Routeburn in Spring / September / Oct
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I'm looking at the Routeburn track in September or October 2012, and would appreciate any advice. This topic has been covered in forums and on DOC brochures. Briefly I understand:
- can be pretty nasty weather
- check for avalanche conditions before going
- carry PLB and avalanche equipment, perhaps a mountain radio too
- carry crampons and (one) ice-axe (?)
So my questions are:
- Is there a lower-risk / better weather month, choosing around September, October?
- Assuming snow-melt then, are rivers a big problem?
If conditions don't suit, what would be a similiar (eg. alpine tops, crampons/iceaxe but not rope, 3-4 days) track alternative?
The few of times Ive been over that way in October the weather has been awful. In my experience Fiordland seams to have a good weather period late August/Early September, then its crap until mid November where theres another good patch until mid December when the weather turns pants again. Who knows, maybe this year will be different?
I don't believe theres problems with rivers on the Routeburn. The major river (the Route Burn) is crossed via bridge which is left there year round. Theres small streams you cross on the alpine stretch which may have their bridges removed during winter, they might be a problem if they're up.
A similar track nearby would be the Kepler. Similar track conditions, shouldn't be affected by swollen rivers, and you can walk to it from Te Anau.
Thanks Yarmoss. We've booked trnasport early September to give it a try.
Any further thoughts from others on this? In particular I'm keen to have some Plan B options (see notes in OP). Currently considering:
- Gillespie Pass
Thanks again, Brett
yeah if it rains hard you won't get across the alpine section easily, i've seen the water rise right up to the bridges which are removed in winter....
plus you have to check with doc on the avalanche danger at the time....
similar kepler has avalanche risks. gillespies, i'm not sure but it's steep. need to consult with doc,
weather is hit and miss... could be perfect could equally be crap.....
Maybe you can consider Kepler as an alternative. I did Kepler in October, it was stunning, although part of the track on the ridge was barely visible. Be safe. I'd recommend bring an ice-axe as well.
I have been there in the first week of November. The track over the Harris Saddle was closed due to Avalanche Risk ( took the helicopter across and that was awesome ). So if you are going at that time of the year you may need to think of an alternative. eg Greenstone - Caples if the weather is crappy.
upper caples track over the saddle is impassable in heavy rain... the stream isnt bridged at all in this section..
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