Mt FrenchIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Steve Hanmer
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Back country - remote
Out and Back
Native bushOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
Not Suitable (Slow)
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Don't be fooled by the relatively short distance of this track.. it's a serious grunt!
From the start of the trail, after a short steep climb it levels off for about half a km, but after that, it's really steep most of the way to the top. There is some slight respite around 800m asl, but it is very short lived and gets even steeper once above the bushline. The trail is rugged and rough, and you'll be on all fours at times. This trail doesn't seem to get as much use as the neighbouring Te Kinga, and hence is a bit more overgrown and rugged. There is quite a lot of large windfall along the way, but there has been enough track maintenance to allow fairly free flow along the trail.
Once you pop out of the bush, the trail steepens sharply and the trails gets slightly harder to follow, although it is well marked. You will pass a repeater station, just before you hit the main, obvious ridge line. From here you can turn left and head a few hundred metres along the ridge to the high point at 1233m (which is described here), or turn right and head along the undulating (poled route) ridge to Mt French itself, in which case you'd need to add an extra 1-2 hours return to your journey depending on how fast you're moving. Either way, on a clear day, you will be rewarded with some excellent views for your efforts.
Head back down the way you came. The descent is steep, and difficult to maintain any real flow whilst running, and so extra care should be taken here, particularly if it's wet.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 25%
Technical Single Track: 75%
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The start of the track is on Kumara-Inchbonnie Road, at the junction to Bigg Rd
There is enough space for a several vehicles by the side of the road opposite the trail head.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal 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.
No water on the trail, bring all you need!
Could be treacherous in the wet, particularly on the way down
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