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Dumb-bell Lake Loop, Canterbury

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Dumb-bell Lake LoopIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Tom Torok

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible



Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

8:00 (Slow)
6:00 (Moderate)
4:30 (Fast)



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From Parsons Creek car park take trail to A2O, follow this for a few kms to Freehold Creek, take signed trail up creek which is part of Te Araroa trail and is beautiful.

Once above tree line, a well cairned route that veers right (dont follow Te Araroa) will show way to the ridge. From here take a path of least resistance over a couple rolling basins and tarns until you are above Dumb-bell Lake. I dropped down to the lake for a drink (you could also stay on the ridge), pass on western side and continue up into steep basin behind Mt.Sutton.

Climb scree slope that looks friendliest and cross the wide saddle that separates you from Ohau skifield. Drop into skifield using whatever slope looks best heading for base station. From here I take the old ski field road which is a bit eroded but more fun and is a more direct line in the gut of the valley. Once out the bottom take A2O back to Parsons Creek car park or more interestingly follow vague trails across Ohau "front country" till you get to Parsons. Job done

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Features of interest

Running up Freehold stream, taking ridge line and descending onto pristine Dumb-bell lake, climbing out of climbing cirque behind Mt.Sutton, sidling it and dropping into Ohau skifield. Utilising A2O once down at lake level.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 50%

Technical Single Track: 25%

Easy Single Track: 15%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Parsons Creek car park

    Free parking

    34 km

    26 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Above freehold tree line, take cairned route to right, don't follow Te Araroa

    Very patchy.

    Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Freehold creek, tarns up top, Dumb bell lake, stream below Mt. Sutton, I wouldn't drink below skifield

    Snow in winter, issues with avalanche, navigation on ridge in white out

    Large boulders sometimes unstable

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