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Poerua River


The Poerua is a remote and untracked valley that leaves the ranges through a very rugged gorge. Consequently, the upper valley is accessed over the Wilberg Range from the road. Creeks indicated below then lead down to the Wilberg branch of the Poerua River. This valley is sometimes combined with the ranges on either side to create wild and challenging transalpine trips that require good weather and skills. The Adams Range on the true left and the Wilberg Range on the true right meet at Mt Kensington, an outpost peak on the fringes of the Gardens, at the head of the valley.

POINT (170.586691 -43.272206)
BW17 042 061

Wilberg River (North Poerua)
From the Poerua Junction, the Wilberg River can be traversed on river boulders and low bush sidles pretty much all the way to the North Poerua Glacier, crossing as required. The glacier then gives access to the Wilberg Range overlooking Alpheus Creek.
Time: Allow about 3 hours up to Exit Creek from the Poerua Junction and another 4 hours up to the glacier in good conditions
Main (South) Poerua Valley above the forks
There are gravel flats on both sides of the river at the Poerua Wilberg Forks. Much of the travel upvalley can be done in the riverbed, but there are two relatively straight forward gorges to sidle. Sidle the first one, beginning 300m above the forks, on the true right. The second begins at I35 140679, where the true left has been used but the true right may be better. At the major intersection of three creeks, travel is easy again on river gravel in the branch described under 'Barlow Saddle'.
Time: Allow about 3 hours from the Wilberg Poerua forks to here. See Barlow Saddle for access to the Adams Range and crossing to the Barlow.

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