Mt Technical, Lucretia and The Apprentice, Lewis Pass, Canterbury/ West Coast NZ

Big views of peaks, valleys and tarns on this challenging hike to Mt Technical (1870m), with extra peaks Lucretia & The Apprentice thrown in.

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass

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

Day 1

See my other posts for photos of the Lewis Tops route, and also continuing on to The Apprentice. Photos here from when we began our climb of Mt Technical.

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Beginning the climb of Mt Technical from our campsite.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
The spicy ridge you can take to the summit, but the easier route is to drop off this to the right (just below where I took this picture), then climb over boulders and up scree to the summit.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
The summit up on the left.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Looking down on our route up. You can just see Sophia down there, who needed to move over to the grass on the left of picture.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Dappled light over peaks to the SW.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Moody light to the south-west.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
So many peaks I thought I’d try and fit them all into a wide panorama. Nice lighting too.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Basin Creek in shadow, and the Libretto Range beyond.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
I quite liked this lump of two unnamed peaks, with a couple of wee tarns down there.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Looking over the Lewis Tops to the Freyberg Range and then more mountains beyond.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Norma, which we climbed two winters ago. Good walk that, and easier than Mt Technical.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Returning from the summit.

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
A steep climb back up onto the ridge.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Mt Freyberg
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
We decided to take the ridge down from 1740m. A bit of a scramble but nice views. We camped at the higher of the two tarns.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Nice lighting.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Almost down off the ridge.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
We were joined by one other camper that night, an experienced young tramper named Sam. There was actually a party of 10-15 people over the other side of the saddle that we didn’t know about until the next morning.

Day 2

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Views from Lucretia.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
The Apprentice viewed from Lucretia. Sophia can be seen on the ridge roughly centre of picture.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Mt Technical from Lucretia. This is the side we approached the summit from, climbing onto the ridge, then off it again onto that scree near the top.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Lucretia Valley from Lucretia.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Sophia on the summit of The Apprentice.
Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Sophia and me on The Apprentice, backed by West Coast scenery.

Lots more pictures from The Apprentice (in snow) in this post.

Track Notes

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Follow the Lewis Tops route and then climb down from the tops to the south. We dropped off some of our stuff at our campsite first, then climbed the dotted line route onto the ridge (avoiding some rocky sections). Continue along the ridge until you drop down a few metres to 1740, then you can see an obvious but steep route off the ridge to the south. Take this and climb up through scree and a final scramble to the summit of Mt Technical. Lucretia and The Apprentice are both easy to climb. More info in my track notes.
Lewis Tops

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.

Mt Technical

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.

Mt Technical, Lucretia & The Apprentice, Lewis Pass
Our route to and from the summit.

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.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

2 thoughts on “Mt Technical, Lucretia and The Apprentice, Lewis Pass, Canterbury/ West Coast NZ”

  1. You guys are lucky.
    Tried this exact trip in mid December, got up The Apprentice and traversed to the end of Lucretia at dawn. Was unsuccessful on Technical however, that scree chute was covered in firm ice and without crampons (it was summer after all) it would’ve been rather unsafe. Nice to know it’s now clear because I can tell you now, the north ridge is certainly not an easy alternative.
    The mountain very much earns that name.
    Will definitely be using your report for some redemption soon 🙂

    1. Hi Oliver. Yeah, I wondered if there might be snow left close to the summit, but decided this late there wouldn’t be. Looks like we got the timing just right. 🙂

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