Mt Cloudsley via Long Spur, Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury NZ
Great views in all directions as you climb to the accessible high peak of Mt Cloudsley (2107m) in the Craigieburn Range near Castle Hill.
This was my first time to climb a 2000 metre high peak from the bottom (the bottom being at 760m in this case), and was also the highest I’d climbed in New Zealand. Despite these numbers it is a fairly straightforward climb up Long Spur to the summit of Mt Cloudsley (2107m), the second highest peak in the Craigieburn Range. It made for a great winter walk after some fresh snow, with views along the Craigieburn Range and over to the Torlesse Range, and from the summit, views south-west over a jumble of topography around Lake Coleridge, and north-west towards numerous peaks in the Southern Alps.
Low cloud around the summit limited my photography a little, but the views were clear enough for you to get the idea. And the cloud cleared as we began to head back down, so I got good pics north and east. Track notes at the end.
Mt Cloudsley via Long Spur: The Scenery
The following video gives you a reasonable impression of the views from the summit, partially obscured by cloud as they were:
You start this route on the Hogs Back Track, a mountain biking and walking track, that passes at first through beech forest, then emerges into grassland/scrub. After a while you arrive at an intersection with another track that returns to the forest – a few metres on there is a track of sorts that runs up conveniently to join Long Spur near the tree line. From there it’s straight up Long Spur to the summit through tussock, then scree and rocks (although mostly snow for us).
This was fairly easy walking in winter after some fresh snow, but without there will be patches of scree that might slow progress. I’d also read that there was some easy scrambling to be done but it hardly felt like that to me – perhaps snow helped. It took us about 4 hours to the summit, and it’s a fairly easy descent back down the same route. Roughly 1350m of ascent/descent over 6km.