Travel on the true left is better, but the true right is needed for some routes. On the true left, follow
the DOC track up to just before the new bridge over the South Branch, about 300 metres up from the
forks, then leave it to continue up the river. A mostly followable marked route, maintained by locals
and hunters, continues on the true left. A little upstream, it ascends a shingle slide and follows the edge
of a high terrace in the bush. Further up, it follows up one side creek, crosses through scrub and rata
forest between side creeks and returns to the South Branch down the side creek that joins the river at
about the 900-metre contour. Continue to good grassy camping on the moraine wall.
On the true right, the Butler River South Branch has a section of big boulders and thick scrub
for several hundred metres, starting on the bend about 1 km up from Top Butler Hut. It is generally
quicker (but not easy) to avoid this section by using creeks and scrub bashing high above the river.
Climb the side creek draining the Nansen Glacier until well above the scrub and sidle up to the head
of the river, going from side creek to side creek, keeping below the bluffs.
Butler River South Branch to upper Gino Watkins and
Climbing peaks between Moffat and Loughnan from the west is challenged by access to the upper
neves. Routes were eventually pushed through in the 1950s, which are climbs in themselves to some
extent. The practicality of access will vary with seasonal snow conditions, and should parties camp
they need to know that descending in bad weather may prove very difficult.
From the Butler River South Branch, ascend the spur on the true right of the lower Gino Watkins
Glacier and cross this west ridge of Cassino Peak at about 2100–2200 metres, followed by a small rock
rib beyond, onto the southern névé of the Nansen Glacier. Alternatively, start looking for a route onto
the Gino Watkins Glacier anywhere from about 2000 metres up. A party that climbed several new
routes from the Nansen in the 1980s described this access as probably the crux of the trip. They headed
past the lake at the end of the lower Gino Watkins Glacier and up the flank of the ridge, to the right of
some prominent slabs. An unpleasant scree slope then led to the ridge, a broad ledge past a rock step,
and easier snow slopes. They abseiled down to the Nansen névé.