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June 2015 Issue
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Alpine Sanctuary

Approaching Colin Todd Hut via the Bonar Glacier. Photo: Grant Maslowski
Mt Aspiring National Park
Just one and a half hours to cross the Bonar Glacier from the easy option of Bevan Col. Otherwise, it is a strenuous one and a half days walk.
Colin Todd Hut, 12 bunks
By helicopter to Bevan Col followed by a crossing of the Bonar Glacier with rope, crampons and ice axe. Alternatively, walking access is via the West Matukituki Valley.

Colin Todd Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park

After waiting out a storm for several days, a guide and his client approach Colin Todd Hut in glorious conditions. Perched at 1,800m on Shipowner Ridge, just 300m below the junction with the NW ridge of Mt Aspiring, this location offers spectacular views across the Bonar Glacier, out to the Tasman ocean, and of course Mt Aspiring itself. The grand sense of scale, remoteness and inhospitable feeling that one gets up there is also wonderful.

The cosy little red alpine hut offers refuge from the notorious weather and is the base for climbing the classic North West ridge, which is the most commonly guided route on Mount Aspiring. The climb takes 10 to 12 hours return from Colin Todd Hut. The hut is dedicated to Colin Todd, a Dunedin climber who was very active in the post-war years and was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in Ravensbourne at the age of only 28. Shortly after his death, the Otago Section of the Alpine Club received an anonymous donation to finance an alpine hut in memory of the young climber. The easiest access is via helicopter from Bevan Col, but a crossing of the Bonar Glacier using rope, crampons and ice axe is still necessary. The facilities include 12 bunks, DoC radio, water tank, and exterior toilet. The hut is open all year round but due to bookings not being possible, plus popularity, camping may be required.

– Grant Maslowski