Halfway along Wakatipu's Humboldt Mountains, Death Valley is a hanging valley which feeds into the head of Kay Creek. Previously I'd been up the track from the Caples Valley as far as Kay Creek Hut and had also explored up Scott Creek from the Routeburn Road as far as Scott Basin. But I hadn't connected the two. Now was the time to make the missing link.
|Lydia above Scott Basin|
Saddling up on the Routeburn Road I was unpleasantly surprised by the weight of my pack. Scott Creek Track has no gentle warm up; it is straight into one of the steepest parts of the track. We were spoiled by having our VIP (Very Impressive Porter) lug my pack the first 2.5 hours up to the bushline while Lydia & I had the luxury of taking turns with her pack.
The upper Scott was nice travel and pleasant going with a gentle breeze counteracting the blazing sun. Plans had been left rather open. but on reaching the saddle we decided to turn eastward, popping over the pass below Pt1960 to camp by Death Lake. It's not officially named that on maps, but being the only lake at the head of Death Valley it seems an apt moniker. The pass appeared dauntingly steep from a distance but lines of weakness in the ramparts became obvious as we approached. Still, it was plenty steep enough to lug overburdened packs up.
|The pass into Death Valley. |
We angled up left from the left hand end of the snow.
|Camp at Death Lake|
|Looking up Death Valley from the scrubline|
|The glorious swimming hole at Mid Caples|