Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

Climb to the 2019m high peak Mt Izard in the Craigieburn Range for excellent views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and countless other peaks.

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range

The Craigieburn Range has a number of 2000m high peaks that can be climbed in a day, and Mt Izard (2019m) was our latest conquest in this Canterbury High Country playground. The route is pretty straightforward, following the Hogs Back Track for a little over an hour and then taking one easterly spur all the way to the summit. The views of neighbouring Mt Cheeseman and on down the crest of the Cragieburn Range are a highlight, but there are plenty of other peaks to feast your eyes on. Walking on a still snowy spring day added to the aesthetics.

From the summit you could visit Mt Cheeseman or Mt Cloudsley, and descend directly from either of these two peaks. But with gale force winds and a fair bit of snow slowing us down, we returned the same way for a satisfying day out in wintery spring conditions. Track notes at the end. 

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Castle Hill Rocks / Kura Tawhiti taken on the drive out.

Mt Izard from Texas Flat: The Scenery

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Sophia on a section of the Hogs Back Track. It takes a bit more than an hour to get to the beginning of the climb, but it’s quite a nice walk through a mixture of beech forest and grasslands.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Our target for the day up there at the end of that spur. The previous day’s snow was already melting from the big scree slopes.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
My attempt at an artistic shot. A few of the rocks at Castle Hill backed by the Torlesse Range.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Sophia climbing the spur that leads all the way to the summit.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Atmospheric weather conditions. I guess technically that is always the case.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Craigieburn Range panorama.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
There were brief moments of snow, or maybe it was hail. It was small and white.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
My wife Sophia trying not to get blown off the ridge. The winds were pretty brutal, and cold enough to freeze the water in our drinking tubes. My first time to experience this.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
A snowy whirlwind.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
The final climb to the summit.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Views from the summit of Mt Izard (2019m). That’s Mt Cheeseman on the left, which we climbed earlier in the year in snowless conditions.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
As many snowy ridgelines as I could fit in frame.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
The Ryton Valley, with Lake Coleridge in the background.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Mt Olympus and Ryton Stream.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
We walked to a small rocky outcrop to get enough shelter to eat lunch. The summit offered no protection at all from gale force winds.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Purple Hill straight ahead.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
On our way back.

A video I took on our way down..

 

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Looking back up at Mt Cheeseman.
Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Nice light for our walk back along the Hogs Back Track.

Track Notes

Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range
Take the Hogs Back Track from Texas Flat to where it crosses Waterfall Creek. Then head up onto the spur and follow this all the way to Mt Izard.

You start at Texas Flat cark park on the Mt Cheeseman Ski Field access road. (We also climbed Mt Cheeseman from this starting point, a slightly shorter walk.) Follow the Hogs Back Track until you cross Waterfall Creek. From there head right (south-west) to pass to the right of a rocky outcrop and join the spur. Take the spur all the way to the summit 🙂 . It’s roughly 12km return and 1200m change in elevation. I’d estimate 7-8 hours in normal conditions, but we took a bit longer than that due to gale force winds and snow. 

As I mentioned earlier, you could traverse either Cloudsley or Cheeseman, and return on the Hogs Back Track to Texas Flat. If you chose Cloudsley then you might like to park at Castle Hill Village instead, which is at the other end of the track.   

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

2 thoughts on “Mt Izard from Texas Flat, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ”

  1. Nice one Edward ! We were attempting Cloudsley at the same time but forced to turn around at the big saddle below the summit. We simply couldn’t stay on our feet with those gales coming in from the south…Glad you made it all the way…Guess you guys were protected a bit by the long spur ?

    1. Hi Laurent. There was some protection, although the higher we got the wilder the wind became. The summit was pretty unpleasant so we had to find some small rocks to huddle behind to eat lunch. Still got our views to the north 🙂

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