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Rewarding challenge

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February 2017 Issue

Mt Larkins, Whakaari Conservation Area

After asking at the DOC information centre for advice on a demanding overnight hike with some decent altitude near Queenstown, we were directed to Mt Larkins.

The magic of this summit is not only in its 2300m height and outstanding panoramic views, but for the fact that the way up from Heather Jock Hut is not signposted and therefore off the beaten track.

Heather Jock Hut is reached on the Mt Judah Track, an old mining trail that passes the Glenorchy Scheelite Battery and other historic mining huts for day use only. Heather Jock sleeps three and there is information in the hut on the best route up Mt Larkins.

It’s fairly simple: climb onto the ridge above the hut and follow this to the summit of Mt Alaska, 1965m. Cairns then mark the way over three spot heights, the last of which, Pt1912, sits near the base of the final climb to Mt Larkins. The circular six bunk Kelly Hut (private – see www.mountainhut.nz for details) is near here, too.

From here, a small ridge leads to Pt2238, but we climbed the northern scree slope to the summit of Mt Larkins.

The views are expansive as you get closer to the summit, with Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw, Mt Tutoko and many more peaks visible.

– Premysl Luljak

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Distance
12.1km
Total Ascent
2261m
Grade
Moderate / Difficult
Time
Car park to Heather Jock Hut, 3-4hr; Heather Jock Hut to Mt Larkins, 8hr return
Accom.
Heather Jock Hut (free, three bunks); Kelly Hut ($45pp, six bunks - see www.mountainhut.nz)
Access
From Whakaari Conservation Area car park on the Queenstown Glenorchy Road, 2km before Glenorchy
Map
CB10, CA10