Bruce Peak was named for Bruce Clark who died in 1984 in a fall on the north face during an alpine rescue practice on the mountain. Bruce was an experienced and talented climber who had contributed much to New Zealand climbing and Search and Rescue. His death starkly illustrated that mountains can be both beautiful and dangerous places.
We had just finished a double rope lower and had packed up the gear, safety line last. It was warmer, the sun had shone for a while and it had stopped snowing. But as we moved to safe ground along a large sloping ledge, a gust of wind blew me off balance and I clutched at the low scrub. Then Chris screamed, 'Bruce, Bruce, Oh my God, Bruce!' and I turned to see a flash of blue fly through the air. Bruce was falling, rolling and tumbling, cartwheeling and turning, like an astronaut on a weightless space walk, only there was no lifeline. Suddenly it was cold again; Bruce was gone.
Simon Cox, New Zealand Alpine Journal, 1985.
The Logan/Main Temple Stream North Branch access route opens the area up for day trips. Allow 3-4 hours to the saddle south of Bruce Peak and another hour to the base of Steeple peak (Weta Prowl etc).
Head up the last major side stream (second major side stream crossed) for 200 metres and enter the beech forest on the true left. Head up the spur in the forest which gradually steepens, avoiding any thick undergrowth on the spur by keeping to the true left. A very short scrub bash brings you to a scrubby knob (see photo). From here climb the bluff directly above moving diagonally right up through subalpine scrub and into a scrub filled gully. Go up the gully onto a spur, then ascend again for 100 metres up and out to the true left onto the tussock ridge. Follow the ridge to its end where there are small open bivy sites for at least 6 people. Running water can be found in the gully on the true left. There is another potential bivy site 150m to the east with a water trickle off a cliff.
From the bivy it is 30 minutes to the col (2000 metres) between Bruce and Steeple Peaks, and all routes on these peaks. Approximately 3 to 3.5 hours from the Temple Shelter to the bivy site.
Alternatively access via Temple Stream South Branch (about 8 hours). See Steeple Peak description.