Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Oates for Breakfast

Arthurs Pass, Canterbury

Submitted by Mike Steel

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 65 ?

Gnarl Factor: 71 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote



Native bush



Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

This trail includes the peak Mount Oates.

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

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5 km

5 minutes




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.

Sheffield Pie Shop
best pies ever

You and Oates for Breakfast

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Trail Reviews

Excellent adventure. We hiked this trail rather than ran, although we ran a little out of the Edward's valley to beat darkness. Took us 13 hours. We did take our boots off for the ~6 river crossings on the way up, and the ~5 on the way down. We also down climbed and up climbed to the higher Mt Oates peak which we enjoyed. We followed the advise in Nick's review and kept true left (orientation when looking downstream) on the way down, crossing the creek just below the tarn and skirting the ravines. note -someone has built cairns to mark the route to the Taruahuna pass, not always easy to spot but there. Another route note would be that when we exited Oates North along the ridge there are a number of buttresses to climb over. We were happy enough until we got to the last upclimb before the 1978m peak. We cut down the scree on the right side at this point and sidled around and up and over the ridge on the otherside of the peak because we did not want to do the upclimb at the 1978m peak. Looking at the topo now I wonder if cutting down the left side would have been shorter - if someone does that please comment.

Dave Rentoul

February 29

After reviewing my path, this path, and someone else's path they'd been recommended, I think you need to get onto the true left of the stream down to the pads a lot earlier than suggested on this map, ie at the level of the tarn.

Nick Begg

December 28, 2022

Some very steep grass descending toward the Taruahuna pass, unless we took the wrong route down (this was true right of the creek, whereas this route implies true left).

Nick Begg

April 25, 2022

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