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Cassidy-Blimit-Temple Basin Traverse, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Image of the July 2019 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
July 2019 Issue

Perfect for winter

Arthur’s Pass National Park is a wonderful playground in winter. There is plenty of variety from short walks through snow-laden beech trees to hard ice climbing routes in gullies that...

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Snow transforms crumbly rock ridges into enjoyable travel. Photo: Jo Stilwell

On our late winter trip, snow conditions were excellent. We donned crampons not far from the last marker pole, and crunched up frozen scree and then an obvious snow gully to the ridge, with a mix of plugging steps and firmer snow beyond that. From Cassidy, the ridge dropped down to a small saddle before climbing to Blimit (1921m). This last section, although along a narrower ridge, is still easy travel.

After summiting Blimit, we returned to the saddle and dropped north-west off the ridge into a beautiful snowy basin under the peak. Easy travel took us to a ridge above Pages Shelter at Temple Basin Ski Area before we followed the main track down to the ski-field lodges. We returned to our car via the Temple Basin Track and the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. Walking through the cool, dark beech forest in the fading light provided a nice contrast to the bright snowy tops earlier in the day.

This is a trip that never gets old – on checking our tramping dairies upon returning home we were reminded that I had first completed this loop 23 years ago and David (my husband) 43 years ago. It was great to return all these years later with our daughter Alice.

Distance
11.4km
Total Ascent
1348m
Grade
Moderate
Time
9-10hr
Access
Devil’s Punchbowl Falls car park
Map
BV20

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