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Pinnacle Biv

Pinnacle Biv

(Pinnacle Biv looking across to the Browning Range: Photo Andrew Buglass 2016)

Maintenance status

Pinnacle Biv is designated as fully maintain currently. DOC originally had a longer-term plan plan to replace it and Boo Boo Hut with a single structure located somewhere between the two hut sites, however I'd be surprised if this was still on the table. The tracks in the lower Kokatahi were recently removed from DOC's maintenance schedule and the Pinnacle track hadn't received any official maintenance for quite a few years prior to this. It is currently not marked on the NZ Topo maps for some reason that eludes us, but has remained serviceable thanks to various Permolat members who have kept it trimmed and reasonably well marked.

Location

Kokatahi catchment. Map BV19. GPS Ref: E1451374/ N5244477. Altitude 1253m. Pinnacle Biv is located just below the summit of Crinkle Top at the northern end of the Toaroha Range. It is most often used as a stopover on a 3-day tops circuit of the Toaroha Range, that takes in Adventure Biv and the Toaroha Valley. Genoa Peak is a 30-40 minute climb from the Biv, and tops travel South along the Toaroha Range is reasonably straightforward in good conditions.

Pinnacle Biv location

Access

The Pinnacle Biv track turns off from the main Kokatahi valley track five minutes before Boo Boo Hut. It is well cut, permolatted to around the 830m contour. The section above this is a bit rougher, but still OK to follow. It has had work done on it by various people from November 2015 through to the present, is marked with a combination of Permolat and cruise tape from 830m to the scrubline. There is still a fair bit of astelia and flax crowding the track in places in the sub-alpine zone, but it's relatively easy to push through. The trackline goes the up TL of a small creek initially, then leaves the creek and continues straight up the bush faces, eventually connecting with a broad spur at the tussock line. Poles and cruise-tape lead due South from here along the spur and through a couple of narrow bands of scrub just below point 1085m. A scrubby gully is crossed onto a rib of exposed rock and this is followed up and over point 1085m. There is a dip in the ridge, then a final climb through a band of alpine scrub to Crinkle Top. Allow 3-4 hours from Boo Boo to Pinnacle Biv currently, or 7-9 from the roadend.

When dropping from Pinnacle Biv down to Boo Boo Hut make sure you don't continue down the rib East of point 1085m. Instead drop into the gully on the rib's TL at the pole around E1452037/ N5244963. Sidle North across the gully onto the next spur and follow that down. More than one party has missed this turn and continued down the bush faces into the Kokatahi. Not a fun route.

Type

The current Pinnacle Biv started its life as Crawford Biv in the head of the Crawford valley. It is an NZFS two-person B49 design with flat iron walls and roof and two narrow sleeping platforms, built in 1957. The original Pinnacle Biv appears on the older maps as Crinkle Top Biv, but this moniker fell out of use over time. In 2011 DOC replaced the original, also a B49, with Crawford Biv, which was removed when Top Crawford Hut was relocated to the head of the Crawford River. There are no mattresses on the sleeping platforms and no toilet at the Biv site. Please crap well away from it. A tarn just below the Biv provides water.

Condition

In 2016 DOC carried out some major maintenance on the Biv in which the end walls were removed, reframed, papered, reattached and sealed. The flat head nails securing the external iron cladding were replaced by small hex bolts. This should make the exterior shell super secure and watertight. A new door and flashings, and a new window and flashings were added. Some flooring repairs were carried out, along with a full paint job. The Biv is in top condition currently.

Routes

The Toaroha Range is accessed from the Biv along the ridge between Crinkle Top and Genoa Peak. There are some beautiful tarns and good campsites on the main ridge SE of Genoa Peak and travel along the Range from here is fairly straightforward in good conditions. Genoa Peak can be skirted by dropping into the top basin of Alice Creek and ascending a series of tussock benches to the low point between Genoa Peak and point 1618m, however this route doesn't save a huge amount of time.

The crest of the Range is followed up towards point 1618m, past a small spike which is exposed in a couple of places. There is a large flat area after this, followed by a steepish, rocky pitch heading towards the summit of Mt. Reeves. Adventure Biv can accessed by sidling off the ridge around 1650m where it flattens for a bit, and descending in a SSW direction onto a flat bench at the 1500m contour. Drop off the end of the bench in a SW direction down a steep narrow rib bounded on both sides by guts. This provides access onto the broad tussock face directly above Adventure Ridge. There are bands of bluffs on the southern faces of Mt. Reeves and good visibility is required to pick a suitable line down through them. Adventure Ridge doesn't become particularly well-defined until just above the Biv and it would be easy to miss it in poor visibility and end up down in Median Creek. A maintained track leads through the band of alpine scrub directly above the Biv. Allow 4-6 hours for the traverse from Pinnacle Biv. Ice axes and crampons may be necessary, and should always be carried, as a matter of course during the colder months.

Top Kokatahi Hut can be accessed from Pinnacle Biv by heading directly over the top of Mt. Reeves and continuing down to where the poled route from Adventure Biv crosses the Range just North of Zit Saddle. Follow the poles over into the head of the unnamed creek that drains Zit Saddle. Follow this down to a point about 100m metres above the Kokatahi River from where the Hut is visible 50 or so metres upriver. Allow 4-6 Hours for the traverse in good conditions.

It is possible to access Crawford Junction Hut over the tops and down Blue Duck Creek. Two sets of waterfalls need to be skirted in Blue Duck Creek. The first in the headwaters, is in open tussock, and reasonably easy to get around. The lower falls are in a gorge that cuts down through the alpine and sub-alpine scrub zones. A high sidle and scrub bash on the TL is required to get around this. Access back into the Creek is down a steep slip that enters at the bottom end of the gorge. The lower reaches of the Creek are easy travel and the Kokatahi can usually be forded at normal flows, just upstream from the Blue Duck confluence. Allow 5-7 hours for this route.

Repairs needed

Nil Currently.

Provisions on site

One billy, a small amount of permolat, some coarse sandpaper and a few nails.