By some definitions Mt Technical (1870m) is the most northerly substantial peak in the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. The names suggests it might be out of reach for the average tramper/hiker, but there is one route that is non-technical, though there are still some challenges. Views from the top over the Lewis Pass area are predictably excellent, being the highest peak for some distance. Glacier carved and forested valleys intersect peaks and grassy tops, and there are tarns dotted all over the place.
We did Mt Technical as an overnight trip, fitting in the nearby peaks of Lucretia (1643m) and The Apprentice (1678m) the next morning, before heading back home. Our very campsite was a very pleasant spot next to a large but shallow tarn below those two smaller peaks. Mt Technical could be done as a day-walk however.
I had climbed The Apprentice as a day-walk a few months earlier in spring with snow about, and we first visited the Lewis Tops three years earlier. I’ve only included photos here from when we began to climb Mt Technical from our campsite. (There’s still plenty). Track notes at the end.
Mt Technical, Lucretia and The Apprentice: The Scenery
Lots more pictures from The Apprentice (in snow) in this post.
You can park either at the St James Walkway carpark, or else at an unofficial spot accessed at the very top of the pass, on the left as you drive west. You’ll probably need a 4wd to get up there. If starting here, there is a short section on an old track that links you up with the main Lewis Tops route within 5-10 minutes walk.
Follow the Lewis Tops route and then climb down from the tops to the south of 1580m. We camped by the tarn south of The Apprentice, and visited there first before climbing Mt Technical. You can sidle to the south of The Apprentice and emerge at a saddle before dropping down to the tarns.
You could return to the saddle and then scramble east up the ridge, but we climbed directly and steeply to a point further along the ridge (dotted line on my route map), avoiding some rocky sections. If approaching directly from the north then just pick your spot to climb onto the ridge.
Continue along the ridge until you drop down a few metres to roughly 1740m. There you can see an obvious but steep route off the ridge to the south. This should be fine in dry weather, but I think would be dangerous if slippery.
From there walk across to scree slopes, climb these, and then there’s a final scramble to the summit. This last scramble could be a bit tricky but see the photo below for our route, which was okay. I’ve heard the next chute along was not very good, and I didn’t like the look of going straight up- it was easy to cross onto a grassy section to the right and climb up from there.
On the way back we retraced out steps, but then kept on the ridge down to the saddle, which involved some route finding for a safe scramble. This maximised our views and made the descent less steep.
Lucretia and The Apprentice
These are both easy to climb: Lucretia along the easy ridge, and The Apprentice from either west, east or south.
There’s more information on walks in the area on the DOC site.