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March 2015 Issue
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10 Trips on Barron Ridge, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Barron Ridge, Arthur's Pass National Park. Map by Geographx

Though one of the minor ranges in the region, Barron Ridge is both strategic and popular for the diverse routes possible around its flanks and through some reasonably challenging alpine terrain. It also boasts a number of post-glacial alpine cirques on its southern faces.

1 Mt Barron

At 1730m, Mt Barron is not the highest summit on the range though it is the most visible from the highway and the most easily accessed summit on the ridge. Two tracked routes climb from SH73 to reach the open tops. The final section to the summit requires care but the views are outstanding. The tracks can be linked via a high traverse through basins above Goat Creek.

2 Hunts Creek

West of the ridge lies Hunts Creek Hut and Hunts Creek, a large feeder of the Taipo and providing access to the hinterland below the range and routes onto the passes at its head. Hunts Creek is renowned for its magnificent tussock fields.

3 Waimakariri Col

This major Divide pass is often traversed and is one of the main routes between the Westland and Canterbury alps. It is a challenging tramp requiring good judgement and conditions. It can be reached from Barron Ridge by traversing Mt Armstrong.

4 Anderson Peak

Standing at the southern end of the ridge, Anderson Peak, 1840m, has an unnamed pass on its southern approach that can be descended into Hunts Creek headwaters. The peak itself can be easily traversed to reach another steeper route into Hunts Creek.

5 Mt Armstrong

Mt Armstrong, 2110m, is one of the major peaks of Arthur’s Pass National Park and commands a fantastic view of the Alps. It has one of the most northerly glaciers in the South Island on its southern side and a steep mixed route to its summit from the pass beneath Anderson Peak.

6 Bijleveld Col

A remote col which links upper Hunts Creek and Hunts Ridge with Tumbledown Creek. Hunts Ridge is a key route to the mid-Taipo Valley.

7 Campbell Pass

Together with Bijleveld Col, Campbell Pass is a key route between the upper Waimakariri and the Taipo or Hunts Creek. It is a challenging, unmarked alpine route requiring good navigation through some rough, and spectacular, terrain.

8 Rolleston River

Rolleston River cuts along the south-eastern flank of Barron Ridge and climbs to the col at 1800m. The upper valley has a track through the forest and sub-alpine zone and then a poled route to the col. The headwaters are steep and bluffed and threatened by avalanche in winter and spring.

9 Lake Florence

A large alpine tarn at 1470m beneath Mt Armstrong and Anderson Peak, Lake Florence has a beautiful and isolated setting enhanced by the difficulties required to access it. Either climb from the extreme eastern head of Hunts Creek or approach over the ridge from the Waimakariri Col route. There are good campsites at the lake.

10 Range Traverse

A full range traverse is possible for those with sound rock climbing skills – the section of ridge between Points 1711m and 1760m will require some care and possibly a rope.