Lewis Pass Tops

Lewis Pass Tops

31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve and

Lake Sumner (Hoka Kura) Forest Park

Tramping with Liv Feary.

Most people take one or two days to complete this traverse, but we decided to take it easy and split it across four.

We ascended the Lewis Tops Track on New Year’s Eve and followed the undulating ridge across to a couple of small tarns below The Apprentice. The weather on the walk in was great, but unfortunately our plans to enjoy the sunset were ruined by cloud rolling in and reducing visibility to about 100m, not to mention dropping the temperature, so we were in our sleeping bags early in the evening.

The alarm went off early in order to see the sun rise on 2022, but the cloud was still down so we had a few extra hours of sleep before a leisurely late-morning start. Most of the cloud had burned off by midday so we set off with day packs up the scrambly ridge to the summit of Mt Technical (1870m). We took a confidence rope but didn’t use it, and enjoyed some exposed but solid scrambling as close to the ridge as we could manage. After a lengthy lunch at the summit, enjoying 360° views, we returned to our campsite the same way, and cooled off with a waterfall shower and stream-cooled beers. Sunset on the 1st January was spectacular, so we pretended it was still New Year’s Eve and celebrated with cheese and whisky. After a bit of stargazing we called it a night at about 10:30pm.

The next day we packed up camp and continued along the main ridge over The Apprentice (1678m) and Lucretia (1643m) before descending to Brass Monkey Bivouac where we intended to stay the night. Unfortunately this small two-bunk biv has a serious mould problem, so rather than spend a night breathing in green spores, we retraced our steps slightly to a large tarn south of Pt 1602. This turned out to be a great decision, as the tarn provided a perfect location for a refreshing swim, and beautiful views to the southwest over The Grand Duchess (1703m).

After another swim to start the day cold, on 3rd January we began traversing the northern slopes next to Brass Monkey Biv, crossing some large boulder fields and dense alpine shrubs, while being baked by the intense sun. Following the wide ridge from Pt 1390 we picked up the Rough Creek Track and descended into the welcome shade of the bush to the north. By spectacular luck, we emerged onto State Highway 7 just as another group of trampers were about to leave, so didn’t even need to stick a thumb out to hitch a ride back to the car at Lewis Pass.

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Liv looking along the main ridge of the Lewis Tops towards Mt Technical

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Our campsite for New Year’s Eve and fake New Year’s Eve, below The Apprentice

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Scrambling along the ridge up Mt Technical

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Looking back down the west ridge of Mt Technical towards our campsite

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

360° views from the summit of Mt Technical (1870m)

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Enjoying the sunset on fake New Year’s Eve (1st January)

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Billions of stars on a moonless night

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Liv pointing across to Gloriana Peak and Faerie Queene from the summit of The Apprentice (1678m) as we continued west along the ridge towards Brass Monkey Biv

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Brass Monkey Biv dwarfed by cliffs to the west

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Unfortunately Brass Monkey Biv has a serious mould problem, so we decided not to stay the night…

Lewis Pass Tops 31st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

…but instead camped next to a beautiful tarn just up the hill. A refreshing swim was much appreciated after a hot day, and before setting off again the next morning

Lewis Pass Tops

The final day started with a westbound traverse (left to right) of rough bouldery and scrubby slopes, before reaching the main ridge again at Pt 1390

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