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January 2017 Issue
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3 more ways to Paske Hut

View up the Wairau Valley from Island Gully Hut. Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography
The Paske Saddle is but one of several routes to reach Paske Hut. Pat Barrett suggests three other routes

Turk Ridge
Directly south of the hut stands Turk Ridge, a high rugged dividing range between the Paske and upper Wairau, which has several crossing points at high cols to the Wairau, the best being just east of spot height 2009m. This drops to an unnamed feeder of the Wairau. The route is reasonably rough and care is required with finding the right way down – it is steep bluff country. High, gaunt mountains are all around and some will carry snow well into summer.

Start the route at Lake Tennyson Campsite and head up the eastern side of the lake to cross the Crimea Range into the Wairau at the pass between Mt Maling and Crystal Peak.

Rainbow Valley
This is the easiest route into Paske Hut as it involves no high climbs, however a high clearance 4WD vehicle is required to reach the Rainbow River along the Wairau-Hanmer Springs Hydro Road. There is also a locked gate near Coldwater Creek which is open from December 26 to Easter each year, however a toll fee of $25 per vehicle is charged. Once at the Rainbow, a 4WD track and later a tramping track leads into Paske, taking about half a day. At least one ford of the Rainbow is required.

Island Gully Hut
Another option from off the Wairau-Hanmer Springs Hydro Road is to park at Island Gully Hut, tramp up the Wairau River and cross over Turk Ridge (at the same point mentioned for the Turk Ridge crossing, or at another crossing point closer to Island Gully Hut). These crossings will need to be chosen with care as there is some very steep, bluffed country on the Paske side of the range.