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Cragieburn Traverse

Mt Cheeseman Ski Area

Doing a traverse from Cragieburn out to Temple Basin

Ski Touring Moderate

19 km
2.4 km
2.2 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.1 km
Cragieburn Traverse Map

Over the years it seems that the Craigeburn Traverse has become quite popular and it is easy so see why. This has become New Zealands version of the Haute Route with the option to use ski lifts to get in a few nice ski runs while making your way through the Craigieburn Range. There are two versions of the Craigieburn traverse so in this one I will break down from Cragieburn to Mount Olympus but for the full traverse you would want to go all the way to Porters ski field which you can break down by staying overnight at Mount Olympus.


Heading up to the Cragieburn parking lot you need to get up to the top of the ridge, you can either do this by skinning up or by using the Tbars. Once up there it is time to start heading south along the ridge. The first summit you will make it to is Hamilton Peak where you can descend the Southern Bowl and once the terrain mellows a bit you need to take a hard traverse skiers right which will connect you to the upper ski lifts of Broken River. From here you can either hike or use the Tbars of Broken River to once again gain the ridge.

The next section is a long ridge scramble heading south past Mount Wall until arriving on the top of Mount Cockayne in the Mount Cheeseman backcountry. If you have a lift ticket which works at the ski hill you can descent the nice sidecountry line down to the main tbar but if not then you should just keep following the ridge. From here it is a semi long slog out to the summit of Mount Cheeseman proper where it is time to start heading towards Mount Olympus.

From the summit of Mount Cheeseman start heading west by either riding along the high ridge or dropping into the Southwest bowl and doing a long traverse making sure not to go too low into the valley. Getting to Mount Olympus ski hill you need to climb around the backside of Mount Olympus by heading to the high ridge of point 1974 before following it to the summit of Mount Olympus proper.

Once on top it is time for your final descent of the day by dropping into the southwest chutes that will bring you into the ski resort boundaries and a flat lake basin.After a few minutes of walking with a snowboard or traversing with skis you can finally ride all the way down to the Mount Olympus ski lodge which is once of the coolest accommodations in New Zealand and well worth staying at.

For this variation of the Craigieburn traverse just ski down to the Mount Olympus Parking lot and find a way back to your car through hitchhiking. Logistically the car shuttle is the most difficult thing within the trip as the route is pretty straightforward but driving back to Craigieburn is not.

For more pictures and the full story check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/new-zealand/cragieburn/



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between August and October


  • Alpine
  • Ski Safari

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Crampons

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