Submitted by Mike Steel
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Back country - remote
Out and Back
Not Suitable (Slow)
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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A short, sharp mountain run to an alpine lake and up to the airy summit of the highest point of The Remarkables (Single Cone 2319m).
On a clear day there's awesome views of the Queenstown area and the long sweep of the southern alps from Mt Tutoko and Aspiring to Mt Cook. As a run-climb-run, this is a summer-only outing in fine weather. Mostly straightforward, except for one short/steep/exposed section near the top (trail running shoes are fine).
From the end of the ski-field road, run up the trail to Lake Alta, then follow up the Wye Creek route to the col above the lake. From here climb west a little and follow a pleasant wide terrace that heads south and then sidle west across toward the ridge below and slightly south of Single Cone. Climb up easy slabs of schist rock between snow patches directly towards the skyline ridge aiming about 200m south of Single Cone (if it starts to gets too step tend left).
Continue up towards the skyline ridge until you can easily traverse right on a rocky ledge below a semi-permanent snow field, with an increasingly exposed drop below you, towards an obvious steep snow-filled gully (an alpine route requiring ice axe/crampons - this is not your route!). To the right of this is a less obvious chimney (wide at the bottom) of blocky rock. Head up this way - it's short, steep and exposed, but there's good friction and the rock is solid. Some bridging moves with your feet higher up help. Break out at the top of this (by a cairn) and tend right and up - the summit and its airy viewpoint boulder (overlooking the 1500m west face of the Remarkables) are close at hand.
Once you've soaked up the panoramic views, head back the same way to the cairn near the top of the chimney. Climbing down the steep bit is no harder than climbing up, though the sight of the drop below will no doubt focus your attention! Once down this steep bit, you can run much of the way back (including some sliding on short soft snow patches on the way down towards the col).
Features of interest
Spectacular summit views
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 50%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 40%
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
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Drive (or if you are need a warm-up then bike) from Queenstown up to the Remarkables Ski area carpark
Plenty of parking
Only attempt this route in clear and settled weather. Carry a compass and map in case cloud comes in.
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, Compass, Map.
Carry water from the start.
As a 'run' without ice axe/crampons, this is definitely only feasible once snow has cleared from the ridges (typically mid-summer to autumn).
Attempt this only in fine, settled weather when the ridges are clear of snow, and carry a jacket and some warm gear.
Avoid climbing up anything that you aren't confident you can down-climb, and don't be tempted to shortcut the descent of the chimney by sliding/jumping onto patches of snow (too steep/compacted).
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See other runs nearby:
Ben Lomond from One Mile
Mt. Crichton Loop
The Queens Drive and Wye Dome.
Mt Dewar Devil Creek Loop
Jacks Point to Queenstown Trail
One Mile - Gondola Scenic Route
Moonlighting to Sefferstown
Remarkables and Wye Creek
Queenstown Hill (Te Tapu-nui)
Moke Lake from Mt.Crichton
Moonlighting around Bowen Peak
Frankton to Morven Hill Return
Mount Aurum - Skippers
Around Ben Lomond
The Felic Relic
The Harcombe Round
Ben Lomond via Tiki Trail
Lake Johnston Ferry Hill Loop
Loopin' Moke Lake