Waitaha catchment, Westland. By Jonathan Astin
County Stream is the largest tributary of the Waitaha River – a wild and rugged valley in Westland. It receives few visitors, mainly trampers seeking a remote wilderness experience or climbers attempting Mt Evans.
Clearview Spur separates the County from Moonbeam Torrent and can be used as a route in and out of the valley.
After spending a night in County Stream Hut, we used Canary Creek to access the steep tussock faces of Clearview Spur opposite the hut. These faces are very steep near the top and the route should only be attempted in fine, dry conditions.
As we reached the crest of the spur, we stopped to admire an amazing view of Mt Evans (2620m) and The Red Lion (2444m). Mt Evans was first climbed in 1934 by a party that included the famous Tararua tramper John Pascoe. His book, Unclimbed New Zealand describes his obsession with this remote mountain and its eventual ascent.
From Clearview Spur a descent can be made to Moonbeam Hut via the Dorothy Creek Track or the Smyth Range can be ascended with a traverse of Mts Barry and Neville before descending to Kiwi Flat Hut via Headlong Spur.
- Waitaha Road to Kiwi Flat Hut 3-4hr; To Moonbeam Hut, 4-5hr; To County Stream Hut, 4-6hhr; To Kiwi Flat Hut via Clearview Spur, 12-14hr
- Waitaha Road off SH6, 16km south of Ross
- BW17, BW18