Forrest Mallard - July 13, 2021

Crucible Lake
Otago/West Coast, New Zealand
Start: Makarora
End: Crucible Lake
Distance: 40 miles (64 km)
Time: 3-4 days
Difficulty: Strenuous
Surface: Scree, Ice, Exposed Mountainside

Crucible Lake - New Zealand - Map

The prospect of climbing up into the mountains on New Zealand’s South Island so you can swim in a lake full of icebergs may not be to everyone’s liking, but if you’re a wilderness enthusiast, this place is heaven.


Crucible Lake is not an easy place to get to. First, cross the Makarora River and follow the Young River to the twenty-bunk Young Hut. The next day, ascend to the tree line and follow the valley before climbing a grass spur for four hours to Gillespie Pass. Descend over snow grass plains to Siberia Stream, and another hour’s walk to the comfort of Siberia Hut. From there, a narrow spur, a river crossing, and a snow grass flat are all that separate you from your goal. Crucible Lake is in Mount Aspiring National Park, a land of beech and podocarp rain forests below, and alpine lakes, waterfalls, and-glaciers above. The hike there is very far off the beaten track and is best suited to those with previous backcountry experience. Set in a hanging valley beneath several glacier-laden summits, its waters are covered in both flat slabs of ice, which have formed over winter, and genuine icebergs that have calved off from the surrounding glaciers and plunged into the lake’s frigid waters. Sadly, you cannot camp here, due to the fragile nature of the surrounding fields of alpine herbs.

Crucible Lake - New Zealand - Lake


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Hi! I'm Forrest Mallard

In 2005, I moved to Quito, Ecuador with $35 in my pocket and a small handful of online clients. Fifteen years and five continents later, there were moments of absolute glamour, as well as a number of brutal rough patches. But I always felt that a horrible day of travel is infinitely more preferable than a great day at the office. Oh the stories I could tell, and I will try to do that here in Tramposaurus Treks. You'll have access to the good times, the horrifying times, and a few well-deserved moments of travel glamour.

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