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Oates for Breakfast, Canterbury

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Oates for BreakfastIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Mike Steel

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Trail Information






Arthurs Pass

Back country - remote



Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

9:00 (Slow)
7:00 (Moderate)
5:30 (Fast)



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Another fine summer-time alpine circuit at Arthur's Pass, up the Mingha River to Lake Mavis, and back down the Edwards valley from Taruahuna Pass to the start. To add to the adventure you'll climb up Mt Oates (2041 m) via its west ridge, a prominent feature seen clearly from the highway a little north of Klondyke Corner. Mt Oates was named after Captain Lawrence Oates who perished on Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Antarctic expedition, and is best remembered for his final words: "I am just going outside and may be some time".

Starting from near Greyney's shelter, follow the markers (which now lead under the railway line) and follow them down to cross the Bealey River then start up the Mingha valley (mostly on the western side). Note you are doing the last half of the Coast to Coast run here, but in the `wrong direction'. Pick up the track over Dudley Knob (tree roots and occasional slips makes this section a little slow) and head past Mingha Biv and the spectacular Kennedy Falls, after which things open up a bit and you start climbing to Goat Pass (much of it on boardwalk).

Somewhere near the high point on the pass (before you start to drop down to the hut) leave the track and climb directly uphill keeping left on a broad ridge that takes you to the beautiful alpine Lake Mavis. Step across outflow of the lake and head east up grassy slopes and start climbing scree/rock towards a deep (partly hidden behind a large buttress) gully that leads to a col on the west ridge of Mt Oates. At the top of this col join the airy west ridge which provides pleasant rock scrambling (alpine grade 1+) directly to the official summit, with great views en route. The southern summit of Mt Oates is slightly higher but it requires care and time to negotiate the steep traverse down and back up again to it (and return). Instead head north along the main ridge, and descend towards a tarn and slopes leading towards Taruahuna Pass (don't drop straight down from Mt Oates into the Edwards as it is bluffed below). From below Taruahuna Pass you rejoin a track that leads through very scenic open country down-valley to the Edwards hut.

The track then continues on the left of the river before climbing the bush above the river to avoid a waterfall. Once you've dropped back down and passed the Edwards River east branch it's open and easy running in the riverbed and bush section back out to the road.

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Features of interest

Alpine lake, high waterfall, two picturesque valleys, spectacular mountain views.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 30%

Technical Single Track: 20%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Greyney's shelter (about half-way between Klondyke Corner and Arthurs pass) - there is a new parking area and signposted track (which now leads underneath the train line)

    5 km

    5 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    From Lake Mavis don't try and gain the west ridge nearby (low down) - the first bit of the ridge leads to a big drop! Instead (as mentioned in the Detailed Description) head around the lake and up into a gully that leads up to a col. Also from the summit of Oates don't try and drop straight down to the Edwards valley.


    Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map.

    Plenty of water for most of the way (in rivers/streams)

    Only possible in summer when the ridges are clear of snow.
    Also, not possible after heavy rain as the rivers will be too high.
    Good visibility and settled weather is also advised.

  • Post run indulgence

    Sheffield Pie Shop
    best pies ever

  • Blog Posts and Articles
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