Bealey BlasterIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Mike Steel
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Back country - remote
Native bushRiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
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This circuit conveniently starts and finishes near the Bealey Pub east of Arthur's Pass, with plenty of action along the way to work up a thirst!
Start up the totally runnable, well-groomed track that leads 6km up to the Bealey Spur hut, with Power Stream on your left and the vast expanse of the Waimakariri valley and Arthur's Pass peaks to your right. From here carry on along trails up Hut Spur towards the tops which swing south-west and undulate their way towards a high point (1875m) overlooking Jordan Saddle.
Rather than going that way, continue along the ridge to the high point 1907, with great views, then start the untracked but easy descending traverse east along the top of a ridge that passes a delightful tarn (refreshing!). Power stream is still on your left and Bruce steam is on your right, and the route so far has involved a few bits of minor/easy rock scrambling, and is mostly runnable. Continuing on the top of this ridge, there's a couple of small climbs followed by a sustained descent down the aptly named Blind Spur. This leads into a section of beech forest, which is interesting and easy to move through but be careful to keep to the crest of the spur - there are NO markers, and only a faint ground trail in places, and you are still quite high (take a map and compass).
As you descend through this bush, avoid dropping leftwards towards or into Power Stream. Instead keep on the crest of the ridge. Near the confluence of Power Stream/Bruce stream a faint trail drops off to your right down into Bruce stream (if you want to avoid this bush section there's a scree-slide into the Bruce river higher up Blind Spur). Now follow Bruce stream which is very scenic and has a nice plunge pool at one point. You'll get wet in a few places too. Eventually you pop out on the highway and can repair to the Bealey Pub for some well-earned rehydration.
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Features of interest
Panoramic views of the Arthurs Pass area/Avoca valley
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 50%
Technical Single Track: 15%
Moderate Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 25%
There is a public car parking area by the main highway (73) at Bealey village
The bush section descending Blind Spur requires some care to stay on route (take a map and compass, also check it out visually on the way up Bealey spur).
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Water at Bealey Hut, but after that there's none till you get down into Bruce Stream. Carry plenty of water.
Avoid after rain (Bruce Stream could be tricky in places). Also it's pretty much a fine-weather trip in good visibility, and as a run only between spring and autumn.
Post run indulgence
Beer and chips
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See other runs nearby:
Bealey - Avalanche Traverse
Rome Ridge/Rough Creek Alpine Circuit
Avalanche Peak - Crow River
Coal Pit Spur Loop
Waimak Col (Otira to Klondyke)
The Bloody Limit
Oates for Breakfast
Encompassing Arthur's Pass
Barker's for Brunch
KKK (Klondyke - Kelly - Klondyke)
Poulter River Ranger
Dash, Bash, Splash and Dash Harman Pass
Arthur's Pass Taster