Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass, Canterbury NZ

Fabulous views & some of the most beautiful tarns we’ve ever seen on this walk up Faust (1710m) & Mephistopheles (1736m) in the Lewis Pass region.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

I had read good things about the climb up Faust (1710m) in the Lewis Pass region. Nevertheless, the pictures I’d seen online didn’t get me too excited. It was with moderate expectations then that we set off on a calm, cloudless day in autumn, intending to also visit the nearby peak of Mephistopheles (1736m). We were destined to have our expectations exceeded yet again. There are excellent views of countless peaks and glacial valleys, particularly from Mephistopheles, and the Faust Tarns were probably the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Plus you’ll possibly have the place to yourself, as we did despite perfect Saturday weather.

The 1km walk from Faust to Mephistopheles took about an hour. I’ll admit to a spot of peak bagging here, motivated in part by the cool name, but the views were a bit better than on Faust so it was a worthy extension. We returned the way we came. Track notes at the end.

Faust & Mephistopheles: The Scenery

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
We got lost near the start by heading over this grassy plain to look for the onward track in the forest on the right. We wasted 30 minutes on this diversion. The track stays in the forest, skirting the edge of this plain.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Quite nice beech forest up towards the treeline.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
The views from above the treeline.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Possibly the biggest of the tarns. It was a very calm day and you can kind of see that in this picture.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Mephistopheles poking out at the back on the right.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Looking back down our route up.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
These western slopes were quite rugged and bare. Mephistopheles poking out at the back on the right.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
The view east from the summit of Faust (1710m).
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Such great colours, and unusual to have such contrasting coloured tarns right next to each other.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Another couple of very cool tarns.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
The funkiest of the funky tarns on Faust. Some alliteration there to brighten your day.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
A close up of the red and green tarns.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Sophia backed by Mephistopheles.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
A panorama north from Mephistopheles (1736m).
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
The Sylvia Tops in the centre. The Nina Valley to the right. Our first walk in the area was on the Nina Valley Track.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
A panorama looking north-west.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
The view back towards the start.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Looking north along the Libretto Range.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Sophia looking yonder.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Route 7 to/from the West Coast is down in the valley.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
A panorama taking in four of the funky tarns below the summit of Faust. Taken on the way back after we had lunch.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Looking back at Faust and Mephistopheles.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
There was another of these red and green tarn combinations.

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
On our way down from point 1549m.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Back into the forest here.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
A break in the forest on the way down.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
One of the friendly locals. We had a robin join us at the start, and then again on our way down. They are very charming as they flit around in silence, perhaps hoping for food.
Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
Interesting fungus.

Track Notes

Faust & Mephistopheles, Lewis Pass
There is a track as far as the treeline, then a poled route until the first of the tarns. It is then straightforward travel along a ridge to Faust. From there it is 1km to Mephistopheles, with a little bit of scrambling required to climb this peak. There is a loop option requiring some bush bashing, but we returned the way we came.

Just north of the Boyle River bridge there is a grassy layby on the right. From there go through the fence and along an old grassy track which soon narrows. It climbs to a grassy terrace, then enters beech forest. You pass through an outdoor education centre (just a collection of wooden equipment), and climb steeply for a short while to another higher terrace. We got lost at this point as I had read the track enters a small clearing. But at the top of the steep climb turn right to stay in the forest, and eventually the track veers left to begin the climb up a broad spur all the way to the treeline.

From the treeline the route is poled for a while, then it’s a straightforward walk along the ridge to the summit of Faust. From there it’s 1km and a little scrambling to summit Mephistopheles. There is a loop option requiring some bush bashing (see my map above), but we returned the way we came. The whole thing was at the hard end of moderate.

For more information on walks in the area, including substantial multi-day tramps, visit the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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