These crossing trips all involve travel above the bushline. Make sure that your gear and route-finding abilities reflect the possibility of alpine conditions.
- Severe conditions may be expected at all seasons of the year.
- Winter crossings will need ice axe and perhaps crampons.
- Be prepared to turn back if conditions get too tough – the hills will still be there next weekend and you will be better prepared.
- But don't forget your sunscreen and camera.
Less than 4 hours from Arete to Waingawa.
About 10 minutes NE of Arete is a slight saddle, with the minor rounded knoll 1434 a minute or so beyond. (About 60 minutes from Dundas if you have come from Avalanche Flats). About 20 metres before 1434, drop E down the face to the saddle. A good spur leads over Twins to Bannister, 75 minutes from 1434.
Twenty minutes beyond Bannister is a steep rocky descent on the ridge at (Topo50 BN34 077 863, NZMS260 S25 177 480). A rope is useful for pack or people lowering, or this bluff may be bypassed by dropping down the scrub gully on the Ruamahanga side until level with the saddle and then traversing back to the ridge. Be careful if you choose to throw the packs down the rock-face, for the slopes to both valleys are steep.
The spur that runs to Arete Stream from 1513 offers good travel to Arete Forks, as does the stream draining the next saddle E. About 10 minutes before Waingawa’s summit, the spur leading direct to Arete Forks branches off, see 5.15.
Emergency exit. If forced off this crossing by bad weather, avoid the upper Ruamahanga or Mangahao. Follow down the leading spurs to Arete Creek. See then exits from Northern Crossing above.
Two hours from Bannister should bring the summit of Waingawa. Parts of the ridge over the Bannister – Waingawa section are rocky and descending another face, the bypass suggested above may be repeated.
A fair campsite with a tarn lies to the N of Waingawa’s summit basin, and another one perhaps 5 minutes towards Cattle Ridge.
Less than 15 minutes down from Waingawa the ridge starts to broaden, and before the next slight crest, 1360, is the turn-off to Cow Saddle. This is marked by a small cairn and a slotted standard.
The spur to Cow Saddle is well defined at first and passes through a scrub saddle and over a flattish knob. Not far down from this knob, this route leaves sharply to the L down an indistinct spur, several minutes above bushline, see 5.9. The direct route to Cow Creek Hut follows the primary spur to bush-edge but is not easy to follow down.
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