Mt Somers - Round The MountainIntermediate
Submitted by Mal Law
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
Can be run in either direction to qualify for FKTs
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This route is part of the Scott Gnarly Collection
This is a very technical run that could be tackled in either direction. This guide describes the clockwise option.
Starting from the Sharplin Falls car park take Mt Somers Track entrance closest to the toilet block (signposted 'Mt Somers Summit 5 hrs')
You go straight into a steep climb through beech forest on moderate - technical trail. This climb continues with few breaks, but increasingly open views, for some 3.5k until the junction with the Summit Track is reached (stay left)
The descent to Acland Shelter (at about 6k - not marked on my topo map) is rooty & technical and can get very muddy. Beyond the trail remains mostly quite technical, sidling under the southern flanks of Mt Somers before climbing to the junction with the Rhyolite Track at about the 10k mark (stay right)
The following few kms are fascinating. At first the trail eases a little but then gets stuck into a sharp climb past the infamous Mt Somers 'Bus Stop' and under rhyolite cliffs before starting the long, technical descent to Woolshed Creek. Just before crossing the creek there's a worthwhile 2 min detour to the waterfall.
On the far side of Waterfall Creek you'll climb and descend, then cross a spectacular swing bridge, before reaching the DOC hut on the far side of a small creek - a good place to take a break on the shaded verandah on a hot day. Re-cross the creek in front of the hut and turn left up the hill to continue on the Mt Somers Track.
The next few kms are uphill and exposed so if it's hot make sure you fill up on water before leaving the hut. The climb to the highest point on the trail (1180m) is at first on easier trail but it gets progressively more technical the higher you go, becoming very rocky towards the top. The technical nature of the trail doesn't let up from here until almost the very end of the run.
Just after re-entering beech forest you'll reach Pinnacles Hut and then continue the descent on steep, rough trail into the Bowers Stream. Over the final few kms the trail climbs in and out of the stream bed before one last sting-in-the-tail climb and final descent. Only 500m from the end, at the junction with the Sharplin Falls Track (currently closed upstream from here) does the going get easier, gifting you a few hundred metres of gravelled trail and steps.
Back at your car, grab a towel and walk back down Sharplin Falls track 100m to take a dip in the beautiful cool stream - a great finish to a classic circuit!
Features of interest
The area around Woolshed Creek is fascinating - cliffs, waterfalls, gorges and a wicked swing bridge. Great scenery throughout.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 75%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 10%
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
Sharplin Falls DOC car park at the end of Flynns Rd, about 10 mins drive from Staveley
Plenty of parking. Info board and toilets too. No public transport.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
The trail is well signposted and shouldn't present too many difficulties even in poor weather. You're following the Mt Somers Track the whole way around.
Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
There is water at both Woolshed Creek and Pinnacles Huts. There are also plenty of stream crossings from which it is fine to drink, but bear in mind that in dry summer conditions some of these may well dry up.
The bush sections can be very muddy after rain or snowmelt and the open sections are exposed to whatever mother nature throws at you. Go prepared.
This is a very technical trail so take care with foot placement, particularly when wet.
Post run indulgence
Staveley Store and Cafe
Good food and coffee, friendly service from locals and a nice shaded outside area for relaxing in after your long run. The Moroccan Lamb Pie is to die for!
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See other runs nearby:
Mt Somers Woolshed Loop
Mt Somers - Over the Top V1
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
Scotts Pudding Loop
The Lady Lakes
Edoras on Sunday