Mount Ross Climbing Notes
Please submit any useful information about climbing Mount Ross that may be useful to other climbers. Consider things such as access and accommodation at the base of Mount Ross, as well as the logistics of climbing to the summit.
January 03, 2014
Joe Howells from New Zealand
We attempted to climb Mt Ross in the Aorangi Range (Haurangi Forest Park) on 2/1/14. We started at the Ruakokopatuna Road end approximately 1 hour drive south of Martinborough and accessed off the Lake Fery Rd either via the East Coast or Dry River Roads. This appears to be the only feasibile access point, though there may be access through private land off the white rock road. The track from the carpark (it appears to be safe to leave a car there as several pig hunters vehicles were parked up) to Sutherlands Hutt (approx 1.5 hours easy walk down a bit more back or say 20 mins Mountain Bike Ride). It is a rough 4 wheel drive track - easy going downhill to the Hutt with several river crossings which you can get over without wet boots when the river is low (but could be dangerous in flood). The hut is passable built circa 1950, administered by DOC and frequented by pig and deer hunters. DOC also have a lodge a few minutes before the road ends.
The DOC signage at the road end displays two routes up Mt Ross, which at 981 metres is the highest peak in the Haurangi Park. Both routes are not easy to find. The main route appears to have been up Ross Creek, which is the only big tributary coming into the Turanganui from the eastern side (5 river crossings back from the hut. Up this creek say 300 metres there is a DOC marker on a small willow tree on the right bank (going up). We climbed up from there to an old benched track with the remains of a fence on it and more DOC track markers. There was no evidence of a track at all and we were "bush bashing". The benched track which may have been an old forestry road was very overgrown with native nettle which we tried to get through for a time with all 3 of us getting stung. Given the potential for an allergic reaction (2 of us were wearing shorts - not advisable)we retreated. We think full body coverage and a slasher would be required to navigate this track further. The track apparently goes past an old Hut (Averills?) which may or may not exist now and then crosses Ross Creek to the east bank for a steep climb to the summit ridge. Back on the main track we proceeded back towards the car-park to find the 2nd track which is on a more open ridge. Just after a river crossing and on the eastern bank there is a track going into bush (there was a mud flap on the ground opposite the entrance but no other markers) which immediately climbs a steep bank onto a grassy plateau (very high grass and bracken fern) From there there is no track but the best way up appears to be to veer to the left until just above a group of large beech trees (which you can see clearly from the main track coming down) follow the ridge line up. We went about 1/2 way up and could see a clear route to the main ridge and which one presumably follows to get to the summit. Be prepared to grass/bracken/bush bash your way through - this is no stroll in the park! The tracks appear not to have been maintained for years.
There may be an alternative route back (or up) following the main summit ridge all the way down to farmland and around the headwaters of the Turanganui back to the carpark. This may involve crossing private land for which it would be advisable to get permission (the locals are quite sensitive due to constant poaching by hunters apparently. Given the presence of hunters and poor visibility in sometimes thick bush, high visibility clothing is probably a good idea.
We will return to knock Mt Ross off - this appears easily doable as a day trip rewarded by excellent views of some very wild country