Little Mount PeelIntermediate
Submitted by Giles Fairbrother
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
This route is part of the Further Faster Canterbury Hills Collection
This is a very steady and rewarding grunt right from the start. Expect to lose some gravy even on a cold day! Once loaded up with something to drink - I recommend at least a litre to get to the top and something to graze on - it is a slog up the road for 400m to the start of the DOC track. There is water at the top but do not rely on it.
Stay on Deer Spur to reach the summit of Little Mount Peel. Beautiful native bush surrounds you for the first 2/3 of the climb. Very nice on a hot day! The track has a few minutes of easy gradient before relentless up - approx 200m per kilometer. You will pass a turn off to Allans track - a good loop to do also but keep on the main track. This is the only turn off on the entire track. There is a tarn approximately 1/3 of the way up but in recent years is more of a muddy hole. Nearly out of the bush you reach a seat -don't be tempted! you are a runner and seats are for walkers and on the way down only!! This is pretty much exactly halfway time-wise. Not long after getting in the open you hit boardwalk. This comes and goes right to the last push to the summit which is more technical single track and I defy anyone to run it as it is more of a tramp-clamber up the rocky chute in and around rocks and other minor obstacles. Long legs are a blessing here.
The final clamber onto the top ridge is relieving and it is compulsory to break in to a jog up the final stretch if you can retain your lungs from exploding. Reach the summit and have a breather at the trig (usually collapse against it.) Enjoy the 360 degree views similar to that of Mount Roy in Wanaka with the Southern Alps being slightly further away, but coastal views stretching from Dunedin to Akaroa.
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Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 20%
Moderate Single Track: 45%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Gravel Road: 5%
Coming from south Turn left off SH1 onto SH72 inland scenic route. Follow this until you get through Geraldine and cross the Orari River then take the left turn off to Peel Forest. Follow through the Peel Forest township - several kilometeres up the road and take the left turn onto Blandswood Road. Take the next right onto Lookout Road and arrive at DOC carpark.
There is parking for 20 cars easily and would fit up to 50 very well organised cars.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Water tank at the summit - by the hut. Generally reliable but does dry out in summer due to the popularity of the track and people not taking sufficient water of their own. You should take an amount of water you would expect to drink climbing a vertical kilometer over 5km and returning. 1-2 litres I recommend depending on your thirst requirements and the weather. Personally I can make it up on a couple of sips in cold damp weather but will drink a 750ml bottle easily other days on the way up. There are no streams to drink from on the entire trip without severe bushwhacking.
Mud is common most of the year, especially winter, as the track acts as a drain for the mountain. Ice gets tricky in winter mainly above the bushline when the mud freezes and on the rocks especially dodgey. Just be aware if its frosty it will be slippery and some trail spikes would go a long way in winter - something I have never owned.
Post run indulgence
Peel forest Pub
Good craft beers and wedges
The first dairy you get to heading back into geraldine
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