This is an alternate and much less used route up Castle Hill Peak, a Canterbury classic. Starting at Dry Stream you climb steeply up a spur to Mt Plenty, with already excellent views along the way of the Craigieburn Range and other interesting topography. From there it’s a fairly easy ridge to join the main route to Castle Hill peak from Foggy Peak. The final ascent is quite steep and requires some confidence on either scree or possibly hard snow and ice. Views from the summit include other peaks in the Torlesse Range, and out over the Canterbury Plains. Returning to the start via Foggy Peak adds variety and includes great views of Lake Lyndon. A very satisfying circuit with views the whole way.
Castle Hill Peak Circuit via Mt Plenty: The Scenery
A few shots from another occasion up this way with Sophia. (She had actually sprained her ankle when I did this Mt Plenty Circuit, so couldn’t join me).
Back to the day I did this circuit…
There is a large carpark on the true right of Dry Creek just next to the road. From there you have to hop the fence and begin an initially steep ascent up the spur. There is a faint impact track after a while. It won’t take long to reach Mt Plenty, and there is a cairn on the summit. From there follow the obvious ridge to join the usual route to Castle Hill Peak from Foggy Peak. The final ascent is steep and there are drop offs on both sides. You might need ice axe and crampons in winter and spring.
Descend from the mountain and continue along the broad ridge to Foggy Peak, (I’ve been up there before so I skirted the summit). Your descent route is down a long ridge/ spur over points 1536m and 1190m. It gets very steep near the bottom, but footing is fine.
Near the bottom of the spur you have to walk left along another fence line for a short while to find an easy way through it. (Just walk to where the barbed wire ends). From there you can find a way to drop down to the road, cross the creek and you are back at your car.
More info on Korowai Torlesse Tussocklands Park on the DOC website.