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Adams River

POINT (170.682735 -43.283329)

Hunters Hut to Adams Flat via the Lambert Tops
Follow the route above to the saddle at I35 259681, then descend to the south and turn west towards Aciphylla Creek. The ridge on the true left of this stream gives good access down to the basin in Aciphylla. (There is a rock bivvy up another branch of Aciphylla at I35 250669). The reason for the name Aciphylla becomes apparent as you continue west out of Aciphylla to the ridge at I35 231673. From there, sidle left into a thin gravel creekbed leading through the scrub. This creek is shown on the map. A fall lower down this creek can be sidled on the true right. From Aciphylla to the Flat is an energetic mix of gravel and steep scrub, but not too bad.
Time. From the basin south east of pt 1443m to Adams Flat, allow about 5 hrs.
Hunters Hut to Adams Flat via Adams River
The track up the Adams River has all but gone and the above route is much the preferable. From the Lambert Bridge, follow the track across the terrace to the Lambert Tops junction. The maintained DOC track continues to the Adams Riverbed near the Adams Lambert Forks. The old permolat line upvalley leaves it and continues across the terrace until directly above the forks of the Adams and the first tributary on the true right I34 268727. Here the permolat leaves the terrace and descends very steep slopes down to the stream/river junction. A slip here means that markers on the way down have been obliterated, but the ground trail remains useable with care, swinging to the left lower down and finishing at the bottom corner of the forks. Alternatively, it is necessary to go almost a km along the terrace before it is practical to descend gravel cliffs along the stream bank.
From the forks follow old permolat steeply up the spur between the stream and the river and sidle on terraces under the 400m contour upvalley in varying bush to return to the river at about I34 250717. (Permolat is likely to be lost on the way, and isnt really worth persisting with). Mostly good river travel on the true right now leads to I34 242712. Above here, bush sidling leads upvalley, and varies in its tediousness. There is a bluff overhang in the bush at the 490m contour I35 238697 that is dry (sleeps 4). Above here, the terrain gets more gnarly, the creeks more incised, that sort of thing. It's all doable, but persistence and care is needed. Generally stay about 100m above the river, except at I35 236686, where it works to cross a stream below forks and climb steeply out upvalley on a spur. Sidle 100m up again before heading for the bottom of the flats. You will truely think you are in Shangri La when you get to Adams Flat and see so much flat land and open going again.
Times: Hunters Hut to Adams Flat, allow at least 2 good days.
Adams Flat to Arethusa Glacier and Garden of Eden via Alpheus Creek
First a little naming history. Although the Adams was named after CW Adams a surveyor from the 1880s rather than Adam and Eve that hasnt stopped some inspired cross naming to go on, from the Garden of Eden itself, to Arethusa, a maiden of Greek mythology pursued to the depths by dark Alpheus. Then there is the Eblis Gorge just below Adams Flats, named by Pascoe after a monarch of the 'spirits of evil' who refused to worship Adam. In one early work Eblis was described as, 'tarnished by malignant vapours and caused the powers of the abyss to tremble'. You wouldn’t want to be next to him in a closed tent after a bad feed.
The route itself begins up the boulderbed of Alpheus Creek then swings left up towards pt 1680m. The route is both steep and complex higher up. Note that the labelled 1100m contour in Alpheus Creek on I35 is actually 1200m.
Head up the true right of Alpheus Creek. Sidle in scrub behind two separate boulders enroute, then further up another short sidle ascends gravel and crosses over a rib through scrub under a boulder back to Alpheus at I35 214664, about 100m upvalley from the sidestream marked on I35. This next gully has a big boulder about 50m up it on the true left. Leave Alpheus and head up this gully.
A small fall a short distance up needs to be climbed and bedrock here is eroding. Packs will need to be lifted up separately. (easy enough). Continue on easier gravel in the stream above to 1130m altitude. Climb out here on the true right following tussock leads in dracophyllum scrub up towards a rib for about 100m before sidling across to the next stream (downvalley) at 1225m altitude. This stream drops away steeply below, but offers reasonable travel in dry conditions uphill on bedrock. Continue up to 1330m and climb out again on the true right up a shallow gully of tussock that leads up to a less steep bouldery tussock rib. Sidle/climb across to the main ridge overlooking Arethusa at about 1540m, I35 213655. Some of this is smooth bedrock, but there are routes through. Sidle/descend to the glacier, being careful to pick a line that will work through onto the ice. That may mean looking further up the ridge.
Time: about 5 hrs up and 3.5 hrs down.
First used as a route (descending) by W (Bill) Hannah, Ray Chapman, A Hemmingsen, H McDowall, 30th Dec 1948

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Yvonne Cook and Geoff Spearpoint,
in association with the Canterbury Mountaineering Club