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Mt Harper, Hakatere Conservation Park

Climbing Mt Harper. Photo: File
Hakatere Conservation Park
East of Clearwater settlement near Lake Camp on the Hakatere Potts Rd
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Like lumpy porridge, the Harper Range climbs steeply from the edge of Lake Emma to the summit of Mt Harper then plummets down to the Rangitata River flats.

There is no poled route to follow on this big climb, but with open flanks, and ridges for Africa, your legs will be spoiled for choice.

This route goes up the Balmacaan Stream Valley on an old 4WD track, south of Lake Camp. Tramp to Balmacaan Saddle and follow a U-shaped route that crosses a couple of 1600m peaks before heading north to the top of Mt Harper.

You can wander south-east along the tops to Cairn Hill enjoying the views across the Rangitata River onto Mesopotamia Station and the Two Thumb, Ben McLeod and Hewson ranges.

Descend any of the north and west ridges, the choice is yours, or head back the way you came.