Fanthanaki double summit loopIntermediate
Submitted by Kerry Bennett
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Front country - easily accessible
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Run the well-formed track to Stratford Plateau from Dawsons falls. This is all runnable. On arriving at the Plateau turn left and head up the middle of the car park and around a locked gate. The wide gravel track/ road takes you up to Manganui ski field flying fox and then turns into a moderate technical single trail for the next 4-5kms passing the ski field and slowly ascending to the junction with the Taranaki Summit Track.
Just before the summit track, there's a junction Tahurangi lodge. No need to go to the lodge. Carry on and turn left when you meet the summit track, which is a poled route up to the crater.
From here it is a slow run up boulders for about 700m then a few hundred meters of steep steps up onto the scree slope. The scree gives way to some nice boulder rock climbing to take you up to the crater of Taranaki.
The crater floor has a glacier that is relatively flat and easy to cross as it is soft during normal summer conditions. Cross the glacier and ascend the rock slope on the Western side of the Glacier to the summit.
There are no poles from the crater to the summit but the route is fairly obvious with many tracks up the rock slope.
After bagging the summit at about the 10k mark, descend the rock slope and take a right, heading south down the glacier. You will see two poles on the crater rim up ahead. Head to the taller one on the right. When you reach the pole you will be looking down the south slope onto Fanthoms' peak. This is a steep scree slope that is fun to slide down (standing) with caution. Note: this is only a summer route as in the winter the slope is covered in ice and can only be traversed with crampons and ice axe. However, in the summer it is loads of fun.
Descend to the bottom of the south slope; there are some tracks and the occasional pole. At the bottom (the saddle between Fanthoms' peak and Taranaki) there is a very obvious poled route to the left. Ignore this and take a less obvious poled route on the right that leads up onto Fanthoms' peak.
As you reach the top of the climb you will have Syme hut to your right and the summit of Fanthoms' peak will be straight ahead. Continue straight ahead and follow the tracks up to the summit.
Then take a left and head south down the ridge to get some views of South Taranaki. Turn left down a small scree slope and up the other side to meet a well-marked poled route.
Turn right and follow the poles down Fanthoms' peak which is a mix of scree and rock until you meet some steps about 3km from the finish. The last 3km is moderate single technical track/steps which is runnable all the way back to the car park.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 40%
Moderate Single Track: 35%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Gravel Road: 5%
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Run starts from the toilet block in the Dawson's falls visitor center car park. Run up through the visitor center building shelter area and directly ahead is the track leading up to Wilkies Pool and Stratford Plateau
Park at the Dawsons falls visitor centre car park at the end of Manaia road.
Please check the weather and only do this route in good summer conditions when there is no ice on the South Slope of Taranaki. It's fabulous on a good day but horrendous on a bad day.
Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
There is water at Syme hut and some streams between Dawsons falls and the summit track. However, the streams will likely be dry in summer.
Please check the weather and only do this route in good summer conditions when there is no ice on the south slope of Taranaki. It's fabulous on a good day but horrendous on a bad day.
Steep scree / rocky slopes. Good idea to wear helmet incase of a fall.
Post run indulgence
The Burnt place
Awesome menu, service.
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