Mount Saint Bathans SummitIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Isaac Walker
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Back country - remote
Out and Back
Native bushOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
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If starting at the airstrip due to road/ford conditions then you have a 3.5km warmup along a gravel road - mostly flat and through a couple of decent fords. Turn left on DOC land once you reach the DOC Oteake Conservation Park sign. Follow the 4wd tracks for some time, approximately 5 km of hilly climbing with some relief when the tracks undulate slightly. The 4wd track starts to fade as you enter a scree field. This is where you will need some navigation skills. An old fence line helps as you follow an undefined ridge line. In bad weather make sure you either are very confident with your navigation as it does become very difficult with very few landscape markers to go on. The scree fields become very steep and there is a little bit of rock scrambling to be done as you climb higher. Follow the ridge line/fence line all the way till you hit the main St Bathans Range where you will turn right climbing higher. Along the main ridge in snowy conditions it is very slow going do to snow drifts and large rocky areas. If you keep at it long enough you will reach a small shed/weather station which marks the top of Mount Saint Bathans - officially at 2088m. There is a higher point about 1km further up the ridge at 2098m. Various ridge lines can bring you down towards your start point including one that brings you down to Boundary Creek Hut in the Manuherikia River West Branch valley. For this particular Wild Things route, it is simply an out and back down the same ridge line you ascended.
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Features of interest
Look out for rare alpine flowers - i.e: Ranunculus Acraeus (alpine buttercup)
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 65%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 35%
The best access point to begin a Mt St Bathans ascent would be at the DOC Homestead campsite at the end of Hawkdun Runs Road. Once parked back-track down the road for 1km to the DOC Oteake Conservation park sign and turn right. We couldn't make it that far due to road conditions so we parked on the side of the road by the airstrip (shown on topo maps) approximately 9.5km from the turnoff onto Hawkdun Runs Road from the Loop Road to St Bathans township. This adds another 3.5km each way. The start of the ascent is at the DOC Oteake Conservation Park sign.
The best access point to begin a Mt St Bathans ascent would be at the DOC Homestead campsite at the end of Hawkdun Runs Road. Getting there in a non-4wd vehicle can however be difficult as there are a number of fords to cross of varying depths depending on the weather. The road also gets very muddy during times of year so you can get bogged easily. We parked on the side of the road near the airstrip (shown on topo maps) - approximately 9.5km from the turnoff onto Hawkdun Runs Road from the Loop Road to St Bathans township. This adds another 3.5km each way. The start of the ascent is at the DOC Oteake Conservation Park sign.
Take a topo map! If the weather deteriorates then you could easily go astray. Be logical and follow the ridge lines and any possible markers.
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 blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.
Very dry and very isolated. Take all water with you.
The access into Oteake Conservation Park can become difficult in winter and at times with plenty of rain. The road conditions can become very muddy and fords become very deep and fast flowing.
The route itself is very exposed and offers little to no shelter. Very cold in the wind and rain. Snow and storms can roll over very quickly at any time of the year.
Watch your footing on the scree fields and rocky/technical sections. Be aware of steep drop-offs.
Post run indulgence
The Vulcan Hotel
1670 Loop Road, St Bathans, New Zealand
A haunted hotel that serves beer and good food - need I say more!
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