Mt Thomas Routes and RidgesIntermediate
Submitted by Emily Oliver
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Not Suitable (Novice)
Dogs on a leash only
A figure-8 shaped technical route with a double climb and no flat bits - great training for Mission Mt Somers.
From the camping area take Summit Track up a steep ridge through plantation forest (some already logged) and then bush to the summit of Mt Thomas - this is the short and steep way to summit, and should get your heart rate going! At the summit take a left along the ridge and follow the track, passing the junction to Wooded Gully track on your left. Continue until the next track junction (signposted) where you take a right towards Whare Route and Bob's Camp Route.
The route hops over a knob at 1043m and then descends to a junction with Whare Ridge and Cattle Ridge routes at 953m. From here you can choose to take the top loop of your figure 8 anti-clockwise (Whare Ridge first) or clockwise (Cattle Ridge first) - this description is anti-clockwise. Follow the poled route down the ridge, popping in and out of native bush pockets and tussocky areas where stock have grazed, this is all runnable if you like it technical! Keep alert for the markers as they are not always easy to spot and the beaten track vanishes often. The last bit of descent gets very steep, dropping down to Pinchgut Hut which sits in a shady little valley, a good place for lunch (keep the door closed to avoid being lunch for sandflies).
Cross the stream just past the hut and find the track which immediately begins climbing the ridge opposite the one you just came down, this is Cattle Ridge. A long, grunty and exposed climb here with more route-finding required (follow the poles and if in doubt follow the ridge line uphill) until the sign for Bob's Biv, which is an optional 10-minute side-trip from the main track. Keep following the poles until you get back to the junction which completes the top loop of the figure 8. From here retrace your steps back towards Mt Thomas. Take the Wooded Gully Track (5.2km) down for the best runnable descent of the day to complete the bottom half of the figure 8 and finish back at the camping area.
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Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 50%
Technical Single Track: 50%
From Oxford, follow Ashley Gorge Road for 13 km to Glentui. Continue on Birch Hill Road for 6 km then turn into Hayland Road and follow this for 4 km to the end at Wooded Gully Camping Area. Birch Hill Road can also be accessed from Rangiora via Loburn. The track is signposted from the camping area.
Plenty of parking and a toilet at the camping area.
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Very little opportunity to get water - take all you will need. The water at Pinchgut Hut comes from a stream that has been through stock areas, drink at your own risk.
The ridges are exposed and may be difficult in high winds.
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