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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Trekking fitness of up to 15km in a day with ascents and descents of up to 1000m.
Requires some experience on DOC tracks and overnight hut or camping stays.
Pricing and Details
|Duration: 4 or 5 days|
|8th – 11th January|
22nd – 25th January
19th – 22nd February
Get in touch to arrange private trips from December to March
|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|
‘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
‘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
‘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