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.
About 7–8 hours, depending very much on weather.
Northwards: First proceed to Jumbo as in 6.3. Beyond Jumbo the main ridge curves to the NW past a necklace of tarns to Angle Knob, 45 minutes later, and the rounded summit of McGregor 35 minutes further on. McGregor is among the Tararuas' five highest peaks.
A tarn 500 metres N of Angle Knob has a tor immediately alongside. Fifty metres towards McGregor from here, cairns mark the turn-off L to McGregor Biv.
The ridge NE from McGregor is steeper and ill defined, but soon narrows at the Broken Axe Pinnacles before rising again to the Three Kings. The only troublesome Pinnacle is the easternmost: it is now common to bypass it on the south-easternside, where a track is now established.
A small cairned knob on the ridge, some 20 minutes past the Broken Axe Pinnacles, marks the turn-off to Baldy with its long descent to the Atiwhakatu Saddle. This unremarkable knob is beyond a couple of tarns and is where the ridge swings NE from E, just before a patch of bare gravel, 5 minutes before South King. [revised February 2019]
South King, marked by a short iron tube, is a little over an hour from McGregor. Mid King is 20 minutes on, followed by North King in a further half-hour, an unnamed bump and then Adkin, a good 90 minutes from South King.
There is an inspiring campsite by the tarn on Mid King. From Mid King a good spur drops E towards Mitre Flats (be sure to find the track at the bush edge), and from North King a lesser spur carrying an old route drops to the South Mitre headwaters about 600 metres up from Baldy Creek. The whole of the Holdsworth – Mitre ridge is well blessed by water. There are tarns before and after Jumbo, more after Angle Knob, each of the Kings has a tarn close in attendance, the excellent Adkin Saddle tarns, and a small tarn to the NE of the Brockett – Mitre saddle. A note under 5.8 describes a little of North and South Mitre Streams and their falls.
A 20-minute drop from Adkin brings the dependable tarns, followed by a somewhat rocky climb to Girdlestone, a good hour from Adkin. From Girdlestone, 20 minutes brings Brockett; then Mitre an hour from Girdlestone. The face of Mitre is climbed towards its R edge. The route down from Mitre is described in 5.8.
The Holdsworth – Mitre Ridge joins the Northern Crossing in an undistinguished manner, 30 metres before Girdlestone.
Emergency exit. If forced off this traverse by poor weather, do not consider the country to the west. Try any of the leading spurs into the Atiwhakatu or Waingawa Valleys. The eastern streams do not pose any great difficulty, and the waterfall high in Holdsworth Creek is easily bypassed. The streams close to Mitre have waterfalls, and the note in 5.8 may aid.
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