Wanaka Mountain Guides

Gillespie Pass Trek

The Gillespie Pass trek is classic journey through the heart of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Traversing between the Young, Siberia, and Wilkin Valleys. The crossing of the pass traverses past the formidable ramparts of Mount Awful. From the Siberia Valley there are side trips to iceberg lakes, waterfalls, and viewpoints. The trip finishes with a descent into the Wilkin Valley and an exciting jet boat ride out. Possible as a four or less strenuous, five day itinerary.

Four Day Itinerary

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Gillespie Pass Trek

Day 1 (15km, 500m ascent)

Meet your guide and travel from Wānaka to Makaroa at the head of Lake Wānaka. It is a short jet boat ride from Makarora to the confluence of the Young and Makarora rivers.

The routes follow the Young River to the confluence of the North Branch and on upwards through the bush to Young Hut. Alternatively, it is possible to continue a few more kilometers to camp above the bushline in the upper valley.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Gillespie Pass Trek

Day 2 (9km, 700m ascent, 1100m descent)

On the next day climb into the head of the Young Valley and steeply up and and over Gillespie Pass. The descent into Gillespie Stream past the flanks of Mount Awful and options for campsites. It is then the final descent into Siberia Valley and the hut.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Lake Crucible

Day 3

The third day is a weather contingency day for the pass crossing. Or is already reached Siberia Hut, it is possible to do a side trip with light packs to Lake Crucible, which holds icebergs from winter snows until late in the season, or explore further up the Siberia valley.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Wilkin River

Day 4 (5km, 300m descent)

On the last day the track descends into the Wilkin Valley and Kerin Forks for the final jet boat back to Makarora with Wilkin River Jets.

Alternatively, it is possible to fly out from the Siberia Valley.

Five Day Itinerary

It is possible to shorten the trekking days by carrying camping gear and stopping at numerous campsites en route. For larger groups, porters are available to help carry equipment and supplies (additional fees apply).

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Gillespie Pass Trek

Day 1 – Wānaka to the confluence of the North and South Branch of the Young (9km, 100m ascent)

Day 2 – To the upper Young Valley (2-3km beyond the Young Hut) (8km, 500m ascent).

Day 3 – Over the pass to Siberia Stream Camp (4km, 600m ascent and descent).

Day 4 – To Siberia hut (5km, 500m descent), option to fly out.

Day 5 – To Kerin Forks and jet boat out (5km, 300m descent).

Gillespie Pass Trek Fitness and Difficulty Requirements

Despite the modest distances, the Gillespie Pass Trek requires good trekking fitness to travel on unmaintained routes, though a variety of underfoot conditions.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Mount Awful
Wanaka Mountain Guides

Trekking fitness of up to 15km in a day with ascents and descents of up to 1000m.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

Requires some experience on DOC tracks and overnight hut or camping stays.

Pricing and Details

Duration: 4 or 5 days
2024 Dates:
8th – 11th January
22nd – 25th January
19th – 22nd February

Get in touch to arrange private trips from December to March
2023/24 Price:
Four days: $2450 / $1790 / $1450 per person for 2 / 3 / 4 people
Five days: $2950/ $2150 / $1750 per person for 2 / 3 / 4 people

Includes: GST, guide fees, compliance costs, food, accommodation, transport from Wānaka, and jet boat access.

Optional extras: Porter, aircraft egress from Siberia Valley.
Maximum ratio: 1:4

See Also

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘A very professional guide and great company. He took time to explain to us what walks were possible/practical each day depending on the weather and the impact it would have on the surrounding rivers. If you are city dwellers it is very comforting to know that your guide is thinking of the safety of the group. [He] certainly kept us well fed as well. We are looking forward to future trips in the beautiful mountains around Wānaka which is a refreshing change and takes us out of our comfort zone for a few days at least.’

Michael, Siberia Hut Trip

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘Thank you again. That was an awesome day out and I really appreciated how generous [our guide] was with his time and knowledge. He crammed in more than I thought possible in a day.’

Megan, Remarkables Alpine Rock Climbing Course

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘It was 4 days I’ll never forget! The experiences I had I only want to grow on. I set out to accomplish a task, but I got so much more! You showed me a whole new world with your sport and I can’t thank you enough! Absolutely exceeded my expectations!!! Thanks Wānaka Mountain Guides!

Landen, Mitre Peak Ascent

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