South Island Gallery / Tramping / 2009-01 Tramping up the Whitcombe, to Ivory Lake, down the Waitaha  

We backpacked for 12 days from the Whitcombe valley, up Cropp Knob and Steadman Brow to Mt Beaumont, then Upper Tuke valley, then Ivory Lake and down the Waitaha valley. There is a track as far as Prices Hut in the Whitcombe, then up to Cropp Knob the track is partly cut but very slow where it is not cut and also slow on steep tussock ribs at the top. We camped by some nice tarns on Cropp Knob. We then continued up Steadman Brow to Mt Beaumont, but the cloud came down before we could start on the traverse to Ivory Lake so we dropped off into the upper Tuke. The following day it cleared and we traversed the ridge to Ivory Lake. Then we spent 2 days bashing through scrub, boulders and windfall to Moonbeam hut, with a camp at Chainman Creek confluence on the way (we found the only 1.2 sq metres of flat space in 2 days to pitch the tent). Then another day to Kiwi Flat hut (thanks to the lovely people who cut the track) and finally out to the road-end and another 10km down the gravel road to the West Coast highway and civilisation. This is a beautiful area, rugged and remote.
 Starting up the Whitcombe
 Crossing Frew Creek
 Swingbridge to nowhere by Cropp Basin
 Christmas Day hiking
  Crossing some big slips
 Old Prices Hut
 Crossing the River to new Prices Hut
 Wet bush on Cropp Knob Track
 6hrs later damp tussock further up the same spur
 8hrs later we have covered 3kms and decide to camp
 Climbing Steadman Brow
 Snow ridge as we get higher
 Descending to upper Tuke valley
 Good bluffs
 Kea in flight
 Tuke hut with atmospheric cloud
 Evening sun at Tuke Hut
 Traversing Mt Beaumont to Ivory Lake
 Descending from Mt Beaumont
 Looking back at The Tusk
 First view of Ivory Lake Hut far below
 Which way now
 The ridge we descended to Ivory Lake Hut
 Tom looking into the Waitaha for the first time
 Ivory Lake hut
 Tranquil campsite by the lake
 Artistic clouds over Ivory Lake Hut
 Descending Stag Creek into the upper Waitaha valley
 Rainbow by Stag Creek
 Hil fighting scrub in the Upper Waitaha
 She made it out!
 Not sure which way is up here
 The river was sometimes a better option than the scrub
 Day 11, Peanut butter straight out of the jar, yum
 Last view of Upper Waitaha before returning to the bush

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