BZ14 Mount Barth
Approach by car:
From Omarama drive in the direction of Cromwell heading towards the Lindis Pass. At Dunstan Downs turn off into the Ahuriri Valley on Birchwood Road. Follow this gravel road for 26km to the car park at the very end. 4×4 recommended for the last km, otherwise park in the 2WD carpark.
Approach on foot:
From the carpark follow the track north for 2km. At the sign turn left and follow the Canyon Creek route around the lower gorge. Several great camping spots between the upper and lower gorges. Almost at the base of the canyon the markers stop and cairns take over. The track zigzags through the bluffs on the TL and then traverses above the bluffs of the amphitheatre that holds the canyon. The entrance is at 1230m. It is worth to take extra time to get to the rim of the canyon to get an idea of the level of the canyon and to potentially pre-rig an escape below R15m.
Medium to high flow. Fed by a sizable glacier so care should be taken with rising levels due to snow and glacial melt. There is a tarn surrounded by steep cliffs and a small hanging glacier just above the canyon on the TR. Rocks or chunks of ice could fall into the tarn which could hypothetically send a pulse of water down the cliff and into the canyon, it is likely that the water will be dispersed across the flats above the canyon rather than sending a wave down it but it is something to take into account.
Expedition style bolting, full anchor kit advised on repeats
Minimum of 2 x 50m rope, consider taking an extra 30m rope to pre-rig an escape
(Mark Norman will have info to add on upper part from second descend). The 40m abseil leads straight into the slot. Care should be taken between J6m and J3m as the pool flushes with not much room to get out. Below J3m are several chockstones which require delicate climbing and create dangerous siphs. The last escape is between R8m and R15m on the TL which leads to steep and exposed terrain outside the canyon. The pool at the bottom of R15m recircs quite badly, it is possible to avoid entering the pool by delicately abseiling on the TL. After R10m the pinball machine starts where the water bounces from wall to wall down a steep chute that leads to a 40m waterfall.
*******Not yet descended.*****
- Vehicle park to start of the canyon 5-6h
- Canyon descent unknown
- Return to vehicle 4-5h
- Total unknown
Flash Flood Danger:
Easy escape between R8m and R15m on TL. Possible escape between R12m and R7m via a slab on TR but might need bolts to protect the climber.
First descent R40 to R10: Alain Rohr, Pete Choate, Kaden Anderson and Toine Houtenbos. 4 March ’19. First descent top to R40: Alain Rohr, Mark Norman and more Ozzies. April 2019
First explorations by Toine Houtenbos, Alain Rohr, Peter Choate, Kaden Anderson, March 2019