FATMAP difficulty grade
This is a journey into the heart of the Westland National Park.
Both huts are alpine huts with 12 bunks available in each.
Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis and in high season they can fill up.
It is possible to walk up to the Almer hut from the valley through some intricate route finding but most teams will access the hut by helicopter. Most of the ascent is on wet glacier and due to the relatively low starting altitude a good freeze (or a set of snow shoes) and an early start are required to make easy and safe progress between the two huts. From the Almer hut, traverse the scree and rock slopes almost horizontally towards the glacier, aiming below the rocky spur of Newton Rocks towards the heavily crevassed section of glacier.
Keep to the left of the crevasses and follow a rising snow gully to the left of the heavily crevassed area, staying close to the steep slopes of Newton Rocks.
Continue in the same line until the angle eases significantly, turning right too soon can leave you negotiating heavily crevassed terrain. You're now on the upper glacier and can take stock of the outstanding mountains above and perhaps take a moment to memorise some of the terrain as you may be negotiating it in the dark the following morning.
Weave your way between the remaining crevasses on the gently rising glacier and gradually ascend to the Centennial hut.
This section takes longer than you think! The Centennial hut is in a truly outstanding position and a good place to pick up information and conditions from other mountaineers.
Be sure to tune in to the weather forecast which is radioed in every evening.