Kelly TopsBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Katie Smith
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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This is an out-and-back run with a small loop around the tops to take in the best views. Start from the carpark following signs to Carroll Hut (not up Hunts Creek). You hop across a side creek flowing into the Kelly River early on, then follow its spur up, up and up. The climb is fairly constant, steepening in the middle before some slight respite as you break out of the bush and sidle around above the head of a creek. Have a look at the waterfall here.
The track then pops up into tussock shortly before you reach Carroll Hut. From here the track becomes a poled route climbing up between tarns. Kelly Hill with its radio tower is visible on the right. The track heads left instead onto the main Kelly Range. Above the hut the gradient is much more runnable. Eventually you crest the top just below point 1385 and can see two tarns (the third and fourth are initially hidden). The poled route continues on the right, but instead cut down the bench between the two large tarns. Go around the one on the left, aiming for the ridge edge which looks down into Kelleys Creek. You can see Carroll Hut from here. Climb back along this edge aiming again for point 1385, then when you see the poled route you came up head back down to join it. From here follow the track back the way you came.
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Features of interest
Stunning views, keas, flowering alpine plants, great rata in the right season
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 60%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Turn off up the unmarked gravel road at Kelly Creek and park in the DoC carpark 100m up the road.
Plenty of parking - don't leave valuables in the car though.
If not confident with the untracked loop portion described, stay on the track for an out-and-back
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Water available from several creeks and tarns, and from Carroll Hut
Very exposed on the tops, can be cold even in summer. Expect snow through the winter.
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See other runs nearby:
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Rome Ridge/Rough Creek Alpine Circuit
Avalanche Peak - Crow River
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