FATMAP difficulty grade
This spectacular traverse between two high mountain huts provides a half-day journey, perfect as part of a multi day hut to hut trip - or a shorter rest day between high mountain objectives.
Despite its short duration, the crossing of Newton pass brings with it a new horizon and a very different feel as the bigger mountains are entered and the steep and daunting west sides of Mt Tasman and Aoraki come into view. The route is predominantly straightforward but the crossing of Newton Pass can be heavily crevassed, especially in late season and requires careful navigation.
Both huts are alpine huts with spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.
They surely offer two of the finest positions of any huts in the the Southern Alps and some of the best bathroom views in New Zealand! Descend the snow slope just above the Centennial hut to the flat glacier below.
Traverse the glacier along the mildly undulating terrain towards Newton Pass, keeping to the right of the crevassed terrain right of the rock spur of West Hoe.
Loop slightly north-west at first to avoid the large crevasses directly beneath Newton Pass and then head south towards the Pioneer hut and a short climb up a snow slope to reach the hut. It's also possible to cross West Hoe Pass in early season which offers a slightly quicker traverse.
For this route traverse the east side of West Hoe to the slightly higher pass.
This descends steeply to the glacier below, crossing a bergschrund to rejoin the above route.