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Travers Peak, Lewis Pass National Reserve

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July 2020 Issue

A top-of-the-world Travers

Travers Peak has been a day trip destination of mine for many years – so much so, that my latest outing here was the ninth time I have climbed it. I have also traversed it on a few occasions when heading deeper into the reserve to explore other peaks, ridges and valleys. It is such a centrally placed peak that it lends itself well to doing longer trips after first passing over the summit.

The latest outing was strictly a cruise to the top to take in the grand panorama.

Beginning at Deer Valley car park (which is also a spot for an overnight camp), we crossed the highway and headed along Foleys Track which climbs moderately at first through beautiful beech forest over terraces to the toe of the ridge leading to Travers Peak (1724m).

It does steepen after that, but nothing that brought us into too much of a sweat, and then it was a steady uphill grind through the shrinking forest trees all the way to 1300m – an elevation gain of 500m from the road – and the end of the marked track.

We were now above the bushline and into tussock, with a poled route leading over open ridgeline, past tarns, hollows and boulder fields.

Eventually, we reached the final push to the top up the 100m-high summit cone.

The summit – there’s actually two – with the eastern one offering the better view, is small and has a top-of-the-world feeling to it with outstanding views in every direction, including down and right around the compass. We took lunch, sat back in the sun and enjoyed the spectacle.

There is so much country to observe from there – the highway, the Maruia Valley and Spenser Mountains, St James Walkway, Opera and Libretto ranges, Mt Technical, Nina Valley, Freyberg Range – it goes on and it is worth taking a couple of maps if you are unfamiliar with the region to work out which ridges and valleys can be seen.

Once we had done the rounds, it was time to head down – a much better prospect to climbing up, especially on a warm and sunny day. There are some hidden tarns, just off the ridgeline to the north-west around 1400m, that could provide refreshment.

Soon enough we reached the bush track and wandered to the road for a final cup of tea before driving the long and winding highway back to Christchurch.

Trip done, and a good one.

Total Ascent
2-3hr to summit
2-3hr to summit
SH7 to just south of Lewis pass summit at Deer Valley car park

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Travers Peak (gpx, 3 KB)

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