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Mt Patriarch via Chummies Track, Kahurangi National Park

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July 2020 Issue

Patriarch of the Kahurangi

Perhaps the most rewarding way to approach Mt Patriarch is on the Chummies Track, up past John Reid Hut, on to the southern end of the Arthur Range.

Almost directly above John Reid Hut, on Pt1463, is a flat tussocky area well suited to pitching a tent. Equipped with a resident weka, but no water, this spot is superb for both expansive sunsets and sunrises. And, once on the ridge, much of the hard grind to reach Mt Patriarch (1701m) lies behind.

When our party of four visited the mountain, to reduce the amount of water we had to carry to the campsite, we, and the John Reid Hut weka, enjoyed dinner at the hut before climbing the final 120m to the tops. Once on the ridge, it’s only a matter of undulating along it for a couple of panoramic hours to reach a 1350m saddle beneath Mt Patriarch. Before that though, from the campsite on Pt1463, we were treated to a moody yet colourful sunset, a chilly night and an uplifting multicoloured sunrise.

At first, the journey along the ridge didn’t reveal Patriarch. First, Pt1566 had to be negotiated. But once on top of it, the mountain dominated the scene, providing a great spot for a breather. We also enjoyed some local entertainment compliments of a kea nesting in a crag near the trail. After crossing another 1500m high point, we reached the saddle and dropped our packs for the final climb.

It’s just a 350m scramble to reach the summit, entailing no real difficulties. About halfway up, it appeared that there might be as we approached some dramatic karst formations, but a trail led through rubble and tussock beside the steeper rock.

On top, there were seemingly endless views of Kahurangi National Park in all directions. And, almost directly south, a jagged ridge stretched out below to Patriarch’s slightly lower second summit (1692m). We’d thought we might go there, but when confronted with the distance involved, plus the broken nature of the terrain, we realised we didn’t have time.

As we retraced our steps off the summit, the route leading back to our bivy site lay spread out before us, leading north-east along the disjointed spine of the Arthur Range – an impressive landscape offering enticing scope for future trips.

From the saddle, it was another hour down through beech forest to Kiwi Saddle Hut. From here, the Wangapeka Track can be taken to the trailhead at Siberia Campsite.

Total Ascent
Wangapeka River to Pt1463, 4-5hr; To Kiwi Saddle Hut via Mt Patriarch, 4-6hr; To Siberia Campsite, 5-6hr
From Wangapeka River Road
BQ23, BQ24

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Mt Patriarch via Chummies Track (gpx, 25 KB)

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