Kaweka North LoopExperienced
Submitted by Giles Pearson
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Back country - remote
Native bushOpen ridges/tops
Not Suitable (Slow)
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Running in the Kawekas can be frustrating but this one has reasonable amount of running in it i.e. you can probably run 50% of the time.
You start with a hard 800m climb up the Makahu Spur to make the main ridge. On reaching it, detour south (left) to bag Kaweka J and soak up some great views. Then turn back north along the main ridge, following the poled route that skirts just under North Kaweka (1707m) and continues over Pt 1638 to Whetu (1650m). From here keep following the ridge in a generally northerly direction to Pt 1379 and picj up the track that drops into the forest to Makino Hut. Note: the route along the tops has some running (not much), but improves as you drop in to the forest.
Some 3km down the track, after dropping around 300m, you'll need to turn right (east) towards Makino Hut, which you'll reach after about another 3 kms. From the hut continue on to the trig at Pt 996 and then turn right (SE). A little short of 1km along this track you will see but IGNORE the direct track to Middle Hill Hut (this takes in 3 gorges and is hard work with no running, so not recommended!) Instead head out to the road which is some 4km away.
Once you hit the gravel road turn right and run downhill towards the Mangatutunui Stream. When you get close (and BEFORE the road bridge) keep a look out for the track to Middle Hill Hut on your right. This climbs around 500m over 5-6 km with very limited running opportunities, to reach the hut. Continue on for around 1km and then turn left towards the Kaweka Flats Bivvy and keep heading in a generally southerly direction to return to the car park. The track from Middle Hill past Kaweka Flats Bivvy is a bit frustrating and gnarly, before a nice finish stretch back to the car park.
Features of interest
Great views to Ruapehu from Kaweka J.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 60%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Easy Single Track: 10%
Gravel Road: 5%
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Start and finish at the Makahu Road End
Road is unsealed but fine for 2WD unless it's snowy
Easy enough unless the cloud is down. The route over the tops is poled, but not very well. Take a compass or GPS in case, but personally I wouldn't try this run unless conditions are ideal
Waterproof leggings, 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, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.
No water from Makahu Road end to Makino Hut so take plenty
Wind and cloud on tops. Snow in winter
Mountain weather - be prepared!
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