Three PassesIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Alastair McDowell
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Back country - remote
Point to Point (one way)
Native bushRiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
Not Suitable (Slow)
Styx valley requires river crossings.
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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A classic Arthurs Pass traverse, starting up the Waimakariri Valley, crossing the Southern Alps 3 times via Harman, Whitehorn and Browning Passes.
Should only be attempted during low-moderate river flows as the Waimakariri river must be crossed at least twice in its entirety to reach Carrington Hut, and the Styx river must be crossed at least 3 times.
The terrain is rough and wild, poles are advised for the Whitehorn glacier (useful for probing for any crevasses and for traction, microspikes not required), and the steep Browning Pass.
The route finishes at Lake Kaniere, so either organise a car shuttle or a taxi at the end. Start early!
Features of interest
Multiple crossings of the Southern Alps, beautiful river valleys, wild west coast rivers
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 50%
Technical Single Track: 35%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
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O'Malleys Track, small carpark just before the Waimakariri bridge.
Alternately, start on true left of river at Klondyke corner.
Carpark for up to about 12 cars.
Some route finding required to find best route up Waimakariri river
Tracks on west coast section can be tricky to locate, in particular ascent of Browning Pass, and descending to Harman Hut. Styx river valley has many washed out track sections which require hunting a route around.
More route finding skills required than map navigation.
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, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Best in summer. Possible in spring/autumn but requires low river levels.
Post run indulgence
Fantastic big breakfast
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