Cleft Creek

(0 routes)


Cleft Creek to Lake Turner
The first and obvious challenge is to ford the Hollyford River. When low it is possible to cross where the Hollyford Track meets the river, just below the Chasm Creek confluence. It’s reasonable bush travel across to join Cleft Creek at about the 80m contour. If approaching along the west bank above Chasm Creek follow Chasm Creek a short distance before cutting through the level bush toward Cleft Creek at the start of the gorge. Climb steep bush on the true left staying near to and parallel to the stream; a bivvy rock is located on a small terrace in the bush. Ascend the spur beside the gorge and drop to river terraces leading to open river flats. There is a reasonable four person bivvy at the start of the flats in Cleft Creek below the fan from the Cleft, on grassy flats near the river. The bivvy can be reached in a long day from the Hollyford
The upper cleft offers the only way out of the valley. Climb the rock gully until a ledge leads left to some steep tussock slopes with a rock rib at the top. Follow terraces around to the outlet of Lake Turner.
Alternative access routes into Lake Turner at the head of Cleft Creek
Although a few routes into the Lake Turner region are outlined the most commonly used is that from Turners Bivvy over Tarewai, due to its slightly less epic nature.
Te Puoho Glacier to Lake Turner
Ascend the slopes to Karetai Col, then drop down Lindsay’s Ledges (refer Karetai Col).
Turners Bivvy to Lake Turner
From Turners Bivvy climb up onto a broad snow/rock terrace under the west faces of Syme and then Milne to the Milne Tarewai Col. Ascend the North Ridge of Tarewai to the summit then descend the South Ridge to snow-slopes which lead to Pikipari Pass. Descend to the terraces level with Lake Turner, tending right as you lose height.
Donne River to Lake Turner via Taoka Icefall
Follow the Grave-Talbot Track for 45 minutes until it turns south up the Esperance Valley. Cross the river then head into dense bush up the Donne Valley. The bush thins out to tussock towards the head of the cirque. The Taoka Icefall cuts across the lower face of Karetai; ascend this to Patuki Col. The route below the icefall may present severe hazards and the icefall can become extremely broken late in the season.
Bivvy Sites in the Lake Turner region
There is a small overhanging rock near the outlet of Lake Turner, but it provides little shelter and will flood in heavy rain. A bivvy cave known as Turner’s Eyrie can be found 200m up from Patuki Col on the northern slopes of Karetai beside the West Ridge. This large dry rock overhang on the northern slopes of Karetai was discovered by Dave Vass and Rich Turner. It is approached from tussock ledges which slant left from Patuki Col. Climb towards Karetai, then tend left to gain a very exposed ledge which leads across the top of the wall, with an overhang above. The cave is some 50m along the ledge.

Craig Jefferies


Type Title Link to edit content
Mountain Karetai Pk (34 routes)
Mountain Mt Te Wera (9 routes)
Mountain Mt Patuki (11 routes)
Mountain Ngaitahu Pk (3 routes)
Mountain Mt Waitiri (2 routes)
Mountain Mt Makere (4 routes)
Pass Pakihaukea Pass (1 route)
Mountain Mt Tarewai (3 routes)
Mountain Mt Milne (7 routes)
Pass Milne-Tarewai Col (0 routes)
Pass Karetai Col (1 route)
Pass Patuki Col (0 routes)
Pass Pikipari Pass (0 routes)