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Crucible Lake, Mt Aspiring National Park

Photo: Simon Thompson
Mt Aspiring National Park
2-3 days
Siberia Hut, 20 bunks
By jet boat from Kerin Forks, or along the track from SH6, south of Makarora
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Take a 30-minute boat ride, or 13km walk, to Kerin Forks, the track zigzags steeply up a spur above the Forks. The track then eases into a gentle gradient as it descends into Siberia Valley, with travel mostly through beech forest.

Reaching the wide grassy flats of Siberia Valley, an airstrip used in the long-gone venison recovery days comes into view. The track then follows the true left of Siberia Stream for 20 minutes to a bend where Siberia Hut is located. It’s nicely elevated with the dining area window looking directly up the valley to Mt Dreadful. This hut has 20 bunks and opened in 2011 following the loss of the previous hut to fire.

The route to Crucible Lake continues along the valley floor, crossing Gillespie Stream shortly after the turn-off to Gillespie Pass, then crossing Siberia Stream just after it is joined by Crucible Stream.

Entry to Crucible Valley is up a bush spur, gaining about 200m elevation. Crucible Stream is essentially one long waterfall tumbling over large rocks and steep rock slopes. You’ll need to pull yourself up by trees and roots before emerging from the bush with walls of rock towering above.

A poled route leads steadily uphill for another hour to the foot of the moraine wall, which rises about 150m to the lake,s rim. This last climb is through large rocks but the view from the rim is stunning. Ice and frozen snow covers most of the lake surface, even in summer. The cirque of rock walls culminating in the glaciers and snowfields of Mt Alba, 2360m, rise hundreds of metres directly from the lake.

The return trip to Lake Crucible from Siberia Hut is roughly 6-8hr.