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Torlesse Traverse , Canterbury

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Torlesse Traverse Intermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Mike Steel

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible



Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

7:00 (Slow)
5:30 (Moderate)
4:30 (Fast)



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After dropping the bike/car at the pass, drive back down the hill (east), park, and run up the Kowhai valley track. At the hut, cross the stream and fill up with plenty of water before beginning the sporty ascent straight up the obvious nearby ridgeline towards the summit of Mt Torlesse (2 hours run from the road).

Then commence the long traverse 'run' along the range, crossing over Junction and Red Peaks, after which the ridge narrows. It is possible to stay on the ridge almost all the way to The Gap, with some easy scrambling and one exposed short down-climb. Just before The Gap drop east down a gully and traverse to the Gap, pass through it (north) and climb the northern side back up onto the ridge (directly, or sidle a little further where it's less steep). From here its a straightforward plod up to Castle Peak, then a delightfully exhilarating run most of the way back (there's one short climb up Foggy peak) and down soft scree trails back to the bike/car, for the final 'blow the cobwebs out' descent back to the start.

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Features of interest

Excellent views of the alps and plains, as well as a close-up encounter with the "The Gap" - a prominent feature as viewed from the West Coast highway.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 50%

Technical Single Track: 20%

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Drop a bike or second car on Porter's Pass (1 hour from Christchurch on SH73) and drive back down to the bottom of the hill and park in the spacious parking area by trees and a gate on the north side of the road. The bike doesn't need pedals or a chain, just good brakes!

    38 km

    27 minutes


    Name: Brooksdale Station
    Telephone: 03 318 4748

  • Staying Safe


    A trip for fine weather and good visibility. It is possible to drop off the ridge back to the Kowhai valley at various places if necessary.

    Generally good.

    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, Map.

    No water at all after you leave the valley - take plenty (2 litres) from the stream by the hut.

    Not feasible in winter as a run (under heavy snow). Also, no fun at all in a strong nor-wester, or in thick easterly cloud.
    Take some warm clothes - you're at close to 2000m on an exposed ridge for some time (keeping your feet dry
    at the stream crossing by the hut can help, or perhaps carry plastic bags and/or dry insoles).

  • Post run indulgence

    Sheffield Pie Shop
    Awesome pies! But closes early (4pm)

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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