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High above the Huxley

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May 2023 Issue

Brodrick Pass, Ruataniwha Conservation Park

One of the most accessible ways to reach the main spine of Kā Tiritiri O Te Moana / the Southern Alps, south of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, is up the Hopkins Valley, north of Lake Ohau. While the peaks in this area are not on the scale of the three thousanders to the north, they’re still big and inspiring.

A magnificent vantage point from which to appreciate this landscape is Brodrick Pass, perched high above the headwaters of the Huxley River North Branch. This 1630m saddle between Mt Strauchon (2391m) and Mt Mackenzie (2156m) also offers a route over to Creswicke Flat Hut in the Landsborough Valley. If you want to climb higher Mt Mackenzie offers even more impressive views.

A 4WD can get you to Monument Hut, from where you can start walking, otherwise it’s a gruelling two-hour gravel road slog from Ram Hill car park.

Once on the track proper, it’s easy going through beech forest and along the riverbed to Huxley Forks Hut. After crossing a swingbridge to the true right of Huxley River North Branch the trail becomes more demanding and climbs high above several large slips. If the water level is low, the best option is up the river bed before heading steeply through the bush to six bunk Brodrick Hut (1000m). 

Beyond the hut, it’s a poled route across stream-gouged scrubland to the base of the climb to the pass. Take care to locate a cairn (if it’s still there) at the base of the climb, which ascends initially through dense scrub. Once located, the trail is quite easy to follow through scrub, then tussock and finally rock and snow. In summer, crampons are usually not essential to reach the pass, but they’re always a good safeguard – this is the Southern Alps after all. 

25km to Brodrick Pass
Total Ascent
Moderate / Difficult
Monument Hut to Brodrick Hut 5–7hr, To Brodrick Pass 2–3hr
From Hopkins Valley, up the Huxley Valley Track and then North Huxley Track

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Brodrick Pass (gpx, 17 KB)

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