The MacPherson Talbot Traverse is a classic alpine crossing in the Darrans from Homer Saddle to the Gertrude Valley. Ascend ‘the Postmans’ route to Homer Saddle then Talbots Ladder and onwards to the summit of MacPherson. At one point this was considered as a tourist route to Milford Sound before the discovery of what would become the Milford Track.
Parking is not currently available at the Homer tunnel portal so vehicles have to be left at the Gertrude Valley car park.
Follow the start of the nature walk before breaking off following cairns up towards Homer Saddle.
MacPherson Talbot Traverse
From the Saddle, the route heads north up the steepening Talbots Ladder. Some will choose to use a rope and protection is available with a few cams and metalwork remnants of the Postman era.
Above the Ladder, snow slopes lead up to the summit of Mount MacPherson. Later in the season, these disappear to smooth rock slabs. A final blocky scramble leads to the summit.
Snow slopes and glacier are traversed from Mount MacPherson to Traverse Pass.
The ridge is gained west of the actual Traverse Pass and traversed until the pass proper. Later in the season there is a short down climb on the Gertrude Saddle side.
If time permits it is possible to do a side trip to the summit of Talbot before returning to the pass and continuing down.
After descending from the pass, the slopes that become rock slabs in late summer lead to the saddle. There is only one easy way to get down through cliff band above the upper lake so pay attention for cairns that mark the top.
From Gertrude Saddle, the route is followed back down into the valley via a swim in Black Lake.
For guided ascents of the MacPhearson Talbot Traverse, other mountaineering objectives in the Darrans, four day ascents, or other classic peaks of New Zealand, visit wanakamountainguides.co.nz.