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Kokatahi River


Probably no one enters the Kokatahi Valley to go climbing, but there are interesting subalpine tops trips on the ranges either side, and the valley drains a significant section of the Main Divide where there are still pockets of permanent ice.

POINT (171.233425 -42.970366)

Road end to Crawford Junction
From a side road off Upper Kokatahi Road, follow a track on the true right of the river up to the swingbridge, as marked on map sheets J33 and BV19. Permission is required to cross the private farmland here (Terry Sheridan, phone 03 755 7967). The bridge spans an impressive gorge of water-worn bedrock and is worth a visit in its own right. A short sidle then leads to the riverbank at Adamson Creek. Within a hundred metres or so the track climbs from the riverbed on the true left and gains height. En route, streams are crossed and in some cases the marked route goes up them a short distance before climbing out again upstream. Boo Boo Hut (DOC, four bunks) is on a small terrace about 100 metres east of its marked location, with the creek about 20 metres away.
From Boo Boo Hut, the route sidles as marked for a little over a kilometre and then stays high, not dropping as indicated and only sidling down slowly to meet the spur overlooking Pinnacle Creek at about the 500m contour. Marked by tape, it then drops directly down to Pinnacle Creek on an overgrowing old slip face, a good 100m up from the river. The marked route then crosses two eroding spurs before climbing up to the site of Twins Hut (now removed). These narrow spurs can be bypassed at river level between Pinnacle and Meharry Creeks before climbing up to the marked route on to Twins. The track leads towards the river and descends to the Twins bridge. Cross the river to the true right. Upstream, the riverbank is slowly subsiding and the original route is now a dog’s breakfast, parts of which are useful and parts of which have long since been buried in gravel and collapsed trees. It’s all doable without climbing too high, and the last kilometre or so is along the gravel riverbed to Crawford Junction.
Road to Boo Boo Hut, 5 hrs
Boo Boo Hut to Crawford Junction, 6 hrs
Crawford Creek
From Crawford Junction, a maintained track leads up the true left of Crawford Creek to Top Crawford Hut (DOC, four bunks) in a small clearing well above the river, and continues on to finish in the stream bed 500m downstream from Crawford Bivvy (DOC, two person).
Crawford Junction to Crawford Bivvy, 5 hrs
Crawford Junction to Zit Saddle
Above Crawford Junction, the Kokatahi Valley is tracked and followable to Zit Saddle. Top Kokatahi Hut (DOC, four bunks) has been relocated further up the valley, close to where the Kokatahi Bivvy once stood, at the 1060m contour, about 200m up the Kokatahi Valley from the Zit Saddle side creek. To access Zit Saddle, head up the side creek draining the saddle and climb out up to the Toaroha Range following poles onto a bench a couple of hundred metres north of Zit Saddle.
Crawford Junction to Zit Saddle, 9 hrs

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