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Perth River

Part of

Often used as a route out of the Garden snow plateaus, the Perth is a big river in its own right and longer than the river it feeds into, the Whataroa. A major tributary, the Barlow, is the epitome of wilderness and seldom travelled. A track leads up the Perth to Scone Creek Hut and a swingbridge across the Perth a short distance beyond. All tracks cease here, and travel up valley is on the riverbed or bushbashing, depending on conditions. Sealy Pass, the northern slopes of the Butler Range, Stewart Saddle and Main Divide peaks north of it where the peaks are not particularly difficult but access is, all offer great transalpine and climbing trips. As does The Great Unknown.

POINT (170.510645 -43.345842)
BW17 982 978

Whataroa to Scone Creek
From the swingbridge over the Whataroa, the track up the Perth climbs to a forested terrace, following the boggy line of the old cattle track. It descends to the Perth at Hughes Creek. Historic Nolans Hut offers somewhere dry to stay just beyond, but expect basic. Maintained to a marked route standard, the track continues upvalley to Scone Hut (6 bunk), then over the Scone Creek bridge to a second bridge over the Perth itself giving access to Redfield Creek and The Great Unknown. All tracks cease here.
Time: 7 hrs
Scone Creek to the upper Perth
The true left is used. Travel varies considerably, depending on river levels. Use gravel and boulder beaches as much as possible, as the bush is scrubby and slow. Prospectors Creek can be difficult to cross. There is a reasonable option where this stream splits into two at the 600m contour. Shingle offers better travel in the riverbed around Teichelmann and Tainui Creeks. Cut the corner on the 600m terrace above Teichelmann, descending to near river level again near Tarn Creek. Above Adverse Creek, use the slip marked on the true left of the Perth and go around the south side of the last patch of scrub marked in the valley to the flats. Good campsites and open travel exist to the head of the Perth now. Normally, the river is easily crossed on these flats.
Time: Scone Creek Hut to the head of the Perth, 5–9 hrs depending on conditions.
Adverse Creek to the Garden of Eden
In low to average flows, crossing the Perth is practical near the Junction with Adverse Creek. Follow up the true left of Adverse to tussock and low scrub slopes. Continue sidling up on slopes above the stream until it flattens off just above the 1000m contour. The stony basin can now be followed up around to the north. Climb out in the head on the true left of the valley to reach the Gardens at about I35 163617. Adverse Creek was named by Pascoe's party in about 1935.
Time: allow about 7 hrs up and 5 hrs down.
Eves Rib to the Garden of Eden
This is a direct but relatively steep route on loose gravel and rock, and care will be needed. Higher up, snowslopes east of the ridge offer the most practical route, reaching the lip of the Garden approx 500m east of pt 2007m. Pt 2007 can also be approached, but rock is loose leading up to the knoll itself, and the descent directly north to the Garden is on good rock but a little scrambling and routefinding will be necessary.
Perth Glacier to the Garden of Eden
The Perth Valley and glacier itself can be used as a direct route to Perth Col, depending on conditions. Early in the summer, enough snow may lie on the glacier to follow it directly, as it feeds into the head of the valley slightly from the true right. More likely, from the valley floor begin on the true left of this ice tongue under bluffs and continue up gravel in a steep rocky gully ahead between bluffs that also has a cowlick of ice feeding into it from the shelf above. Rock is loose here and some scrambling will be required. Old snow cover would help. Gravel slopes under the cowlick lead up climbers left, onto a shoulder above the bluffs where the ice can be accessed again, at I35 244608.
Descending, sidle onto a gravel shoulder above bluffs where the ice finishes on the true left of the main glacier and above bluffs at I35 244608. Sidle diagonally on down to the left through the bluffs over gravel and bedrock into a small eroding gully that quickly leads to gravel slopes and the valley floor. Watch for loose rocks.
Bettison Stream
A marked track leads from the true right of Scone Creek as shown on I35 to the bushline on the true right of Bettison Stream. Here, cairns on open scree lead past scrub to the tussock. Sidle upvalley at about 1200m until reasonable travel in the stream below appears at about I35 153541, then follow up the stream.

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