Mount Taylor

  • Mount Taylor
  • 2333 m
  • Primary factor 1636 m
  • New Zealand, South island.
  • Location: South 42.22502, East 173.61731 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed January 5. 2015.


How to get there:
This peak is located fairly close to (and east of) Christchurch. Take Hwy. 1 (south) to Rakala, fork east on Hwy. 77 to Mont Somers. Locate and drive Ashburton Gorge road to Hakatere, then turn right onto a road signposted for Lake Heron. Just before the lake, turn right and find a good parking lot. This is the trailhead, location S43.49065, E171.17809, elevation about 700 meter.
This is a quick summary and reference to climbs made on this trip.
Route description:
Hut hike:
One may use a mountain hut, named Doublehut, on this climb. This hut is located near the base of the mountain. However, this climb may also be done round-trip from the trailhead by a strong party.
First, follow a 4x4 road (gated), this road crosses a stream and runs north of a small hill. Next, a trail (with sign) forks right from this road. Initially, the trail runs along a fence, then more directly towards the mountains across a very flat area. There is another fork, where the route forks right and then crosses the river, then arrives at yet another signed trail fork. Here, the sign for Doublehut ha sno direction, very interesting design. The good news is that the hut is quite close as long as you know in what direction to go (gently uphill). The hut is located with running drinking water right next to it, at location S43.49567, E171.26068, elevation about 900 meter.
Summit climb:
From the Doublehut, the route crosses the flat land (short stretch) to reach the Swin river, south branch. The best route upstream along this river actually stays on the land next to the river, also making a shorter route than following the river itself. The river canyon is quite rugged with pretty steep rock up on the sides. Higher up, one will reach the main river fork. Take the right branch for only about 100 meter, then ascend up left. Follow the main ridge uphill, you will get to a fairly narrow section, but no real difficulty. It is a bit more difficult to descend correctly to this spot, so taking a waypoint up here may be a good idea. (One needs to keep quite a bit right when descending!)
There is a fairly prominent rock higher up on the ridge. Bypass this on the left side. The ridge continues quite some way, having a couple of shallow saddles along the way. The route is otherwise obvious and you will eventually reach the proper summit of Mount Taylor.
We arrived at the trailhead after a nice motel night recovering a bit from the rather tough climb of Manakau. It is pretty flat near the lake, but we could already see the mountain area of which Taylor is the highest point. This mountain looked very dry, somewhat similar to what one can come across in Nevada, US. The view in the opposite direction was a bit more dramatic. A little bit of preparations, then we left the car around 1300 and had a short and easy day, arriving at Doublehut already by 1500.
The next morning, we were walking already by 0525, very determined to avoid the hot sun when ascending the mountain ridge. The ridge was quite easy, but also quite long. Finally, we got the last hill in view with the summit all the way up at the end. Our strategy had worked well and we arrived at the summit already by 0855. Good views and a very nice, but dry looking scenery. We stayed on the summit for 30 minutes, leaving at 0925. The descent was straightforward and we were back at Doublehut by 1155. We took a long rest here, organizing gear for our hike out. Leaving Doublehut at 1240, we walked with a high pace and arrived at our car already ay 1410, 1:30, a very good time.