Aspiring’s alpine wonderland
The trip starts at the Routeburn Road end but leaves the Routeburn Track after a short time and climbs steeply to Sugar Loaf Pass, where it descends, again steeply, into the Rockburn Valley.
A good marked track up the Rockburn leads to Theatre Flat and the tussock flats of the upper valley. Park Pass is at 1176m, with a large tarn and a rock bivvy.
From Park Pass, there is no marked track up to the glacier, but the route ascends the obvious tussock slopes on the east of the pass.
While maps show a couple of bluff sections, there is an easy way through, with a defined track in some places and the odd cairn to follow. This leads to a shallow valley, with incredible schist slabs and alpine herb-fields, which you follow up to an extensive area of bedrock and moraine hillocks.
Even if this is as far as you go you will be rewarded with stunning views of the glacier, the terminal lake and the peaks beyond.
Moraine by the lake outlet offers space for camping.
The lake’s outlet is spectacular and crossing here requires care as the stream runs across smooth schist and then plummets 500m to the Rockburn Valley.
- Total Ascent
- Moderate / Difficult
- Road end to Park Pass, 8-9hr; Park Pass to lake outlet, 2hr
- Routeburn Road end, Glenorchy