Angelus Mega LoopExperienced
Submitted by Mal Law
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Back country - remote
Native bushOpen ridges/tops
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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From the car park pick up the Pinchgut Track. This well made trail winds its way uphill through a series of zigzags to climb some 550m over just 3 kms. Initially it is all in bush but shortly before reaching Mt. Robert (a fairly indistinct summit off the track to the left) it breaks into the open revealing stunning 360 deg views.
Follow the marker poles along the main ridge (ignore the left turn on to Paddys Track for Bushline Hut.) At first the ridge is broad and the trail is fairly mellow, but further along the ridge (beyond Flagtop) it gets a lot more technical with a lot of loose rock to traverse. But the views on a nice day - and you don't want to be doing this route on any other kind of day - are magnificent.
Eventually you'll drop off the southern end of the ridge to Lake Angelus and its huge new DoC hut (the first water on the trail.)
Beyond the hut follow the poled route towards Mt. Cedric, which is again quite technical in places.
The route traverses just beneath the summit of Cedric and descends steeply into the bush en route to Sabine Hut. Your quads are now in for a trashing as the trail just keeps getting steeper the lower you get (a total descent of some 1100m over about 3k!)
At Sabine Hut turn right and soon afterwards right again on to Speargrass Track. Over the next 10k of bush travel you will climb gradually to reach Speargrass Hut. Beyond the hut the trail ducks and dives along Speargrass Creek and its many side streams, dropping a couple of hundred metres over about 5k, before a final unwanted climb over the last couple of kms to return to the Mt Robert car park.
Features of interest
Stunning ridge running all along the Robert Ridge.
Lake Angelus is a classic alpine lake.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 45%
Moderate Single Track: 35%
Easy Single Track: 10%
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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From St. Arnaud head west on SH63 and after about 2k turn left on to a Mt. Robert Road (gravel). Follow this to its end, which is at the sizeable Mt. Robert car park
Plenty of parking, toilet, information board & map
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
The Robert Ridge and Cedric Route are poled routes only and although the trail is obvious enough in good weather it can be tricky in poor visibility. A map and compass, and the know-how to use them, are essential. If anything other than experienced in back country travel do NOT attempt this route without checking the forecast and satisfying yourself that there is a clear spell ahead.
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, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
There is no water until you reach Angelus Hut (2-4 hrs depending on ability) and after that the next reliable water is at Sabine Hut. There are plenty of side streams along the Speargrass Track (and at Speargrass Hut) for the second half long bush section.
The tops are very exposed and can be lethal in bad weather. This is not a winter route and snow can linger well into the late spring. The bush sections - descending to Sabine Hut & the Speargrass Track can be horrendously muddy after heavy rain.
The main hazard is exposure on the tops. Go prepared with plenty of warm gear and extra food.
Wasps can be a menace in the bush, particularly on the Speargrass Track
Post run indulgence
Great hospitality, great food and convivial atmosphere in their restaurant/bar
See other runs nearby:
Rotoiti Loop The Lake
Mt Robert Loop
Blue Lake - clearest water on earth
Parachute Rocks and St Arnaud Ridge
St Arnaud Discovery Loops
Speargrass - Robert Ridge
Angelus East Ridge Circuit
St Arnaud Sampler
Ultra Tour du Nelson Lakes
Robert Ridge to Angelus Hut
No More Beersies
Wots Up DOC