When one of the lads put out the call for company on a cheeky trip up Mt Bruce we couldn’t help but jump at the chance. Mt Bruce is by no measure a large mountain at a modest 1630m ASL but it offers great views in all directions and the easy access makes this a stunner of a day trip in the Arthurs Pass region. Without snow it would be suitable to take beginners and those with less off-route experience up. The track begins at the Bealey end of the Cass-Lagoon Saddle track, with ample parking at the DOC signposted car park at the end of Cora Lynn road.
The day was clear with blue skies and light winds as we made our way from Christchurch towards Arthurs Pass to the start of the track. Our mate had spent the night at Bealey Hut, five minutes up the track. When we reached the hut he had already started up the track towards Mt Bruce so we wasted no time in chasing him down. The well formed track initially climbs steadily through a mixture of beech and pine forest for the first couple of kilometres and gains about four hundred vertical metres before the bush line is reached. Here the forest makes way to wide open tussock slopes which can become quite muddy after rain.
We chose to follow the track around towards Lagoon Saddle before leaving the track and following the broad northwest ridge towards the summit. The going is straightforward but it is definitely a gut buster at times. We had the odd area where we skirted large areas of steeper snow in order to stay on the rock and tussock as we were wearing our trail running shoes rather than boots. Having negotiated the worst areas we popped out onto the final part of the ridge and covered the last few hundred metres to be rewarded with magic views and an icy snow covered ridge. The obligatory summit photos ensued.
We continued traversing the ridge before dropping down the northeast slopes making a beeline for the point where the track emerges from the bush. The going again was fairly straightforward and the route finding was very easy back to the track. A relaxed wander back to the cars topped off a great day trip.
Allow about 2.5 - 3 hours to the summit, and 1.5 - 2 hours to get back down again. Distance ~11km total.
All Arthurs Pass National Park Avalanche Peak Bealey Spur Bob's Camp Biv Cannibal Gorge Hut Canterbury Foothills Carroll Hut And Kelly Range Cass Saddle Lagoon Saddle Castle Hill Peak Crow Valley And Crow Hut Edwards - Stanley Rivers Fowlers Pass To Lake Guyon Gloriana Peak And Ada Pass Hut Hakatere Conservation Area Hanmer Springs Jollie Brook Circuit Kahurangi National Park Kepler Track Lake Sumner Forest Park Lathrop Saddle Little Mt Peel Manuka Hut Marlborough Maukuratawhai Mt Barrosa Mt Bruce Mt Cassidy Mt Potts Mt Princess Mt Somers Mt Tapuae-o-uenuku Mt Te Kinga Mt Torlesse Mystery Lake Nelson Lakes Packhorse Hut Poulter Hut Roys Peak St James Sylvia Tops Tablelands Circuit - Salisbury Lodge The Five Passes The Three Passes Travers-Sabine Circuit Tribulation Hut Waiau Pass And Blue Lake Wanaka West Coast