3 Replies to “tramp the Cascade Saddle Route, New Zealand”

  1. The Cascade Saddle Route in Mt. Aspiring NP is no joke, the combination of incline and exposure up to the Pylon probably makes it one of the most challenging routes. My hike ended just short of the Pylon because I wasn’t comfortable having to make a climbing move over exposure at one point. It’s a route that should not be attempted in bad weather. You can read about our time in Mt. Aspiring NP here: http://travel2walk.com/2017/03/16/trip-report-new-zealand-december-2016-part-2-getting-in-and-mt-aspiring-national-park/#report1

    Some website say the season is Dec-Mar, but the word from the DOC is that it is more a route for later in the summer, maybe January on. We were there at the end of December 2016 and the saddle was still covered in snow and the Pylon was pretty much the furthest point you can get to without snow equipment safely. Definitely talk to the Hut warden as Aspiring Hut, Donald was the warden when we visited. He’ll have up to date weather information and give you some tips.

      1. No problem. It’s definitely worth it and doesn’t need advance booking like the Great Walks in NZ.

        An Alternative route to take is doing the Rees-Dart loop with an in and out to the Plyon via the Saddle. That’s probably the safest way of seeing everything. Though you’ll have to wait for them to reopen the Dart track since it was knocked out for landslide. Word was they were going to do it this past summer there, but I don’t know if they did.

        If you are looking to extend a trekking trip longer through the area. I did read someone adding the Wilkin Valley and East Matukituki Valley to the trek passing the also dangerour Rabbit Pass. From the other end, you can extend the Routeburn, but that will require permits. There are just so many good lesser known routes there.

        Looking forward to seeing about your experiences there.

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