Torlesse Traverse Intermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Mike Steel
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Front country - easily accessible
RiversideOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
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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.
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%
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!
Name: Brooksdale Station
Telephone: 03 318 4748
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.
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)
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