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Top Crooked Hut

Top Crooked Hut

(Top Crooked Hut: Photo Andrew Buglass 2007)

Maintenance Status

Top Crooked Hut is designated as minimal maintenance. DOC recut the track up to it from Jacko Flat in March 2009, and cleared it again in 2012. however conitnued maintenance is not a certainty, nor is it likely to be a high priority. The track to Jacko Flat Hut from the Crooked roadend will be fully maintained however, and Permolat will probably keep an eye on the upper Crooked tracks if DOC lets them drop. Paul Reid of Permolat has recently, successfully applied for funding from the new High-Country Consortium to do some maintenance and trackwork on Top Crooked.

Location

Crooked catchment. Map BU21. Grid Ref: E1492802/ N5271190. 575m altitude. Top Crooked Hut is located in the Crooked headwaters on a terrace on the TL of the River. It was shifted to its current site from one closer to the River by the Army in 1991, because of an encroaching shingle fan a short distance upriver. The forest around the Hut is predominantly rata/ kamahi and the peaks of the Kaimata Range and Lake Morgan tops provide a picturesque backdrop. The Crooked is rugged little valley with great remote ambience. Visits to the Hut are infrequent, mostly groups doing the Lake Morgan tops circuit. The hutbook lists 7 for 2013.

Access

The route up to Top Crooked from Jacko Flat Hut is up the TL of the valley, with the tracked sections passing through fairly open beech forest. The first of a couple of short riverbed sections mid-valley has a disked a route up one of the river channels. This can be used when the River is at normal flows, but if a ford weren't possible, a bush-bash on the TL would be required. The Top Crooked track was recut in 2009 and is still in good condition. The track emerges in the head of the valley and the last 15 minutes to the Hut is along the River, which is easy to ford at normal flows. The track was still in good shape in February 2014, with a dozen or so small windfalls and a few short sections where the track had been taken out on the River's edge. There is likely to be more windthrow however, from the storms in April. Allow 2-2.5 hours from Jacko Flat Hut to Top Crooked Hut, or 7-10 hours from the Crooked roadend.

There is Helicopter access on the river flat below the Hut.

Type

Top Crooked is an unmodified NZFS S81 four-bunk design with open fire built in 1968. It is lined with the original tar paper. There is a toilet. Water is from the River.

Condition

Top Crooked Hut is in good condition currently. DOC painted and resealed it and did some basic maintenance in 2004, and revisited in 2012 to rebuild the woodshed. A few of of the outside piles may need replacing in the longer-term. There is a leak in roof above the cupboard. DOC reception were advised at Greymouth, but showed little interest according to our informant.

Routes

Access to the Lake Morgan Tops is up a track on the TR of the Crooked a short distance downriver from the Hut. It was recut in 2009 and checked in 2012, and so should be in good condition. Its entrance is on the edge of a grassy area, just over a small stream that runs in against the bush edge, around E1492748/ N5271293. The track climbs steeply up the bush faces in a direct line to the tops. It emerges at a band of jumbled rocks on the tussock line, around E1492748/ N5271293. Waratahs lead from here to around the 1200m contour, and from here it is more or less a direct climb up the tussock faces onto the crest of the range. Travel is easy and reasonably level along the crest to point 1489m. Drop down to the low point between point 1489m and point 1422m, and from here down an obvious rocky gut to Lake Morgan, where there are numerous good campsites around the Lake. Continue around the Lake and down the TR of the outlet creek. Cross to the TL just below a set of small waterfalls onto a flat bench here with tarns. Lake Morgan Hut is visible from here in fine conditions. Drop from the bench in a NE direction and recross to the TR of the outlet creek. Sidle from here at roughly around the 1120m contour line to the Hut, which is a bench above the gorge in the outlet creek. Allow 4-6 hours for the journey from Top Crooked Hut to Lake Morgan Hut.

Access to the Lake Morgan tops is also possible from the head basin of the upper TR branch of the Crooked River. Climb from here up the tussock slopes onto the main range.

Cone Creek Hut in the Haupiri is accessed by heading East from point 1489m and around the ridge above the TR of Lake Morgan. Drop into first basin on the South side of the side-ridge that leads out to point 1368m, and follow the creek down. Exit the Creek on the TL near the lip of the basin and cross onto a small cairned saddle at 975m. A track leads from here over to a large slip that provides access down into Cone Creek, just downriver from the Hut. Allow 5-6 hours for the crossing from Top Crooked to Cone Creek Hut.

There are other tops routes in and out of the upper Crooked from the Haupiri and Taramakau catchments, which would all require reasonably high levels of skill and fitness. In the Top Crooked hutbook the is an accound of a trip up an old, unfollowable track in Tom's Creek on the Taramakau side of the Kaimata Range. On the older maps a track is marked up the spur behind Top Crooked Hut that onto the tops, however there is no information on hand at this point regarding its condition. It is likely to be very overgrown.

Repairs Needed

The roof leak needs fixing, and some of the outside piles may need replacing in the longer term.

Provisions on site

Five billies, an axe, a broom, an aluminium bucket, an axe handle, a broom handle, an aluminium wash basin, a hearth brush and shovel, and a couple of old NZFS food bins.