Based at our comfortable Rex Simpson Hut high above Lake Tekapo, you undertake day tours in the rolling basins of the Two Thumb Range. Off the Main Divide of the Southern Alps the Two Thumb Range has very favourable weather conditions, providing a choice of terrain for either easy to moderate cross-country skiing and Telemark touring or alpine touring on the steeper slopes.
You can cruise over rolling hills and explore snow-filled valleys, or take an easy ascent to access ideal terrain for carving Telemark turns. Tuition will be given as required. All Telemark touring equipment is included, as well as shovels, probes and transceivers. We recommend a minimum of 3 days if you are trying nordic skiing for the first time, and ideally 5 days is best to give yourself a chance to learn and practise the Telemark turn. Weekends will provide a refreshing break for those with limited time.
Day 1: 8:00 am gear check at our office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo.
From Lake Tekapo township we drive along the lakeshore to the head of Lake Tekapo. 3 hours' hike/ski with a climb of 550 m/1805 ft brings us to the cosy Rex Simpson Hut, at 1300 m/4265 ft, in the Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park. The views over Lake Tekapo are expansive. Afternoon ski tour and instruction in Telemark skiing.
The hut gives an excellent vantage point for watching the sun set behind the alps and for viewing our Southern Hemisphere stars in our uniquely dark night sky. As the hut is fully stocked we only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and our personal clothing and equipment.
Subsequent Day(s): Day tours from Rex Simpson Hut. There are several large basins and valley systems that provide ideal touring terrain for beginner to advanced skiers. Great views of Mounts Cook and Tasman from the ridge leading up from the hut, nicknamed "Snake Ridge". Please refer to the "Tour Options" section.
Last Day: Return to Lake Tekapo, after a 3-5 hour ski tour in the morning, arriving back around 5:00 pm.
Mt. Gerald Stream: From hut, around the corner, up Mt Gerald Stream and onto the plateau of Mt Gerald itself, with views down to Lilybank Station and up the Godley Valley and across Lake Tekapo. Return same way or cross Snake Ridge and follow down to hut. 3 hours return.
Snake Ridge - Beuzenberg Peak: Up to saddle looking into Camp Stream, then up onto Snake Ridge, following all the way up to Beuzenberg Peak, 2070m and return via ridge or via Camp Stream. Great views of East Face of Mount Cook, Mt Tasman and other Main Divide peaks as you cruise along the ridge top. 6 hours return.
Southern Terraces: Head south from hut, enjoying the view out over Lake Tekapo as far as Lakes Benmore and Pukaki, traverse back around into the lower end of Camp Stream, stopping off to take a step back in time with a visit to an old musterers' hut, before following up the gorge and back over the saddle to Rex Simpson Hut. 4 hours return.
Camp Stream Traverse: Up to saddle behind hut, down into Camp Stream valley and up a peak, 1666m, on the eastern side for grand views into the next valley and a different perspective of the Main Divide. This ski tour can be extended into the next valley (subject to safe snow conditions). 3 hours return.
Camp Stream - Stag Saddle: Great on a windy day to have the shelter of the valley. Amble beside the gurgling stream up to the bumps and basins at the head of the valley, before climbing up to Stag Saddle, 1925m. Return same way, or traverse up onto Snake Ridge and descend that way. 5 hours return.
There are many variations on these tours. It's possible to spend 5-7 days based at Rex Simpson Hut and explore new territory every day, only crossing your previous ski tracks near the hut.
Why you go with a guide? You can get into the mountains without having to bring a lot of gear. The skis, boots, poles, skins, avalanche transceivers and shovels are provided, along with any other gear you may need to borrow.
- It's safer. Winter mountain travel does bring hazards such as avalanche potential and white-outs which are not present in summer. Guides know where avalanche danger is, how to avoid it and are equipped to deal with it. They have navigation skills with both compass and GPS.
- You're above the bushline all the time, so it is very easy to get lost when cloud comes in. The guides' local knowledge is a huge advantage.
- No heavy loads to carry because sleeping bags, stoves, fuel and non-perishable food are at the hut.
- You have a clean hut and a guaranteed bunk.
Equipment: Alpine Recreation provides nordic ski touring equipment, including boots. A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
Accommodation pre-/post- tour: As our equipment check takes place at 8am on the morning of departure, you need to book accommodation in Tekapo the night before. After the tour, it is recommended to overnight in Tekapo again, or in Mount Cook. Accommodation options in Tekapo.
Insurance: In case of accident New Zealand's Accident Compensation scheme (ACC) will cover the majority of costs (about 80%) involved with evacuation and injury treatment, even for visitors to New Zealand. However you still need ordinary travel insurance to cover such things as your cancellation if an injury prevents you taking part on the trip, or a close relative suddenly becomes ill; and medical insurance in case you become ill. More information re Accident Compensation. The New Zealand Alpine Club provides a good mountaineering specific travel insurance.
How green are we? Alpine Recreation reduces its carbon footprint and environmental impact through such things as:
- restricting group size
- using fuel efficient vehicles
- minimising use of vehicles and aircraft
- recycling, re-using, composting, avoiding "consumerism"
- minimal impact huts
- bulk buying of food supplies
- promoting conservation of native flora and fauna
- supporting community efforts to encourage appreciation of the natural environment.
- 6 participants per guide, up to 10 with 2 guides.
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