Gertrude Saddle Route

Alert/Important notice

Avalanche hazard (updated 25 September)

Snow and ice is present and avalanche hazard exists. Alpine equipment and high level skill essential

Track category

Route

Time:  

4-6 hr return

Distance:  

3.5 km

Description

This is a challenging tramping route requiring tramping and alpine experience, and is not recommended in winter due to avalanche danger.

Enjoying a spectacular day on Gertrude Saddle. Photo copyright: iancochrane.com.au. DOC USE ONLY.
Enjoying a spectacular day on Gertrude Saddle

From the car park, the marked track meanders up the valley through spectacular alpine vegetation. From the head of the valley the route leads up towards the saddle; from this point there are no permanent track markers. Cross the Gertrude Stream below a large, steep waterfall area, about halfway up to Black Lake.

From here, parts of the track are very steep and not suitable for those with limited tramping experience, or a dislike for heights. The track goes up steep rock slabs and is treacherous when wet or frosty - there are steel cables to assist you.

From the head of the valley continue up through the boulders to the saddle. Return the same way.

Breathtaking views of the valley and part of Milford Sound/ Piopiotahi can be seen from the Gertrude Saddle. This track provides excellent access to the mountains for experienced climbers.

Getting there

This track is reached from the Milford Road, Fiordland.

The carpark is signposted shortly before the eastern portal of the Homer Tunnel, about 98 km along the Milford Road from Te Anau.

Activities

Climbing Climbing

Plan and prepare

After rain there are some creek crossings so expect to get wet feet.

There are no permanent markers above bushline, so alpine and navigation skills are essential. Rock cairns placed by trampers mark the route, but be sure to follow your own judgement and use a topographical map.

This is an alpine route and is subject to avalanches after snow. Please check with the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for track conditions before starting, whatever the season.

For more detailed track information
Please see "Moirs Guide South” edited by Robin McNeill. Available from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre or or Alpine Club website.


Related link

Climbing in Fiordland

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Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 249 7924
Address:   Fiordland National Park
Visitor Centre
Lakefront Drive
Te Anau 9600
Email:   fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
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