Reach the upper Kowhai River by climbing the South Ridge of Mt Saunders to the razorback. Sidle this, and continue to sidle animal tracks through scree and tussock above the river, then descend past ribbonwood to a major stream off the south-west slopes of Mt Saunders. Cross the stream and climb to a prominent ribbonwood flat (O31 593 820 / BT27 493 203), which descends to the river above a 10m waterfall. Cross the river, climb up to a tussock and scrub terrace, and follow this for about 400m till a descent into the open upper valley is possible. Scree can be climbed from the headwaters to a saddle at 2140m on the Uwerau to Manakau ridge. Fair scrambling, occasionally steep, leads to either peak. Considerably longer route than the usual routes.
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Access via KOWAI RIVER