MAIN RANGE S-K
Revered and feared by many experienced trampers and mountain runners this is the most tough challenge in the Tararuas.First accomplished in 1963 (1963 was first recorded trip in a weekend, but not the first trip of the route -1931 for a tramping party, possibly before that unrecorded) ) in those days the route took them up the Shormanns track to Putara hut near the Putara road end .Putara hut was burnt down in 1977 and was replaced with Herepai in hut. Schormanns track was closed but the name stuck.
Elevation gain: 6800 m
Distance: 77km-82km (Dep on whose Garmin you believe)
Water re-supply….Herepai, Dundas (But its a big drop down then climb back to main ridge)Drac Biv (Herepai to Drac biv long 6 hour section with no water if you dont drop to Dundas) , Nichols (If you drop down but only a quick drop and climb) Andersons, Mangahuka, Kime, Alpha
S-K Bail Outs
Junction Knob via Waitawaewae to Otaki Forks
Kime Hut to Otaki Forks via Field Hut
S-K By Section
S-K Stage 1-3 time ranges per section as per 24 hour as by previous attemptees up to 2015
Stage 1 Herepai Alt 700m Dist 4.5 km Desc: Open DOC track well formed climbs from road to.Herepai,
Stage 2 East Peak Alt 1200m Dist 3.2 km Desc: This where it gets rugged . No formed track more of a route , cairns and ridges.
Stage 3 Dundas Alt 1400m Dist 6.2 km Desc: As above…gets quite narrow and ridgy slow going.
S-K Stage 4-5
Stage 4 Arete Alt 1400m Dist 6 km Desc: Lovely open. Amazing views. Still more of a route than track.
Stage 5 Drac Biv Alt 1200m Dist 7 km Desc: Well formed DOC track drops down through bush.
S-K Stage 6
Stage 6 Nicholls Alt 1100m Dist 4 km Desc:Through the bush to you climb back onto tops and Nichols.
S-K Stage 7
Stage 7 Andersons Alt 1300m Dist 4 km Desc: Lovely open part of route not too steep and great in clear weather.
S-K Stage 8
Stage 8 Aokap Alt 1300m Dist 4 km Desc: Generally open …Be careful to get nav correct at Aokap. It is quite exposed open section with not that many markers or cairns. Can be tricky in clag…Suggest gps or good map compass work here.
S-K Stage 9-10
Stage 9 Mangahuka Alt 1000m Dist 6 km Desc: This is the section that reallys starts to test .The Main SMR (Southern Main Range )proper. It gets more gnarly (Not as bad as Nth Tararua but more walky climby than runny). That applies to whole SK really….
Stage 10 Kime Alt 1300m Dist 10 km Desc: This is the key section of whole SK for me. It involves The Taraua ladder ! Things to watch out for …
As you leave Maungahuka you will reach an intersection that goes left down to Neil Forks or right along to the ladder.Make sure you do not take the left down to Neil Forks! It is not v well signed so check your gps here…The actual intersection is about 50m before the intersection sign.
Tararua Ladder! A right of passage!
Next thing…turn right at top of ladder ! You will not see where to go until top of ladder there is a narrow walkway… Not left. Made that mistake wasn’t fun.
The SMR to Bridge Peak is the toughest section for me. It is endless climbs esp last climb to Bridge Peak. When you have got to top you know the worst is over.At Bridge Peak intersection….
‘Turn right for shopping Left for Glory’
S-K Stage 11-12
Stage 11 Alpha Alt 1200m Dist 8 km Desc: Climbs . Bit gnarly, Finally opens up as you get towards Alpha.
Stage 12 Block XVI Alt 900m Dist 6 km Desc: Welcome to the Marchant Ridge! It will go on and on and on. Roots …..and more roots and more roots…..
S-K Stage 13
Stage 13 Kaitoke Alt 400m Dist 11 km Desc: As above until it opens up a bit near the end and hits the DOC track and last few k to the end….
S-K Main Range Profile
Main Range S-K Route map
Links to printable high res maps