Gorgy Creek there is a tarn near point 1556 where a spectacular camp might be made. By climbing to the head of the basin, one may sidle through the upper Hunt’s Creek underneath the west ridge of Mt Armstrong. After climbing through a col between Mt Armstrong and Anderson Peak, Lake Florence may be reached on skis. Ski mountaineers could continue to traverse the Barron Range over Mt Barron and descend to Otira.


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Pass Waimakariri Col (0 routes)