Really spectacular views the whole way up Mt Oakden (1633m), including braided river valleys, Lake Coleridge & mountains galore. A real classic.
I got quite excited when first reading about this somewhat challenging tramp up Mt Oakden (1633m), and it did not disappoint. The mountain’s position at the foot of the braided Wilberforce River provides epic views straight up this valley, and these were a real highlight for me. Added to this are excellent views up the Harper Valley, of the Rakaia River, Lake Coleridge, and countless peaks in the Southern Alps. Do it on a clear day for maximum effect.
The whole of Mt Oakden is on private land and there’s no track. The lower slopes are steep and ascending them requires a bit of scrambling through light scrub. No problem for a reasonably experienced tramper, but perhaps not good for a newbie. See my track notes at the end for more info.
Mt Oakden ascent: The Scenery
This next video is a little glary but you can see the 360 degree views from the summit:
The walk is off track on private land. As of August 2020 you can contact Lake Coleridge Station on (03) 318 5123 for permission to access the mountain. We filled out an intentions form and picked up a key so we could get through a deer gate and park our car inside the station boundary. You can see that exact spot in the Google map below. I suspect that in mid-spring you may not be able to access the land due to lambing, but you can always ask.
From the start head over to a fenced paddock containing greener plants. Pass through a gate and then follow the fence line west until near point 681. You then head pretty much straight up the mountain, joining the ridge that runs from point 681 through point 1173m and on to the twin summit plateau. (I actually made a tiny cairn at the spot I thought was best on our descent, and this was a bit before point point 681, but have a look and see where the scrub is thinnest).
It’s then an easy walk to the high summit, and if you had time you could easily fit in the low summit too (although we didn’t). You can return the same way, and I’ve seen online that others have descended more directly down the eastern face, but I’m not sure about the scrub situation down there.
I found having walking poles to be very useful, including using just one for stability on the steep descent down the lower sections of the mountain. You may well need ice axe and crampons in winter, (others have said so), however in the mild winter of 2020 when we did it there wasn’t even snow on the summit, (a few patches), so we didn’t need anything.