Mt Somers - Over the Top V1Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Steel
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/topsVolcanic
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The route combines a variety of tracks plus a short off-trail section and takes in the summit of Mt Somers.
From Woolshed Creek head up the steep Rhyolite Track and traverse along, then take the South Face track which undulates through open tussock, streams and bush sections. At the signposted turnoff take the Mt Somers summit track for a grunty climb up to the summit ridge. Pleasant running along the airy ridge top to the summit.
After taking in the views, head down open gentle tussock slopes (no trail) north-west for 1.5 km (staying near the northern edge of the flat wide ridge) till you can see a clear route (mostly a step wide screeslope, but some minor rock near the top) down to the col which is the highpoint of the Mt Somers walkway. Now you're on the popular and cruisy Mt Sommer walkway - follow it to Woolshed Creek hut, and then back to the car.
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Features of interest
Interesting volcanic features (basalt columns etc) and old mine workings passed en route. Good views of Mt Cook, D'Archiac and Alps from the summit on a clear day.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 70%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Woolshed Creek carpark, end of Jig Road (inland from Mt Somers township, about 1.5 hours South-West of Christchurch)
Plenty of parking at car park.
The section from the summit back down to the Mt Somers walkway requires some navigation skills, especially if cloudy (i.e. map+compass handy). Don't head straight down (north) from Mt Somers - there's some serious bluffs below.
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.
Water at Woolshed Creek carpark and hut. Streams on south side should be fine to drink.
In winter, Mt Sommers often is coated in snow, which can be hard (i.e. requiring crampons).
Post run indulgence
Classic old-style country store with great food and atmosphere.
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See other runs nearby:
Mt Somers Woolshed Loop
Mt Somers - Round The Mountain
Lake Camp and Clearwater Loop
Trails and Tribulations
Lake Lilian Track
Browning Pass - Southern Alps Crossing
The Southern Pinnacles
Mt. Taylor Dual
Aamped and Clomped
Hakatere Shoe Washer
Mount Somers Summit Loop via Pinnacles Hut