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Craigieburn Tops, Canterbury

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Craigieburn TopsIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Emily Oliver

Info Info

Trail Information

25.00km

1650m

1650m

 

Canterbury

Castle Hill Village

Back country - remote

Loop

Mountainous

Native bush
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
6:00 (Moderate)
4:00 (Fast)

-14.6%

+15.1%

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Description

Only take this route if you are confident on scree!

Start with a cruisy warm-up along Dracophyllum Flat Track for just over 3 km. Look out for the turn-off to Cuckoo Creek Track on your right and head straight uphill for about 2 km until the track joins Mt Cheeseman Skifield Road. A bit of a slog up the gravel road, or cut the switchbacks by scrambling straight up.

The road ends at the lodge, so find your way up the gravel slopes of Mt Cheeseman Skifield (follow the ski lifts) until you get to the top, where you'll see a sign for Mt Cockayne. Turn right and head along the ridgeline, lots of scree sliding and scrambling fun. The ridge is very exposed and dangerous in windy conditions, play it safe if you're unsure.

You'll be on the ridgeline for about 6 km. Follow your nose over a couple of peaks towards Broken River Skifield, pass the top of the ski lifts at Nervous Knob, then it's a climb to Hamilton Peak, the highest point at 1920m. There's a bit of track to follow from the knob but it soon disappears. Over the peak is Craigieburn Skifield. Leave the ridge and follow your nose down the skifield slopes towards the Whakamaru Day Lodge, then down the access road for a couple of switchbacks, looking out for the start of Craigieburn Edge Track heading right.

It's off the road and into native bush along this track, which sidles along the contour line for some great stretch-out running after all the scree scrambling! About 3.5 km you'll meet the Lyndon Saddle Track - leave the Edge Track and take the Lyndon Saddle Track uphill until you meet a trail junction (where you can do an out-and-back detour up to the top of Helicopter Hill if you're extra keen). From there, blast down The Luge until you hit the Broken River Skifield Road. Turn right and it's about half a km up the road until you're back to the car.


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Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 25%

Moderate Single Track: 60%

Gravel Road: 15%


Route Data

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Wild Explorers

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  • Access

    From SH 73, head up Broken River Ski Area Road until you reach an intersection with the access road to the Environmental Education Centre, where the Dracophyllum Flat Track starts.

    Park on the edge of the gravel road leading towards the Environmental Education Centre.

    11 km

    15 minutes

    No

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Hard.

    Patchy.

    Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.

    No water on route, carry everything you'll need.

    Snow-covered in winter. Snow on the ridge possible any time of year, check weather forecast and be prepared. Exposed to cold winds on tops at any time of year.

    Scree slopes

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