The Bealey Track is a popular hike up into the alpine zone above Arthur's Pass in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The official trail goes about half way up to Mount Bealey and then follows a cairned way to the summit. This route can also be used to climb Little Bealey (Point 1805) and one could use this to continue on north and make a loop hike bagging Lyell Peak and Avalanche Peak (thus connecting up with two other popular trails; Scott's Track and Avalanche Peak Track).
The route is a steep Class 2 hike through the lower forest with perhaps the occasional Class 3 move. Above treeline, you hike through open grassland and finally up into the rocks. Once past Point 1760, the "hike" becomes a series of high steps on a dirt path with a few Class 3 moves in and out of rocks. The summit is a broad mound with a cairned marker.
Views are amazing in this area on clear days. The Southern Alps are on the west side, Mount Rolleston and it's Crow Glacier to the north and the Polar Range with its pointy precipices on the east. There was a New Zealand falcon protecting the area when I climbed here who dive-bombed me a few times so beware of nesting birds of prey. This species is very rare but has been known to scrape scalps with its talons. Keas also frequent the area.
Getting ThereSee the Getting There section of the main page for directions to the Bealey Track Trailhead at the southern end of Arthur's Pass near the police station off Mt. Bealey Road.
Route DescriptionAs stated above, the first part of this track, approximately 1.5 kilometers is in forest. However, the "trail" is not your basic graded path. It is mostly, Class 2-3 up steep rock and roots. There are bright orange triangles on the trees to keep you on the right path should you begin to wonder which way to go.
Once you break out of the trees (see signature photo for view), there is a sign to notify you that the rest of the way is not an official path. Regardless, you will then hike through less steep ground in grass/shrubs/tussocks following cairns. Pay attention to the path, sometimes the route breaks off into various dirt rivulets and the brush can overgrow the trail. Basically though, you will follow the salient ridgeline up and to the southwest. Above you is Point 1760 and you may think this is the summit but don't buy it.
Once you hike up to Point 1760, you will see to the west the true summit.
View to summit from Point 1760
You'll have to dip down about 40 meters or so into the saddle ont he connecting ridge and then follow the path up that hugs the edge of the cliff to the north. The route is evident but you will have to use hands in spots. Mind the mud if wet.
View of Point 1760 from the summit and the ridge heading down the Bealey Track
Total distance is about 3 kilometers with over 1100 meters elevation gain. (Or by my estimation, a little under 2 miles with over 3700 feet of gain. NOT your railroad grade, eh?)
To descend you can either head back this same route or if you are making a loop up to Avalanche Peak, head down the Northwest Ridge to Lyell Peak (Class 3-4).