Brewster track to Mt.Armstrong
An ascent from the state hwy(SH6),just west of Haast Pass,of over 1700m to a summit on the main divide of the Southern Alps. A climb through beech forest from 450m to the bushline at 1160m and on to Brewster hut at 1450m which was recently upgraded by DOC. A scramble to Mt.Armstrong just above the hut for fantastic views to the east and west of the Alps and toward Mt.Brewster and its glacier which is readily accessible to experienced trampers.
A short walk down from Fantail Falls carpark and appx 100m downstream from Fantail Falls,it is necessary to cross the water to access the first track marker.(wet feet likely) alt.appx 450m.
Climb the steep bank wall, perhaps using tree roots,, and continue initially in a SE direction following markers which will stay on a spur to the treeline at appx 1160m. The track flattens out briefly in a couple of places and some muddy sections are likely. Water can be heard from Fantail stream to the right (south) in the lower part of the climb but is generally inaccessible and water should be carried for the ascent which may take 3 or more hours.
The markers will be replaced by snow poles above the treeline and the ridge will be narrow in sections. If snow is present it may be compelling to traverse to the right (south) a little but be aware of snow conditions leading up to your walk as avalanche is possible and the ridge could be corniced above.
A plateau at about 1450m features a couple of small tarns which drain to the south near to the wall of Mt.Armstrong. Water could be collected here for most of the year but is likely to be dry in late summer. Brewster hut has recently been upgraded by DOC to sleep as many as 12 people now . Details can be obtained from the office in Makarora. Views of Mt.Brewster and the upper part of the glacier are visible from the plateau.
A steep scramble to Mt.Armstrong directly behind the plateau provides fantastic views over the NE part of Mt.Aspiring NP and NW toward Westland. It should be possible to see the state hwy below in the west and Makarora valley in the east.
Mt.Brewster and its glacier are accessible to experienced trampers. You can traverse up and around to the left of Mt.Armstrong from the hut and at appx 1600m move through some bluffs and a gully to eventually sidle below the ridge to Brewster and access the snout of the glacier. Some people climb Brewster. Some may walk up onto the white ice of the glacier as there is very little moraine. Most will explore the meltwater lakes at the snout.
Return via the same route.
Steep ascent and descent, Narrow ridge above the bushline possibly corniced in winter or spring Grades explained
Return via same track
8 hr – 12 hr
1 – 2 days
Altitude change 1,724m
|From||Fantail Falls carpark on SH6, just west of Haast Pass.|