Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass, St James Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
A remote feeling tramp to the summit of Mt Clara (1945m) in the St James Conservation Area, with spectacular views, especially in winter.
Although I’d read about the walk to Mt Clara (1945m) before, I decided to do it when the knowledgeable owner of Hanmer Backpackers (Tristan) recommended it to us. In winter conditions it turned out to be one of the better walks we’ve done. The conditions on the tops in winter were proper alpine, and the views north and east in particular were quite spectacular. And you get those views for much of the walk. It’s a long and remote enough tramp to be a bit adventurous, but short enough to fit comfortably into a long winter’s day.
It’s quite an exposed area so check the weather before setting out. Track notes at the end.
Mt Clara via Fowlers Pass: The Scenery
On our way back…
It’s an easy walk on the Fowlers Pass Track to Fowlers Pass itself, then off track to the south-west. The climb to Mt Pickett is up a long scree slope and was fairly slow going. From Mt Pickett it’s a steady climb along a ridge to Mt Clara, entirely through snow for us in mid winter. We found going around rocks on sometimes steep slopes in deep snow to be difficult, and on the way back we walked straight over the top of the rocks. Walking back is quite a bit easier than going up due to the scree. It may take about 7-8 hours return, and involves a little over 1000m ascent and descent.