OverviewThis is essentially this route described in reverse. The route is extremely fun with the long mostly Class 3 ridge. Don't worry about getting cliffed out, the ridge goes and is really a great time. You can always back off if you get sketched out and take the lower grassy slopes if needed. You start on the Bealey Track and attain Bealey. Then descend the ridge over to Peak 1778 before the final open ridge to the summit of Lyell. This is a great way to spend the day in Arthur's Pass epsecially if you get clear weather and will get to see the surrounding Southern Alps. Enjoy!
Getting ThereSee the Getting There section of either this page for Lyell or Mount Bealey for directions to the Bealey Track Trailhead.
Route DescriptionTake the Bealey Track up from the trailhead. It's steep but obvious. If you get confused, or are climbing in winter and can't see the trail, trees along the track have orange triangles nailed to them to mark the way. The trail heads southwest but mostly up and is very steep. You will pop out of the trees about 1400 meters. From there, a large sign marks the end of the maintained trail. However, the trail is trod into the tussocks as well as cairned. If the grass is too grown over and you lose the path, just know you are going to climb the obvious ridge up south-southwest.
Looking up at the obvious ridge of the Bealey Track. Mt Bealey on far right.
Above the grassy area, it turns to rock and you will achieve Point 1760. From here there are two ridges, one south to Little Bealey, and one west to Mount Bealey. Head west ahead of you and you will descend to a saddle, then up and close to the ridge to the summit of Bealey.
From Bealey's summit, head northwest down the open moundy slopes to the spikey ridge below. The first gendarme will be the crux. Ascend a short Class 3-4 chimney and then head along the ridgecrest straight up and over each gendarme. Stick to the ridge as all the gendarmes are easier after the first one. You will enjoy the Class 3 remainder of this ridge to Point 1778 where it turns morth northerly and opens up into an easy ridgewalk to the summit pinnacle of Lyell. Ascend the scree slopes just right of the obvious summit to the top of the ridge, turn left and walk to the cairn at the summit.
Class 3-4 Crux Chimney
If you are heading on north to Avalanche Peak, you can now pick out the easy ridge to that destination, otherwise, you would head back the way you came to descend.
Lyell from Point 1778 and the final ridge to the summit