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Angelus East Ridge Circuit, Tasman

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Angelus East Ridge CircuitVery Experienced

Submitted by Mike Steel

Info Info

Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson

St. Arnaud

Back country - remote



Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Very Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
7:00 (Moderate)
5:30 (Fast)



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An awesome and challenging alpine circuit that takes you around the western side of Lake Rotoiti, up the spectacular and remote east ridge of Mt Angelus, past tarns and a lake to Angelus hut, then back out via the fantastic Robert Ridge track. It's a run-climb-run.

The route described is feasible only in summer months, with clear, settled weather. It requires some careful route finding and confidence on exposed rock (the east ridge climb is grade 2+ in the NZAC guidebook, and gets a star for quality. Trail running shoes are fine).

Start from the carpark half-way up the Mt Robert Road where the Lakeside track starts. Follow this around the lake to Coldwater Hut and on to Hukere Stream (1-1.5 hrs from the car). Cross the bridge over this stream, fill up with water, and strike out into the forest heading for the prominent ridge that rises up to separate the Travers river and Hukere stream.

The steepening ridge is easily followed through the bush (no track or cairns - you're on your own here) and climbs to a rock band at the bushline which requires some care to ascend. Beyond this, the ridge has pleasant and varied travel (see pic) until pt 2015 is reached. Drop into the scree between here and pt 2037 and regain the ridge to bypass a difficult section that would require a rope.

Carry on over pt 2093 and descend carefully (tend right near the bottom) to the major col that overlooks screes into the Hukere and Hopeless headwaters. The section from here to the summit of Angelus Peak has the most 'interesting' and at times airy rock scrambling; take care on this section - it takes much longer than it looks on the map!

From Angelus Peak, you can start running again - first down to the attractive alpine basins picking up faint trails, and make your way past tarns to the spacious hut by Lake Angelus. Fill up with water here, then it's an exhilarating 2 hour+ run along a well-marked track over the undulating tops (great views) with a turn-off right onto Paddy's track for the final descent sections back to Lakeside Track and carpark.

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Features of interest

Lakes, tarns, bush, peaks, huts, alpine rock. The east ridge of Mt Angelus is an impressive feature, rising from the valley floor to the summit of Mt Angelus over subsidiary summits (one of which is higher than Mt Angelus).

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 30%

Technical Single Track: 40%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Route Data


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  • Access

    From St Arnaud, drive west a short distance and turn left onto the Mt Robert Road, cross the Buller River and drive uphill another km or so on the gravel road to where the Lakeside track starts on the left; just 50 metres ahead on the right side of the road there's a small carpark. Park there.

    The main carpark is higher up, however the car park by Lakeside track is still well-off the main road.

    5 km

    7 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take care navigating in the forest climb, and also in the route from Mt Angelus back to Angelus Hut if cloud comes in. Also sight and be aware of two possible exit options from the east ridge if the weather should change (one is down a scree slope above Hopeless hut, the other is the major col described in the route - with fairly easy access to the Hukere stream [and Cascade track] or less easy, but still do-able, access to Hopeless hut.)
    If the weather is not ideal an alternative to this trip is to head up the Cascade track directly to Mt Angelus hut directly (shorter and tracked all the way).

    Very patchy.

    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.

    Plenty of water in the valleys and at Angelus Hut. No water on the east ridge. Some water in streams between Angelus Peak and the hut; no water on the main descent ridge below Angelus Hut.

    Best in summer, and out of the question as a run if the ridge/peak has snow on it.

    On the exposed and pinnacled upper section of Angelus east ridge, test hand-holds for loose rock.

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