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Dickie Spur Hut

Dickie Spur Hut

(Dickie Spur Hut looking up into the head of the Tuke: Photo Andrew Buglass 2007)

Maintenance status

Dickie Spur Hut and its access tracks are fully maintained by DOC currently.

Location

Mikonui catchment. Map BV18. Grid Ref: E1426510/ N5230443 (BV18 265 304). Altitude 1090m. Dickie Spur Hut is located at the northern end of Dickie Ridge high above the TL of the Tuke River. There are superb views from the Hut out to the coast and upvalley to Galena Ridge, Mt. Beaumont, Sawtooth Ridge and The Tusk. Dickie Spur can be accessed in 5-6 hours from the Mikonui roadend and is a handy stopover for those en route to the head of the Tuke or Ivory Lake in the head of the Waitaha. Dickie Spur Hut gets a fairly steady trickle of visitors, with occasional gaps of up to six months between hutbook entries.

Access

The Dickie Spur track from the Mikonui vazlley was last cut in 2019 and should be in good condition. The entrance is in scattered scrub 200m SE of Mikonui Flat Hut. After entering the bush the track climbs steeply over a wedge of terrace into the Tuke River at the top end of a gorge. A swingbridge takes you over to the TL of the valley and the track follows the River to just below the Truran Creek confluence. It leaves the river here and climbs steeply up onto the terraces on the TL of Truran Creek and continues around to Truran Pass.

A track down Polluck Creek branches off here and the main track continues to climb skirting a large slip in the head of Truran Creek. At around 1000m the gradient eases and the track ascends in a series of steps to around the 1200m contour, where a pole with an orange triangle marks the turn-off down to the Hut. Poles lead down a side-ridge in a NE direction to the tussock bench where the Hut is located. The Hut requires good visibility to locate if travelling without GPS. Allow 4-6 hours from Mikonui Flat Hut to Dickie Spur Hut.

Dickie Spur can be accessed from Polluck Creek Hut in the Kakapotahi valley via an unmaintained route up Polluck Creek which connects with the Dickie Spur track at Truran Pass. Travel up Polluck Creek is reasonably easy with a short section of track from its head up to the Pass. This bit was trimmed by volunteers in 2010 but is probably getting overgrown again. Allow 4-5 hours from Polluck Creek Hut to Dickie Spur Hut.

Type

Dickie Spur is a NZFS 4-bunk S81 design built in 1968. A wood burner in the original structure was removed by DOC in the 1990's and a toilet built. A roof-fed water tank was added in 2003/ 4.

Condition

Dickie Spur should still be in good condition. DOC repainted and resealed it, installed the watertank, and revamped the toilet in the summer of 2003/4. Water appears to be getting in above the Hut door somewhere and dripping into the cupboard area. There is a small damp area on the floor in the NW corner, possibly caused by snow build up in Winter. The toilet has been problematic and may have blown over at some point.

Routes

Top Tuke Hut is accessed by following the poles back up onto Dickie Ridge. Continue climbing up and over point 1326m to a dip in the ridge around point 1296m. Poles lead from here down some steep tussock faces into an unnamed creek which is followed down to just above a waterfall that drops into the Tuke gorge (on NZ topmaps the descent is marked incorrectly on the spur on the TL of the creek). A track exits the creek here on the TR and sidles upvalley for 15 minutes, dropping into the riverbed at the top entrance of the gorge. It is mostly river travel on the TL from here with the odd ford to the TR providing a better line of travel. DOC have cut some small bush detours further up on the TL, some of which are not necessarily faster than sticking to the riverbed. There is a small gorge 20 minutes below the Hut which is tracked on its TL. After this the river is followed again to a opposite small side-creek at on the TR (E1428172/ N5226869 (BV18 282 269)). Ford here and follow a short section of track from the mouth of the creek up to the Hut which is clearly visible from a number of points on the route. Allow 3-4 hours from Dickie Spur Hut to Top Tuke Hut.

Top Tuke Hut can also be accessed by continuing up Dickie Ridge however there is no time advantage in doing this as the Ridge is a long plod with quite a few ups and downs. There are a couple of exposed sections with rotten rock on the approaches to point 1920m, one of which is marginal without a rope. The terrain below the drop-off point from the low area between point 1920m and The Tusk is steep and bluffy and locating a good line when descending from above may not be easy.

Top Waitaha Hut can be accessed by continuing up Dickie Ridge onto the NW shoulder of The Tusk. The ridge down to Ragged Peak from The Tusk is easy going and Ragged Peak's broad SE spur is used to access the Top Waitaha Basin. Drop off the spur where it is dissected by a smallish branch of Watson Creek around 1360m. A steep rib drops west from a flat bench here down into an unnamed side-creek that enters the Waitaha 100m downstream from the Hut. Drop left off the rib into a steep gut to access the creekbed 100m above where it meets the River. Top Waitaha Hut is visible from a number of points on the descent. Allow a full day for the crossing from Dickie Spur Hut. A full compliment of alpine equipment would need to be carried during the colder months.

Sawtooth Ridge is traversable from The Tusk, however it is necessary to sidle North off the Ridge at the low point after point 1957m to get around a rock buttress. Ivory Lake Hut can be accessed over points 2084m and 1870m and down the spur on the TR of the Lake. A short, down-climb of around five metres just before point 2084m is exposed and crumbly in places and could be problematic for some without a rope. From here on it is reasonably straightforward, although a couple of bits on the lee side of points 2084m and 1870m would possibly require crampons during the colder months. In late summer and autumn this bit can be done without an ice axe.

Repairs

Some sealing work may be necessary to fix the leak. You'd need to be there in heavy rain to see where it was leaking, as no water seems to comes in during "normal" rain. The toilet may still need righting and re-digging.

Provisions on Site

Two aluminium washbasins, a hearth shovel and hand broom, a full-sized broom, a pick, a shovel, two bench seats, one spare glass and one spare perspex louvre pane, and four 3x3 wooden stakes.