Young - Wilkin - East Matukituki via Gillespie and Rabbit Passes

Day 8 - Top Forks - Rabbit Pass - Ruth Flat

All images © David Noble. No image can be used for any purpose without permission.

This was to be the longest and hardest day of the trip - over the tricky Rabbit Pass. There were plenty of warnings not too tackle the pass in wet or windy conditions in the hut and in our guidebooks. This was certainly very good advice. Fortunately we had a marvelously fine day.

Above - Dawn (about 6:21 am) - Mt Castor

Above - a little later

Above - and at 7:39 am - just before we set off

Above - John and Rob on the bottom left on the track high above the side of the south branch

Above - Chuin Nee and Rob

Above - Mt Cook Lily (Ranunculus lyallii)

Above - an upper basin

Above - a good place to take a break (and allow for some photo-pfaffing)

Above - everlasting daisies (Helichrysum bellidiodes)

Above - a last view of Castor and Pollux

Above - continuing onwards and upwards

Above - we approach the waterfall face

Above - looking back down

Above - the waterfall face. The hardest part of the route up to the pass. The route (marked with standards) goes up on the right face (about the middle of the photo) - up easy slopes, then steep country towards the right with some small bluffs and then traverses back to the left well above the waterfall.

Above - looking down at John and Chuin Nee

Above - looking down at John and Chuin Nee

Above - Rob, with John much further below

Above - Rob on the final traverse - with John and Chuin Nee below

Above - Rob on the last bit

Above - Looking back down

Above - Chuin Nee on the last bit - John below further back

Above - John almost at the top of the waterfall face

Above - looking up. Pearson Saddle is on the right - we climbed up to the saddle for a view and then returned to climb up the easy last basins to the top of Rabbit Pass on the left.

Above - South Island Edelweiss (Leucogenus grandiceps)

Above - Looking back at the side waterfall

Above - Korikori (Ranunculus insignis)

Above - heading up the valley

Above - view from Pearson Valley - looking down to west coast valleys

Above - more Mt Cook lilies

Above - a small cushion plant

Above - Chuin Nee on Pearson Saddle

Possibly a type of vegetable sheep?

Above - Phyllachne colensoi

Above - John continuing up the South Branch to the top of the pass

Above -delightful country

Above - Rob and John at the top of the pass. Our route the was to the left crossing the valley below the snow and up the sloping hills in the middle of the photo.

Above - looking down to the East Matukituki

Above - Euphrasia

Above - Chuin Nee photographing

Above - everlasting daisies

Above - Rob looking back down to the top of Rabbit Pass

Above - Rob, with the others a fair way back - just in front of the snow

Above - at this point - we descend steeply down on the left. John and Chuin Nee are on the right

Above - streamlets

Above - John and Chuin Nee on this steep, exposed, unstable slope - the hardest part of the pass

Above - John - almost down to the easy bit

Above - Chuin Nee and John on the easy part of the descent

Above - more daisies tucked away in a sheltered crack

Above - we continue down

Above - Rob admired the waterfall near Rabbit Pass itself

Above - looking back. The steep nasty bit starts from the lowest point of the skyline above John and continues to the scree.

Above - more descent

Above - Chuin Nee with the waterfall above

Above - more boulders!

Above - Looking back - Rabbit Pass

Above - we stop for a Raro break

Above - Chuin Nee enjoying more boulder fun

Above - almost down

Above - moguls?

Above - looking back

Above - Easy going on the flats

Above - continuing down

Above - Nice country - the East Matukituki

Above - something brewing in the hills?

Above - We went via the open riverbed whilst Rob tackled the scrubby bank above

Above - at Ruth Flat

Above - a final crossing of the river to find a campsite

Above - Chuin Nee cooking up another tasty meal

Continue of to our last day - Day 9 - above Bledisloe Gorge to the end of the valley

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