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Wilkin River

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I consider the name “Kuri’’ (the dog) for a not unattractive peak to be ill-chosen and unromantic, but there may be some justification for Awful and Dreadful. I am unaware who thought up these names, but they were given many years ago, at a time when these words had a meaning very different from their usage in the slang of today, and I feel they were given in all sincerity, the one solemnly impressive, inspiring awe; the other awe-inspiring. It is possible they have impressed to this degree those who have been privileged to look upon them.
– Eric Miller, 1945
The mountains to the north of Mt Aspiring are fantastic. The approaches to Mts Alba, Castor, Pollux, and Mt Awful are a mirror image of the Aspiring peaks, in that they are approached up similar braided river valleys. However there are no alpine huts or glaciers on the scale of the Volta or Bonar glaciers, and most of the mountains are attempted from a bivvy. This is an area where trampers abound but mountaineers are thin on the ground.
Many of the smaller peaks have had very few ascents since they were first climbed.
The peaks are generally grouped together around the valleys they are commonly climbed from. But because peaks are situated on the Main Divide, where ascents have been made from the west they are noted in the text.


Road access to the mountains to the north of Mt Aspiring is via the Wanaka–Haast highway (state highway 6). Makarora township, 80 kilometres from Wanaka, has a café, DoC centre and accommodation. Jet boat or plane access can be arranged for a quick trip to the upper Wilkin Valley: jetboats at Makarora Tourist Centre, Makarora (03 443-8372) and a light plane can be used to fly into Jumboland, the upper Wilkin and Siberia.
The Wilkin and Young Valleys are tributaries of the Makarora and give access to Mts Alba, Awful, Castor and Pollux.
Useful Links
The valley huts that are present are owned and managed by DoC and a hut ticket or pass is necessary to stay in them. Alternatively, fees can be paid at any DoC office. Hut wardens are in attendance during the summer at Top Forks, Siberia and Young Huts.
Kerin Forks Hut
This hut can be found at the bush edge on the true right of the Wilkin River. It sleeps 10 and has a coal stove. 5–6 hours from the Makarora confluence.
Top Forks Hut
Located in the Upper Wilkin, beyond Jumboland Flat, Top Forks hut sleeps 10 and has a coal stove. It provides access to Mts Castor and Pollux.
Siberia Hut
Siberia Hut sleeps 20 and has a potbelly stove. It is handily located near an airstrip and it is possible to fly directly in from Makarora, though this idea may be abhorrent to some. Siberia Hut provides a base for climbs of Mt Alba.
Young Hut
Situated near the bushline below Gillespie Pass in the Young Basin. Young Hut sleeps 10. Used as a base for climbs on Mt Awful.

Add Place Add Route


Type Name
Mountain Mt Alba
Mountain Pt 2151
Mountain Iphigenia
Mountain Mt Perseus


Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
Wilkin River Dark Side of the Moon 26 305m 18